BN.com Gift Guide
Customer Reviews for

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Average Rating 4
( 185 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(98)

4 Star

(47)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(10)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Don't miss this life-changing book

How can a memoir about food possibly be so enthralling, so inspiring? This is a book for every American. It is a key component to a more sustainable and responsible future, to living more in sync with our planet. I have made subtle changes in my diet over the years, try...
How can a memoir about food possibly be so enthralling, so inspiring? This is a book for every American. It is a key component to a more sustainable and responsible future, to living more in sync with our planet. I have made subtle changes in my diet over the years, trying to "eat right," but this book was the nudge I needed to go all the way. You will laugh about turkey sex and cry over poor farm children (and swear at the agribusiness conglomerates). Don't miss this life-changing book co-written by Barbara Kingsolver (my favorite author), her husband Steven Hopp (who adds thought-provoking inserts), and her daughter Camille Kingsolver (whose brief narratives and recipes left me begging for more).

posted by Ed-Philosopher on December 19, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

24 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

Waste of my time

When referring to organic produce, the author asks who put the sanctimony into the phrase organic. If she has read her own book it should be crystal clear that it was none other than herself. Sanctimonious perfectly describes almost the entire book, Animal, Vegetable, M...
When referring to organic produce, the author asks who put the sanctimony into the phrase organic. If she has read her own book it should be crystal clear that it was none other than herself. Sanctimonious perfectly describes almost the entire book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I say almost, because the portions added by her daughter and husband are actually informative and enjoyable. The book must not be aimed at the American consumers to which it would be sold, because the author does not have one nice thing to say about her fellow Americans. She has even trained her younger daughter to deny her American heritage by saying that she is American, but not really. You can¿t possibly hope to influence people¿s attitudes by attacking them and then explaining why you are so much better, and this is what Kingsolver tries to do. The sad thing is that she even attacks like-minded people. She criticizes a ¿starlet¿ for wanting to save farm animals, saying that her logic is flawed. Then the author proceeds to say that dairy cows are bred to produce milk and cannot live without being milked. She should check out her facts before ridiculing someone else for getting them wrong. If a milking cow is not milked, the milk will eventually stop being produced, just like it does for us humans. For large-scale dairy farming, the cow could be milked less and less until the milk dries up. So it is pretty ridiculous to giggle about the starlet¿s stupidity and then say something really stupid herself. Ms. Kingsolver repeats over and over in the book that America has no food culture. This is totally untrue. America is a melting pot and has the richest food culture of anywhere else. America absorbed peoples from every nationality and their food cultures along with them. She also avows that the French sample McDonalds, but they don¿t really eat there. I hate to break it to her, but there are McDonalds restaurants in almost every European city, and if you want to buy a burger there you will have to wait in line. France is no different. The lines are always nearly out the door. I live in a European city with a population of only about 100,000 people, and there are no less than 4 McDonald¿s here. They are never empty. Ever. It was difficult for me to get all the way through the book. Most of the factual material was no news to me, and I think the book was a big waste of my time.

posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2008

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 185 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 10
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2008

    Waste of my time

    When referring to organic produce, the author asks who put the sanctimony into the phrase organic. If she has read her own book it should be crystal clear that it was none other than herself. Sanctimonious perfectly describes almost the entire book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I say almost, because the portions added by her daughter and husband are actually informative and enjoyable. The book must not be aimed at the American consumers to which it would be sold, because the author does not have one nice thing to say about her fellow Americans. She has even trained her younger daughter to deny her American heritage by saying that she is American, but not really. You can¿t possibly hope to influence people¿s attitudes by attacking them and then explaining why you are so much better, and this is what Kingsolver tries to do. The sad thing is that she even attacks like-minded people. She criticizes a ¿starlet¿ for wanting to save farm animals, saying that her logic is flawed. Then the author proceeds to say that dairy cows are bred to produce milk and cannot live without being milked. She should check out her facts before ridiculing someone else for getting them wrong. If a milking cow is not milked, the milk will eventually stop being produced, just like it does for us humans. For large-scale dairy farming, the cow could be milked less and less until the milk dries up. So it is pretty ridiculous to giggle about the starlet¿s stupidity and then say something really stupid herself. Ms. Kingsolver repeats over and over in the book that America has no food culture. This is totally untrue. America is a melting pot and has the richest food culture of anywhere else. America absorbed peoples from every nationality and their food cultures along with them. She also avows that the French sample McDonalds, but they don¿t really eat there. I hate to break it to her, but there are McDonalds restaurants in almost every European city, and if you want to buy a burger there you will have to wait in line. France is no different. The lines are always nearly out the door. I live in a European city with a population of only about 100,000 people, and there are no less than 4 McDonald¿s here. They are never empty. Ever. It was difficult for me to get all the way through the book. Most of the factual material was no news to me, and I think the book was a big waste of my time.

    24 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 19, 2008

    Don't miss this life-changing book

    How can a memoir about food possibly be so enthralling, so inspiring? This is a book for every American. It is a key component to a more sustainable and responsible future, to living more in sync with our planet. I have made subtle changes in my diet over the years, trying to "eat right," but this book was the nudge I needed to go all the way. You will laugh about turkey sex and cry over poor farm children (and swear at the agribusiness conglomerates). Don't miss this life-changing book co-written by Barbara Kingsolver (my favorite author), her husband Steven Hopp (who adds thought-provoking inserts), and her daughter Camille Kingsolver (whose brief narratives and recipes left me begging for more).

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    The delightful three person voice of this book can not hide the alarm it sounds for those Americans who eat, prepare or otherwise relate to food. It is a poignant rendering of the brainwashing of Americans in relationship with what they put into their bodies. In gentle tones the warning comes in side bar fashion along with hope, a plan to make positive changes for good healthy eating and is seasoned with some yummy recipes, too. It was an eye opening and life changing read. This book is a gift for anyone who eats and wants to be healthy.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2007

    Inspiring, yes, realistic for everyone, no

    We are fortunate that people are starting to care enough about the environment that they are CSAs, there is organic food, people are rallying around the ideas of local food & sustainable farming, and small organic restaraunts supported by local farms are popping up- there is one in my town & it is pricey. It is easy for middle class people to afford to do these things and make lifestyle changes. The author fails to talk about the other side of America, the poor. Don't they deserve to eat well too and learn more about the organic movement and why it may be beneficial to themselves & their families?

    9 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2007

    From one who lived the life for 17 years

    Having lived on a farm the first 17 years of my life I have found that I want to share this book with all my siblings. I am the oldest of 10 and not all of us experienced the farm the same way. The youngest sibling taught me about 'range eggs' when I was 50 something. Learned that range eggs are the only kind we knew existed. Of what Barbara Kingsolver writes is the life we lived in south central North Dakota. We never had money but we worked sun up to sun down and beyond, chickens and roosters were all around and cows and horses were a part of daily life. We were never hungry but learned how to weed a garden and long rows of baby trees when we were 3 feet tall. 'To the reviewer who rated the book one star, all I can say is that if you want the good things you gotta work awfully hard -- money or rich or poor is not the limiting factor, only your work ethic'. The author has enlightened me about a few things such as the information about the rooster and chickens. I am about 75% finished reading and don't want the book to end. It will make fabulous Christmas gifts!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2008

    Inspiring!

    I listened to this on CD, and absolutely loved it. Each portion is read by its author, and you can truly feel their passion for the process of sustainable living. 'My parents have organically composted their small vegetable garden for more than 35 years. Their produce is indeed far superior to that found in mass market chains.' Listening to this book was delightful. It reinforced my own belief in the power of each of us to make a difference. I really enjoyed the resources and recipes, and am planning the purchase of the book in written format for further review. This will definitely be one I will encourage my husband and teens to read.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2007

    Try it, you'll like it!

    This is another winning book by Barbara Kingsolver. It is informative and highly entertaining. The Kingsolver family was very successful in eating locally and reducing their 'footprint' on the ecosystem in comparison with the average American. Obviously most of us are not going to devote ourselves to the degree that they did, but EVERYONE CAN make changes that improve their impact on the environment by better food choices. Buy the milk, eggs, meat, produce, whatever that traveled the shortest distance to reach you. How hard is that? Read the label. Support food producers that give a more ecofriendly alternate when you put some if not most or all things in your basket. By the way, she does write about some programs in place for lower income people. Ask if they are available where you live whether or not you are the family who qualifies. Can you make a difference? Yes, you can - one choice at a time. Try it, you'll like it!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2007

    Best 'Diet' book I've ever read!

