“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is a true in-depth look into her family of four, her husband and her two daughters, who move from Tucson to a rural farm in Virginia to spend a year only eating food they can grow themselves or is locally grown. Both Kingsolver and her husband grew up on farms and the work that goes into them, so this journey is just like coming home for them. Kingsolver beautifully mixes facts, stories, and passionate arguments in this one of a kind book that I really enjoyed reading. She uses the voices of her husband Stephen and her daughter Camille to round out her book and add layers to her story. Stephen’s entries are factual and support Kingsolver’s writing and Camille adds fun family stories and family recipes after the chapters which is a refreshing change.
This book walks the reader through a year in her life starting with cold and bitterness of winter, moving on to the importance of asparagus in spring, through the abundance of tomatoes and squash in late summer, finishing in fall with harvesting birds and pumpkins. She argues about locally grown food and the failing food culture of America and what we can do to rescue not just the food but ourselves. In the opening of Chapter 14 she writes “The Saturday of Labor Day weekend dawned with a sweet, translucent bite like a Golden Delicious apple. I always seem to harbor a childlike hope through the berry-stained months of June and July that summer will be for keeps”.
Kingsolver sees the world in food, it is everywhere and she puts that perspective into every page of her book. Even the, sometimes rambling, paragraphs, like the 5 page ramble of asparagus, that are full of facts and have less of the story are written with passion and determination to teach the reader and open them up to the truth about food and farms. Even though it make take a chapter or two to get lost in this book, if you eat food you need to read this wonderfully written book. It will change the way you look at every meal.