Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

by frannybolsa on October 26, 2012

in Book Review

I just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. You may recognize her name as the author of PoisonWood Bible

Animal Vegetable Miracle

She shares an honest, elegant and humor filled story of her family’s journey to live out something they value for one year. Leaving behind a home in Arizona, they pack up their family of four and move to a farm in Virginia. They ate what they grew. Bought it from their neighbors. Or gave it up completely.

I read in fits and starts. Absorb and Absorb.

They stumbled, planted and harvested. And ate well. Theirs was not a trendy mission to be one of the cool, hip “living green” kids. They walked their own talk. And it changed them.

They had jobs outside their family farm. They had dinner parties and sleep overs. They got tired. They did hard things. Go outside and kill a chicken anyone? They spent weeks putting up tomatoes, beans, fruit and other abundance from their gardens to carry them through the winter. If you’ve never canned anything – it’s hot sweaty work that takes hours.

This is a real family living a real life doing the hard work needed to eat real food.

More than anything I’ve read lately, it has challenged the way I think and the way I live. It’s not about giving up toilet paper, eating nuts and berries or sewing your own clothes. For me, this was another eye opening stop on a journey to explore and understand what “eating local” means in terms of what I put on my table and in my body and how our food choices directly impact our communities.

I love a book that inspires. No matter where you stand in terms of food politics – the book sparks self examination and deep thinking. Because we all eat. And what we eat matters.


  • Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

    I love love love this book. It really was a game changer for me in how I think about food and what I want my life to look like. Have you read any of Wendell Berry’s agrarian essays? He’s my very favorite “food thinker.” If you loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle you might fall in love with his ideas, too.

    • frannybolsa

      His name has popped up in a few books I’ve read. I’ve yet to read anything by him. I’ll have to look up one his books next time I make a library run.

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