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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

It’s been a long, difficult, and epic journey reading Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” I usually don’t review books until I’m finished reading them, but it’s been about two months since I started this book. In a world where avid readers, including myself, can finish a book in a week’s time, that says a lot.

It’s not that I’m not enjoying what Kingsolver writes about…that’s not it at all. Her book focuses on the importance of locally grown, organic food and how people need to integrate it into their lives to help save the environment, and even provide better living conditions for the animals they eat.

Kingsolver's book requires an open mind, patience, and at times, tolerance to dullness.

Kingsolver's book requires an open mind, patience, and at times, tolerance to dullness.

Kingsolver, besides giving factual information about growing crops, recounts the story of how she moved her family from Tucson, AZ to the rolling country hills of southwestern Virginia. It was there that her family decided to spend an entire year eating only food that they could grow themselves or buy from local farmers (usually within a few miles).

Here’s where the drooling begins…

She tells her narrative wonderfully, but then goes off on a tangent about growing crops, how people need to rely less on the corporate world for food, or how to increase our sustainability. Don’t get me wrong, these are all important topics for her book and could be interesting, but the way she explains things leaves me falling asleep after reading only five pages.

Not only that, but she repeats herself. A lot. A few times throughout my reading, I thought I had accidentally lost my place and skipped backwards. Nope, it was just the same old song and dance about how food travels from California and uses unnecessary amounts of gasoline in transport, polluting the earth even more.

At some points I even felt that Kingsolver was talking down to me, the reader. She poins out some very obvious things and makes it seem like people are complete idiots when it comes to the food they eat. Perhaps some people are, but those that choose to read this book might have a little more experience. It might have served her well to figure out her reader demographic before she wrote this book.

Nonetheless, I don’t want to bash this book because it’s not all bad. I am finding parts of it very intriguing. Reading about cheesemaking and how her youngest daughter copes with buying turkeys for slaughter is often good for a good chuckle. It would be beneficial if there were more anecdotes like that. It would definitely hold my interest a lot longer.

Hell, I probably would have finished this book in a week.

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