Monday, March 8, 2010

Review: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

If you haven't entered my Moving Away International Mini-Giveaway, you can do so here. Open until March 27!!

Title: Eating Animals

Author: Jonathan Safran Foer


Who Should Read It? EVERYONE! And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Well, maybe parents shouldn't read it to their young children, but they should certainly summarize it for them as they are reading it.

What I Have to Say:
Jonathan Safran Foer - the boy knows how to write! For serious! I'm sometimes skeptical when fiction authors I love wander into the realm of non-fiction, but with Foer's literary talent (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close AND Everything Is Illuminated = pure brilliance!) and subject matter, I didn't hesitate for a second to pick up (and then devour) "Eating Animals." I wasn't disappointed. Foer presented the truth of the horrors of the farming industry in the US (I don't even need to put factory beforehand, because I now know that factory farms are pretty much ALL there is) in such a way that is was actually ENJOYABLE to read. Sure, I was repulsed, I was disgusted, I had to stop several times to dry heave or to tell my boyfriend yet another horrifying fact, but it was still GOOD.

Early on, Foer states that he didn't set out to write a book trying to convince people to go vegetarian. And I believe him. Because that's not what this book was about. It was about his quest for himself to see what meat was all about. And the fact is, the facts he found are all he needs to try to convince people to become vegetarian. He showed absolutely EVERY possible side of the story, including from interviews with ranching vegetarians and slaughterhouse workers to sections written by hardcore vegans and slaughterhouse owners and factory farm owners, etc. . . If there is another side to the story, I haven't found it - what Foer gives are the cold, hard facts. And the facts are so horrible that, no matter how you present them, it sounds like you're trying to convince. And what can I say, if you know the facts, you're probably wanting to convince people to go veggie.

So even though he didn't "set out" to write a book trying to convince people to go vegetarian, this book tries to convince people to go vegetarian. Which is a GOOD THING! It makes the convincing all that much more real.

Honestly, I am a vegan. And this book made me gladder than ever to be a vegan. At the same time, in a weird way, it makes me wish that I hadn't been a vegan beforehand and that the book had turned me. Because it would make my pleadings for you to go out and read it hold so much more weight. I want to go out and buy a copy for every single person I know and sit with them and make them read it. But then, I'm afraid. Because what if they didn't stop eating animals afterward? How could I respect them then?

In the meantime, I can only hope that I remember all of the facts he has presented, and that, when discussing veganism, I find a way to present said facts in such a succint, interesting, knowledgable way as Foer has in this brilliant memoir. I can only hope that people will choose to stop living in denial and start learning the facts, even though they know that what they learn will be horrifying.

Summary: Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between carnivore and vegetarian. As he became a husband and a father, he kept returning to two questions: Why do we eat animals? And would we eat them if we knew how they got on our dinner plates?
Brilliantly synthesizing philosophy, literature, science, and his own undercover detective work, Eating Animals explores the many fictions we use to justify our eating habits-from folklore to pop culture to family traditions and national myth-and how such tales justify a brutal ignorance. Marked by Foer's profound moral ferocity and unvarying generosity, as well as the vibrant style and creativity that made his previous books, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, huge bestsellers, Eating Animals is a celebration and a reckoning, a story about the stories we've told--and the stories we now need to tell.

Cover Story: I love the vibrant green of the cover, and I love the way the font invokes images of animals. I think there are several different covers that would have done this book justice better than this one, but at the same time, I find it oddly appropriate. It's not too overwhelming and yet, it does make you interested. It makes you wonder what this is all about.

Disclosure: This book was sent to me by review from the publisher. This in no way affected my review.



Unknown said...

Wow, what an entirely different read. I love how you review books that are non-fition every so often. This sounds really informative!

M.A.D. said...

Excellent review! I have been a practicing vegan for the last few years and ... wow ... if only people KNEW exactly how that juicy hamburger or gallon of milk is 'obtained' for their (and their children's) consumption!

Sadly, most people DON'T want to know, because then they would have to confront the cruelty and horror of our 'modern' farm factory industry and be faced with having to make some hard choices. It's easier to live in ignorance.

Forgive my passion on the subject lol, but our 'processing' of living, feeling and procreating creatures is simply appalling - ethically as well as spiritually. And personally, the idea of putting a dead, decomposing animal in my mouth is unbelievably GROSS! haha - one might as well stop their car on the highway and enjoy a lovely roadkill burger...


But, to continue this long-winded comment... seriously, I've always believed that we (mankind) only deserve as much compassion as we exhibit for those creatures 'below' us. Call it God, Source, Angels, ETs, WHATever ... I think we're only going to 'get' as good as we 'give'. (If that makes sense).

Anyway, thank you for bringing this book to your readers' attention. I'd give you a star and a flag if I could :D

Eleni said...

Nice review, sounds pretty interesting!

Sara said...

Wow, what a great review! I can tell how much you loved this book! :) and it sounds like a really interesting read!

misskallie2000 said...

Great review. I have read and heard of some of the practices and not sure if I really want to read this book or not..LOL
There are dangers from all foods either from processing, slaughter, chemicals, etc. If we read about all of these we would quit eating. Of course that would take care of obesity but we would starve to death.
Thanks for introducing this book.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Charlotte said...

Really interesting ! It's so nice to read non-fiction reviews. :)

Unknown said...

I love this review. Thank you so much for posting to the link-up. I am a triathlete and have been researching the Raw Lifestyle of Raw Vegan. I need to get a copy of this!

Are you on Twitter? Congrats on moving to Japan. I am there several times a year on business. Let me know if you have any questions.


My Contests

None for now!