Better Living Through Organic: A Review on Animal Vegetable, Miracle




Animal Vegetable, Miracle Verdict:Recommended

Before reading Animal, Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, I had no clue that potatoes grew leafs or stems, or where asparagus first originated. These facts only scratch the surface of all of the information that Barbara Kingsolver writes about. The book shows us how we affect the environment, what is composed of our food, and how we can think more environmentally friendly. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle documents a family’s journey and growth through producing their own food and explains why relying on big agribusiness causes disastrous environmental issues. Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and daughters, Lily and Camille Kingsolver, teach us how to live with the environment instead of against it. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is able to capture Kingsolver’s message, written with care and humor, yet it only loses credibility when she chooses to write strong narrative, without enough background evidence, and loses focus when writing about their vacations.


            Barbara Kingsolver’s writing is refreshing. She informs her audience how growing your own food is a positive life choice and uses her wit to teach and entertain simultaneously. Barbara writes, “A quick way to improve food related fuel economy would be to buy a quart of motor oil and drink. More palatable options are available. If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our Country’s oil consumption over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons but barrels.”[1] The quote is witty because the imagery she uses is unusual and makes you think about how much oil we waste everyday transporting produce.

            There are issues in Barbara Kingsolver’s focus in five Chapters of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The sections on their road trip lasts too long, and then continue when Stephen and Barbara travel to Italy; these chapters would work better if shortened or explained more by Stephen. The goal of growing their own food becomes less of the focus in these Chapters. Barbara and Stephen attempted to relate their trip to the book but it comes off as a badly timed vacation. Instead of focusing too much on personal narrative, I would have preferred more on Stephen L. Hopp’s look into the monopolization of Seed companies, or research on the areas they visited and their issues.

           In Kingsolver’s final chapter, she says, “During my family’s year of conscious food choices, the most important things we’d learned were all about that: the wanting to. Our fretful minds had started use on a project of abstinence from industrial food, but we finished it with our hearts.”[2] The Kingsolver family began the year thinking of the positives but instead they felt the positives of the experience. Barbara Kingsolver’s writing is strong, entertaining and inspiring, but the audience should expect more of a narrative instead of scientific writing. I recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle even with its flaws. The book is full of inspiration, its entertaining, and there are enough lessons to look over small issues.


[1] Kingsolver, Barbara, Steven L. Hopp, Camille Kingsolver. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. New York: Harper Collins, 2007. 5. Print.

[2] Kingsolver (2007), 338.

About AriBlackFiction

I am an author of a number of poems and review posts. Eventually, I would love to write horror, Short Detective fiction and Graphic Novels. This blog is for you to view my reviews on a number of topics, horror, Classic film, book reviews. I hope you enjoy the posts as much as I love writing them. Thank You!
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