• Book

Animal, vegetable, miracle : a year of food life

by Kingsolver, Barbara.

There are currently 3 available

Where To Find It

Call number: 641.09 Ki

Available Copies: Downtown 2nd Floor, Pittsfield Adult

Community Reviews


great book for a book club discussion


I enjoyed reading this book. I am realistic enough to know I will never can my own food or even have a big garden, but the book did inspire my family to plant tomatoes, peppers and herbs. I am going to attempt to make cheese with the help of a kit from Zingerman's Creamery. It did cause me to think about all the food we buy out of season and the low quality it often is. I am going to make an effort to buy more locally and less out of season food.

Inspiring but possibly unrealistic

After reading this book I wanted to run out, plant enough vegetables to have to can and preserve and dry bushels and bushels of everything. Sadly, as a family with 2 adults who work full time and live in a house with a tiny amount of land, this will probably never come true.

I found the 3 different voices jarring and ended up reading the book with each one singly (First Kingsolver, then her husband, then her daughter).

Enjoyable and well written, not overly preachy, but not realistic for most people

More Passionate than Preachy

My book club had a great discussion about this book, we were all hooked by the premise and interested in the progression of the family's experiment and in the facts that Kingsolver presented about local food production.

As someone who has never had a garden, canned a tomato or, um, slaughtered a turkey - I was interested in this book as a glimpse into agriculture self-sufficiency. I enjoyed Kingsolver's worshipful prose about her seed catalogs and the glories of fresh, seasonal vegetables.

I found that her tone moved from passionate to preachy with some frequency. Her family life does seem rather idyllic, with everyone pitching in and never complaining - except for Camille's single, heartfelt plea for her one true love: fruit. This was a little annoying.

The whole exercise felt a little miscast - that the family was going to make this grand year-long bid and try growing all their own food. Except it kind of felt that they normally pretty much did this anyway, they had raised chickens before and regularly kept a large garden and canned vegetables and sauces annually.

I found their endeavor interesting and admirable, but when I realized they were already experts at family farming that I began to take this book more as a sermon to local eating and sufficiency than as an experience intended to resonate with readers.

I enjoyed reading it and even more than that, I enjoyed discussing it with my book club members. One member has plans for a big garden come spring and others mentioned that the book inspired them to simplify. There's no doubt that this book has a real effect on the reader.

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