A Change of Perspective

If you were looking for a book to change up your perspective, look no further than Barbara Kingsolver’s anecdotal, non-fiction work titled Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Barbara uses the 352 pages of the book to re-introduce the reader to world in which we live, through the eyes of an environmental biologist (her husband Steven), an organic millennial teenager (her daughter Camille), and an excitable child (her daughter Lily). Kingsolver invites the reader to view the food we in eat in this country, the way we eat it, and the culture that this economy perpetuates that essentially runs the world we live in. I felt particularly connected with the issues being discussed in the book through Kingsolver’s passion for her work, and her style of writing I  and feel as if this is what really makes the book great!

The book focuses on the pivotal relationships that surround the animals we raise, the vegetables we grow, and the miracle that has the potential to occur in your life should you open yourself up to, and invest your time and money into, these relationships.

“…presumed on the basis of colonial experience that farming and democracy are intimately connected.”

A quote by Thomas Jefferson that so romantically explains the necessity of local agriculture to our society is one that gives the reader a great reason, if any, to read this book intently and in its entirety. While maintaining a general dead-pan, comedic, approach to most of the issues being discussed, Barbara Kingsolver’s passion for the environmental, agricultural, and economic future of the country we live in is anything but humorous. Her writing instead incites a feeling of obligation in all who read the book.

I found myself particularly moved by Kingsolver’s determination to provide a better, “more green” life for her family, even uprooting their entire existence in Tucson, Arizona and planting new, more agriculturally conscious roots in the southern Appalachia region of Virginia. The roots that Kingsolver sought to establish in this new home were hopefully those that would extend into the heritage of the land she now inhabited, as well as the lives of those who tended said land.

Not to sound redundant, but I think the book is truly special to read thanks to the author’s passion for the topic, and quirky writing style. Kingsolver uses her special brand of cynicism to say those difficult things that the American public needs to hear about the food they eat, and the way they eat it. “California vegetables are not the serpent, it’s all of us who open our veins to the flow of gas-fueled foods, becoming yawning addicts, while our neighborhood farms dry up and blow away.” Blunt as these words may be, they are the palette cleanser needed in the many muddied mouths of the American consumer.


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