    I think the reviewer who gave this a 'Poor' rating... ''This is an unrealistic personal account...'' is missing the point. I don't think Ms. Kingsolver is asking anyone to 'rough it', but to be aware that there are many choices we ALL have in making decisions that affect our health, our local economies, our enjoyment of fresh food... Only 80 pages into the book I was researching our Local Food Alliance and finding a CSA to join. Hardly 'roughing it' to start enjoying real fresh produce, and supporting a local farmer, to boot! This is a very enlightening book, written in her wonderful voice, that has changed my attitude about seasonal and local eating. I'm no green thumb, so I'm fortunate to live in a city where local growers are supported by many restaurants, daily farmers markets, and the Cooperative grocery. I'm sure these opportunities exist all around the US, if you are willing to seek them out.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    Taking organic to the next level

    Wow! In my part of the country, it's challenging enough to be a vegetarian trying to eat organic - but locally grown - Everything??!!. Kudos to Kingsolver and her family for taking "green" eating to the next level. Makes the rest of us more aware and inspired to do a little more ourselves.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    A must have for responsible living

    Excellent. This book was used in a book club I belong to and I passed it on to my husband to read. We both felt inspired.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 27, 2009

    GREAT !

    This is a great novel; there are many things that make it fascinating. First of all just the impressive writing of Barbara Kingsolver, her husband Steven, and her daughter Camille. Although my favorite part would have to be the segment Camille writes at the end of almost every chapter, she gives somewhat an overview and gives a recipe to a certain healthy dish. I have to say I have made one (Four Seasons Of Potato Salad [winter]) [pg.273] and it was very good. <BR/><BR/>Barbara¿s writing is inspirational she writes a lot about the fact that we as Americans have a lot to be proud of as a country. When it comes to something important as well such as food, we have fast food. Yes, it is quite good but what is really in it? Processed food, corn syrup (made from real corn but you get nothing good out if it) and basically just the unhealthy habits we as a whole have.<BR/><BR/>She goes with her family and starts basically new. They don¿t have a lot of land to their name but they work as a family, grow their own produce, and make great healthy meals by it. It made me believe that many people could be like this if we just took the time away from our everyday hectic schedules. Like I stated already, it is inspirational and just makes you want to get up and do something.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The DIY Diet

    A book that will change the way you eat. And the way you think about turkeys.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    My favorite Christmas gift

    A neighbor gave me the book for Christmas. I am loving it! We own a farm and, while we are not organic, raise most of our crops using the sustainable agriculture measures talked about in this book. It gives me great hope to see some one write about living what has been part of my life and passion for many years now. We have a CSA and two farm markets. If America could wake up and see that, not only does it take a village to raise a child, but it takes that village to save the village, our country will be stronger in the long run.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2007

    Don't miss this one!

    Many people love Kingsolver's books - 'Poisonwood Bible', 'Prodigal Summer', etc. I, however, have not been a big fan of her work previously and would have passed it by entirely, except that the title and jacket cover caught my eye. If you are a 'Foodie' - or - someone who is interested in organic or healthy eating - or - worried about the petroleum problems this country is facing I think you will find this book a great read. It is extremely entertaining and humorous, but makes a great point for a new food lifestyle movement known as being a 'Locavore'. Reading the section about her daughter deciding to raise 'meat' chickens vs. laying chickens to earn money for a horse had my husband and I both in stitches. Maybe it is because spring and summer are a time for renewed energy, interest in growing things, or simply the thoughts of hitting the local farmers' market and EATING all that wonderful, fresh food, but this book really struck a cord with me and I have enjoyed it and been inspired from the first page of the prologue! So far, if I had to recommend one book to read this summer - this is it!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2007

    A reviewer

    I have read all books by Barbara Kingsolver and have enjoyed all of them. Different from her usual 'NORM' Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an outstanding book that EVERYONE will enjoy!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Just not the book for me.

    I have read Barbara Kingsolver before and absolutely LOVED her writing; however, our book club chose this book, and I could barely make it through the first four chapters. I felt so guilty as I sat there eating my Smartfood popcorn reading about how I am contributing to Global Warming and other ills of society. I certainly admire Ms Kingsolver and her family's dedication, and Barbara's writing style is as beautiful as ever, it's just that my personal reaction was difficult to overcome and I could not get lost in the book. A wonderful read for someone who is thinking of sustaining themselves on the fruits of their labor (I should note that the Kingsolver's neighbors also provided some of their necessities as well, but that they spurned anything that was mass produced and thus had to be shipped in from different parts of the country). Please try reading "The Bean Trees" before you give up on Barbara Kingsolver. She has the ability to captivate me, move me and leave me with a literature masterpiece that will live in my soul for some time to come.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

    Condescending

    Ms. Kingsolver is knowledgeable in many aspects of farming, but at times is condescending to the reader. She assumes that her average reader has no concept of how and where food is grown.

    She is particularly patronizing, along with her daughter, to vegetarians. Her comprehension of a vegetarian diet and lifestyle is incredibly limited. Ms. Kingsolver has apparently never visited a sustainable farm run by vegetarians, nor spoken to many vegetarians in rural areas of the world.

    I grew up working on my neighbor's farm and am now a practicing vegetarian. My appreciation for the amount of work and dedication that farming entails equals if not surpasses Ms. Kingsolver's. Her jovial chapter on the slaughter of her turkeys and chickens was particularly unkind and misrepresented the respect most small farmers have for the animals that they kill to eat.

    While initially excited about the concept of sustainable living, I found that the tone of the book quickly moved to condescension. Personally, I will never read, nor recommend, anything written by Ms. Kingsolver.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 4, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A top read for 2008; must-read if interested in our food.

    After hearing an interview with the author--my first podcast!--I was intrigued enough to break out of my rut of social science, business, and economics books to read a book all about food. This family's year-long experiment in growing their own food was fascinating, like The Real World, but with vegetables. I was impressed by what they were able to do with not a whole lot of land, and I sometimes caught myself daydreaming about living that farm life...waking up before dawn to pick vegetables I would later make into dinner, etc. Not to mention the issues surrounding local and organic food and America's food security, which she weaves into the story.<BR/><BR/>Only four stars, though, because of a few distractions. Kingsolver's husband writes a sidebar article in each chapter--in the middle of it. They're interesting, but distracting. You have to find a good stopping point, read the sidebar, and hope you remember where you left off in the chapter. The daughter's sidebars at the end of each chapter were better.<BR/><BR/>Also, I got a little vibe of preachiness from Kingsolver from this book. She acknowledges that not everyone has a garden or can be expected to raise and slaughter their own poultry, but I get the feeling that she's a little disappointed by that. It just struck me as a little hypocritical that she becomes a local food grower for one year and now feels like we're not living quite as well as her unless we're growing our own mushrooms. I get her point, and it definitely opened my eyes, but she just kind of beat me over the head with it.<BR/><BR/>Overall, an excellent good book, and Kingsolver is an excellent, engaging writer

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2007

    A reviewer

    Once again, Barbara Kingsolver has not disappointed me. She has taken a topic most people don't even consider, and made me pause and think. It is like sitting down with a cup of Fair Trade coffee and chatting with an old friend. I know my trip to the grocery store yesterday yielded different purchases. Her books always give me pause to consider and think - and then share what I have learned. I also enjoyed the added perspective from her daughter and husband. This is a book worth passing along to friends. Thanks for the wake-up call!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2007

    funny, sweet AND important

    Another wonderful book that only Kingsolver could have given us. Not that the topic hasn't been covered before -- it has, and thank God, it will get more coverage as time goes on. But only Barbara Kingsolver could bring the particular kind of self-deprecating, honest wit I appreciate so much, to her observations about humankind and its environs. Her husband and eldest daughter contribute to this book, too, which is an extra treat. Particularly as Camille's sections almost always include seasonal recipes. Her youngest daughter, too, is someone I'd like to meet someday. The whole family just seems a delight. Yeah, they'e probably got some money -- now, anyway -- but that is SO not the point, here. Anyone really can do a lot of what they're doing -- and even when we maybe can't, we can all decide to frequent farmers markets and stop eating the over-processed food that's killing us. I especially loved the reference in the book to Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa -- I know the place, since I live not far away -- and it is truly a national treasure!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 185 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 10