N.Rude’s Review of “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”


Barbara Kingsolver, the main author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an average American woman who moved her family across the country to Virginia to live on her husband’s farm.  They grow almost everything they eat and buy everything else from the local farmer’s market (save a few choice goodies).  Kingsolver challenged her family to live for a full year like this, just to see if they could do it.  Over the course of the book, that’s exactly what they do.  They live a little over a full year on the farm and document it as they go.  From the beginning with uncertainty and excitement to the end of new life and pure bliss, Kingsolver writes it all down and shares it with the world.  She argues over the course of her book that a family can live perfectly well by eating nothing but locally produced food instead of the preprocessed, frozen food found at supermarkets.

Her argument interested me and I feel like I would like to try it out for myself, but I know for a fact that farming is not the kind of work that I am made for.  I am too lazy, forgetful, and selfish for the tasks farmers confront every day.  Her writing makes farming sound like a lot of work, but it also makes it sound like an obtainable goal.  However, her writing is far from perfect.

Kingsolver tends to shift between stories and informational rants.  She will tell a story, become impassioned, interrupt her story for a rant that lasts anywhere from half a page to about four pages, and then continue on her merry way as if nothing happened.  These rants annoyed me hugely and were a pain to read.  Her skill with storytelling is valid, but her rants were all sub-par.

Personally, I wasn’t enamored with Kingsolver’s book, but I do not feel as though reading it was a waste of my time.  I am more indifferent to it than anything else.  Overall, I would recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle to anyone who likes nonfiction works (even though I am not one of these people).  People who like learning about food and cooking will most likely enjoy this book as well.  If you wish to read it, the source can be found below!

Kingsolver, Barbara.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  Harper Perennial. 2007.

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