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Search tags: Barbara-Kingsolver
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review 2020-05-26 14:23
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Steven L Hopp,Camille Kingsolver,Barbara Kingsolver

Honestly this is more of a 3.5 star read, but since Goodreads does not allow for half-stars, I rounded this up to 4. I think too much of the book had Kingsolver talking down to readers and acting as if those of us not working the land are less than those who do. I rounded up though mostly because when Kingsolver focuses on the history of the vegetables or animal husbandry in this book it makes it something special. If she left off her limited world view of politics this wouldn't have irked me so much. 

 

"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" is a memoir written by Barbara Kingsolver. I guess she was one of the leading voices in the whole eat local movement. I kind of laugh about that since I grew up in the 90s, my whole family ate locally. Most people I know did in PA. We had farms nearby and we would get our meat and milk from them but my whole family had "kitchen gardens." My grandmother, aunt, and mother would can vegetables during the summer and put things away in our cold basement so we could have vegetables during the winter. This is a pretty long-winded way of saying black people been eating from the land since slavery. Kingsolver without meaning to though makes the whole book about a small predominantly white town she lives in, in VA and focuses on farmers. I don't know why the US has this weird view of farmers as salt of the Earth, real Americans, but we tend to fetishisize them along with soldiers. 

 

Kingsolver also at one point she brings up red states and blue states and defends conservatives and my eyes would not stop rolling. Yeah, conservatives to me in the US means, okay with racism as long as it does not affect their day to day life. I know this was written in 2007, but this was the 10 year anniversary of the book which means this got republished after the rise of Trump which shows that she saw what was going on with farmers getting screwed and still kept some of the tone-deaf text without editing. I can't even talk about her comments about Katrina and her whole what about the farmers that made me drop my jaw. 

 

You are now probably going, well Blue why did you keep reading this? Well because of the writings from her daughter and husband. Those two at least realize that eating from the land/locally is not an easy thing to see. Kingsolver's own daughter goes into telling poor people to eat healthier without providing a way for them to do so is just ridiculous. Her husband points out the many ways the US has ignored ongoing issues with regards to farming, and how we process meat and vegetables in our country. When Kingsolver focuses on the history of a vegetable like asparagus and the best time to plant it and harvest it is when the book sang to me. 

 

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text 2020-05-25 04:00
Reading progress update: I've read 99%.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Steven L Hopp,Camille Kingsolver,Barbara Kingsolver

The book got less preachy after a while. I did enjoy the history of the food and biology of animals. RTC.

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text 2020-05-24 02:52
Reading progress update: I've read 32%.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Steven L Hopp,Camille Kingsolver,Barbara Kingsolver

Weird. Thought I added this book eons ago and couldn’t find it. 

 

If the book was mostly the history of food and the best times to eat it I would love this. Instead I feel like I’m being lectured and am starting to get annoyed. Got to love Kingsolver excusing tobacco farmers but acting like most of us don’t eat from the land cause we’re just uneducated or lazy.

 

I grew up eating what my family grew in our gardens year round and we got meat from

local farmers. We only had fast food rarely as a treat. When I moved away to VA to work in DC I was poor as hell and ate ramen for like two years. Heck I ate ramen during grad school but at least I could return home to still be fed b my mom. Living in cities makes it harder to get locally grown food. Even if you have farmers market you still need to be able to travel there and purchase the food and then get home. I just don’t like the idea if you’re not shopping at farmers markets you’re just off killing your body with the food you put in it. I don’t like scare mongering around eating.  

 

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review 2018-12-31 04:12
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
Unsheltered - Barbara Kingsolver

Unsheltered is the story of two families, separated by two centuries, living in the same neighbourhood, during turbulent times.  Each family's story is told in alternating chapters. The style of writing is decent enough, but the main character (Willa) tends to whine a geat deal, the main characters are uninteresting (not to mention shallow and stereotypical), the plot is rather vague, and the author has a fondness for monotonously preaching her socio-political agenda in vast quantities.  Also the comparison between the 1870s socio-political climate with the current USA socio-political climate just fell flat with me. 

 

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review 2018-06-20 00:00
Unsheltered
Unsheltered - Barbara Kingsolver When I first started reading this story I thought it was a bit slow. But as the story went on I found myself enjoying it more and more. It’s an excellent piece of historical fiction, but it is also a great examination of the Trump era. Kingsolver dissects why a person would support a politician who offers them nothing more than the veneer of solace.

The reader can discern a lot of symbolism and parallels between today and the 1880s in the story eg, a house falling down, early resistance to Darwin’s theories, a new life, descent into disorder, the power of science/knowledge to help us find our way out of it, resilience, etc. There’s too many really to go into & there’s not much point going into them as I’m sure most readers won’t need to be told.

Surprisingly, I found Nick to be the most interesting character in the story, and also the moral fulcrum in many ways. Tig also had a role in this respect, but I felt she was more of a bridge to understanding and compassion, in much the same way that Mary Treat was. Even though Nick’s opinions were born of ignorance and fear, he was the one with the most to lose, the most vulnerable and most at risk at the hands of Trump’s America. Carruth on the other hand experienced the realisation of such harm, just not in the time of Trump.

I thought the mixing of real characters with fictional ones from the 1880s was deftly handled. This, along with the believable and very human present day characters helped to make this a very entertaining and thought provoking read.
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