I have been an audible member for two years and I have owned this book for over a year. I finally decided to write a review because I visited the page looking for links to a similar book and skimmed over some of the other reviews. It seems to me that a better understanding of what you are getting into with this book might increase the potential for enjoyment if you decide to purchase it or save you the trouble in the first place. First, this is a book about the author's convictions and belief system regarding food production and sustainability. It is also a book about family that chronicles difficult choices the authors made for their family based on their deeply held beliefs. Is it preachy? I never thought so. While the authors did provide supporting information and interesting sidebars regarding how our food is processed, grown, and sustainability/ethical issues with the industrial food system, I never felt this was forced on the reader. They were presented almost as little news snippets along the way that were relevant to the story. That being said, if you are not interested in this sort of issue or if you aren't interested in why the author thinks it is an important issue then this is probably not the book for you. However, if you are interested in how a family comes to decide to eat locally for a year largely by growing their own food, the reasons for that choice, and the adventure along the way, then you will enjoy it.
As far as the narration goes, I must confess that I read the print version before I purchased the audio version and I love that Barbara Kingsolver and her family narrate the book. I enjoyed the level of feeling this brought to the reading, so much so that it was more like sitting around the kitchen table with the Kingsolver's as they told their story than it was like listening to someone read a book. Officially, I enjoyed the print version but I absolutely love the audio version.
Who will like this book? If you like Michael Pollan, investigative journalism with a personal spin, you are interested in sustainability issues, or you long for a simpler life, you will enjoy this book at the very least and possibly find it inspiring. Be careful, you may find you begin to make your own changes. Since reading it, I have switched to purchasing local pastured beef, chicken, and pork. I visit my local farmers markets each weekend in season and I now have 4 laying hens of my own for fresh eggs (and fertilizer :)). I still visit the grocery store (although my list is getting shorter and shorter) but I am conscious of my choices there and check the origins of my fruits and veggies for proximity. I have given up bananas and I purchase what is in season. No watermelons for me in February. It is safe to say this book changed the way I view food. You may not make these changes but after reading this you will be irrevocably aware of the story behind your groceries.
I feel certain that the story of their year living locally and simply has forever changed me.
Kingsolver's voice telling the story is music to one's years.
Already shopping differently!
A how-to guide on how one family can connect to the earth, connect with each other and change their corner of the world.
Huntress of Dirty Socks
Yes and no. It was my first experience with the "back to the earth" genre, and I loved the discussions about our disconnect with the real world. However, it kind of wore me down with breathless descriptions of bucolic living.I also felt the different voices in this narrative were superfluous, like they were just "tacked on".
Yes. I've not ready anything else of hers yet but I'd like to see how she does fiction.
Yes. I'm not sure this should've been performed by the author and her family members. They seem like sincere people who really believe in what they are doing but their performance removed me from the narrative.
This well-written, spotlessly narrated treatise on the personal, economic and environmental benefits of local food-sourcing held my attention like a well-written novel.
That Ms. Kingsolver knows how to translate her story-telling skills from fiction to reality is only slightly surprising, given her prowess as one of America's great living novelists.
"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" is a worthy agrarian disquisiton in the tradition of Wendell Berry.
The book is compelling without being preachy. The authors let their audience off lightly, encouraging small steps, in lieu of life-long locavore fasts. For example, we learn:
--one locally sourced meal a week would direct $10,000,000
weekly into local farms
--if every restaurant sourced just 10% of its food from nearly by
producers, the entire food economy would be changed
--mid-winter readers will need to make their transition to
local foods by planning over the next year
That said, do not expect to listen to this book and buy grocery store bananas or off-season aspargus heedlessly again. What "Food, Inc." the movie does to carnivore sensibilities, this work does for every morsel we consume.
If every local farmers' market had a stand selling this book, supermarkets would be a thing of the past.
Kingsolver tackles a big issue in a personal perspective with eloquence.
Food choices impact our health, our community and our world - it can seem like too big of a topic for one person to make a difference. This story brings it to a level where we can understand that small choices can have a big impact.
I enjoy their voices. I think their three voices with three perspectives works well.
I enjoyed the entire book. It was interesting to hear about their food choices when travelling.
I try to get everyone I know to read this book.
I’m a creator, leader, writer, Christian, humorist, multi-tasker, filmie, foodie, environmentalist, daydreamer, traveler and entrepreneur, to name a few.
Really enjoyed this book, probably even more than I thought I would. It was my first book along these lines, but won't be my last.
Would recommend to anyone looking for more info on this subject. Really fascinating and inspiring.
I would listen to this book again. Yes! Not only is it entertaining it is informative and engaging.
Maybe jane Goodall's book Harvest for Hope.
I loved the various voices and writing styles that husband and daughter brought to the performance.
The statistics early in the book regarding calories (energy) required to move vegetables, fruit and other foods around the world to bring substandard and possibly deterimental foods to us year round was enlightening.
Read/listen to it.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
I have read all of Barbara Kingsolver's books multiple times, and have been a fan for years. I was really excited when I saw that she was reading her own books, and promptly downloaded a couple.
Unfortunately, I find her reading voice/rhythm unbearable. I never finished listening to either of her books that I purchase from Audible.
So. Buy her books, but skip the audiobooks.
No-I couldn't stand listening to her. It was as though she was reading/speaking to a 5 year old or someone she thought was slow to understand.
But her books are great, so go forth and read them all!
I really thought that this would be a book that I would love. It seemed right up my alley. I love food documentaries and Michael Pollan and I thought that this would interest me in a very similar way. I was so excited to start it too. I downloaded it and started it the same day. But much to my surprise I had a really hard time with this book. I even stopped listening about half way through it and listened to another book for a break.
To be fair, this book is very well written and Kingsolver is easy to listen to in her reading of the book. I think my disappointment stems from the fact that the book isn't what I was expecting. I was expecting to hear all about their year of growing their own food and all the ups and downs of that process. And those parts of the book where she talks about exactly that in detail are my favorite parts. For example, I loved hearing all about her exploits with her turkeys. I also really enjoyed when they visited other locavores and hearing about how they live. But most of this book doesn't focus on the details of what it was like for them. I could have done with less talk about why eating local is so great, even though I don't disagree. Some of it just felt too preachy.
I wonder if I would feel differently about the book if I had read it instead of listening to it but I'm not sure. I may have just decided to skim through some parts. I really was looking forward to hearing more of the details from that first year and those were the parts that I enjoyed the most. This book was really good, it just wasn't great for me.
Barbara Kingsolver's book about her family's year of eating locally is fun, inspiring and written in a manner that informs without feeling preachy. While many of us may not be in a position to raise our own poultry or grow the majority of our own vegetables, this book is full of ideas that allow us to shop and eat more attentively. Thank you, Ms. Kingsolver!