So, honestly, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year in Food Life is a book that could make a person evangelical in their sense of how to eat. Fortunately, Kingsolver’s daughter Camille, who co-wrote the book with her mom and step-father Steven Hopp, warns against such preachiness at the dinner table.

But here, where you’ve come to read a review, I can gush, and so I will. This book is beautifully (and humorously written) with great language, lovely stories, and clear direction. Kingsolver maintains an awareness of the limitations of the life she’s chosen to live – a year of eating locally and growing/raising/producing most of her family’s food. She knows not everyone can be this diligent in this pursuit. But she makes a good case for why we should be more so. And for me, her argument works. I am already trying to buy a lot more local food, and I hope to put up a lot of corn and tomatoes in the next two weeks, taking advantage of the season’s foods. Plus, I’m even more done than I was before with factory-raised meat. I’m vegetarian, but I had been known to break that boundary when out with friends at a meat-only restaurant. No more – I’m done unless I know the meat was grass-FINISHED and free range – the same with eggs and dairy.

So you could say this book changed my life, not to be too cliche about it. But it did, and I think it’s well worth a read if you have the desire to consider some new options. However, if you feel you would just get grumpy and frustrated, don’t read the book; it would be a waste of your time and an affront to the goal of Kingsolver’s writing – to encourage us to be more conscious of our choices. So don’t make yourself grumpy unnecessarily.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get copies for everyone I know – through Bookmooch hopefully – and watch my parents grow a huge garden next year. Today, I’m cutting my grass with my “Andi-powered” mower (one of those old-fashioned blade mowers that I bought new at Home Depot) and watching my cucumbers produce a million little cuces in the next week. That’s life . . . slower and more home-grown.

Cover of Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver