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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

On a long car trip I listened to the talking book version of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: a Year of Food Life  by best-selling novelist Barbara Kingsolver.  Driving past Midwestern farm fields, I became engrossed in the story of the family’s move from Tucson, Arizona to a family farm in the Appalachian foothills of  Virginia.  Realizing the high cost of transporting food from around the world, the family “wanted to live in a place that could feed us.” They joined the locavore movement and began a year-long experiment to eat only what is locally raised, grown or produced.  Narrated by Barbara, her husband Steven Hopp, and daughter Camille Kingsolver, each offers a different perspective.  Barbara’s narrative establishes the characters, setting, and plot of a good novel.  She effectively mixes fact with humor when telling about their first experiences raising turkeys, and how they race to harvest, then consume or preserve the seasonal overabundance of tomatoes and cherries.  Her husband’s essays warn of the health, environmental and political costs of pesticides, fossil fuels, and processed foods.  Camille talks about what they eat throughout the year and adds recipes.  By the time I reached my destination I was craving swiss chard and wanted to try making my own cheese. Listening to the voices of the family who lived this year made  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle especially enjoyable.  Gardeners, environmentalists, cookbook readers and anyone who likes a good story will enjoy this book.

Britt B.

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