Brie Carroll

When I first started reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I didn’t know what to expect. As I continued reading throughout the book though, I started to enjoy it. Since I have a garden at home and a strawberry patch that goes along the side of the house, it interested me to hear what Barbara was growing and how early she was growing some plants. I also found it neat that she would try to have her family only eat locally produced meat, vegetables, fruits, and other produce. She wanted to try to change her family by having “one year of deliberately eating food produced in the same place where we worked” (Kingsolver 27). The fact that she knows so much about all the plants, down to the smallest fact about them that people don’t think about at all, is remarkable. Kingsolver also has her whole family involved in something that contributes to the garden or the chickens or turkeys.

Barbara talks about families that do not sit down and have home-cooked meals together, whether it be during the weekends or on a week night, it does not occur as often as it used to. Barbara argues that  “cooking is the great divide between good eating and bad” (Kingsolver 136). She contributes work, after school activities, and being tired as reasons why some families do not sit down during the weeks. She believes that it is easier for the parents to just put something in the crock pot, come home, and take it out and serve it, or it is just easier to order take out. While this is easier, Barbara believes that “the choreography of many people working in one kitchen is, by itself, a certain definition of family, after people have made their separate ways home to be together” (Kingsolver 137).  Barbara does convey her argument well and proves to her readers that if people would get the family involved for a “make your own pizza night” where they all contribute to making it, it would create a better family environment. She also states that when her family is together at the table they all listen to one another about how their days were and other things that are going on in their life.  I like that because it is the same way at my dinner table at home and dinner time is one of my favorite times of the day. Camille wrote in this chapter about Growing Up in the Kitchen, where she says that “the time we spend making dinner is hugely important because it gets us together after all our separate agendas, and when we sit down to eat we have a sense that the food in front of us is special” (Kingsolver 147). Camille also notes that she is thankful for the food that she has at their table, because she knows that her hard work and her whole family’s work paid off when they were all working with raising the chickens or raising the vegetables from seeds to produce.

There are many genres in this book. I saw entertainment, biography, social, educational and informational. I believe the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle fell under entertainment because I felt entertained while reading this book. I felt it was a biography because it was about a whole family and about Barbara’s life experience with living by growing their own food. This book is also seen as social, entertainment and educational.

I see it as these genres because the book takes a social issues and addresses it in a way that is friendly and understanding, its educational because the book teaches you about many things about growing plants and food through out the year.

Reading the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle did not come across as an

interesting book to me at all. Barbara Kingsolver takes us through the seasons, and the joys and challenges of eating only foods that she, her husband, and two daughters grew in their backyard or purchased from neighboring farms. The book is part memoir, part cookbook, and part of the American food industry. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is one family’s inspiring story of discovering the truth behind the adage “you are what you eat” and a valuable resource for anyone looking to do the same. The beginning of the book they squeeze into their car and leave the South West desert where they have relied on food from all over the continental United States to begin a journey that will take them further then just the miles they travel across the country. While most would see this as a voyage of deprivation and hardship, the way Barbara lays it out for us it becomes an exciting adventure of exploration and discovery. Who would have thought that there could be so many varieties of Tomato? Or that it’s possible to have a party for a hundred people in May only eating locally grown produce and stuff you pulled out of your garden?

After reading the entire book and enjoyed it. I think this book is very interesting and it describes many helpful ways to live off of the earth and your surroundings. This book can be helpful to not only farmers, but to families who want to have gardens and grow their own fruits and vegetables. This book made me realize that it is not only healthy for you to grow your own food, but it can also help out many family farms if you purchase your food from them. I do recommend this book for others. Vegetable, Animal, Miracle was an inspiring book and it is a really good way to teach people how to live on home grown, sustainable foods. I also recommend this book because anyone can do what Barbara and her family did, even if you do not take it to the full extent this book can teach you many things about growing your own food.

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