Synopses & Reviews
Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life -- vowing that, for one year, they'd only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.
"Kingsolver's passionate new tome records in detail a year lived in sync with the season's ebb and flow....Writing with her usual sharp eye for irony, she urges readers to follow her example..." Booklist
"[Kingsolver] has now written a big-hearted, tough-minded account of her family's decision 'to step off the nonsustainable food grid.'...." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[P]art memoir...part call to action, part education, part recipe collection....Animal, Vegetable, Miracle makes an important contribution to the chorus of voices calling for change." Chicago Tribune
"This is largely an informational book....Yet Kingsolver...adds enough texture and zest to stir wistful yearnings in all of us who have 'lost the soul of cooking from [our] routines.'" Christian Science Monitor
"If you are what you eat, then surely you are also what you read, and so this book offers real nourishment for the soul." San Francisco Chronicle
"The book springs to life when Ms. Kingsolver describes special food events, such as growing and eating their own miraculous asparagus." Dallas Morning News
About the Author
According to the biography on her website, Barbara Kingsolver began writing around the age of nine. Her early "oeuvre" included poems, short stories, and essays, including one noteworthy piece on school safety that was published in the local newspaper, helped to pass a local bond issue, and netted the author a $25 savings bond -- "on which she expected to live comfortably into adulthood."
Kingsolver left her native Kentucky to attend DePauw University on a piano scholarship; but intellectual curiosity (the same quality that informs her writing) prompted her to transfer from the music school to the college of liberal arts where she majored in biology. Immediately after college, she traveled in Greece and France and returned to the U.S. to pursue her master's degree in science from the University of Arizona. She worked for a while as a science writer for the university before becoming a freelance journalist. In 1986 she won an Arizona Press Club Award.
Kingsolver's first novel, The Bean Trees, was composed entirely at night during a period of chronic, pregnancy-related insomnia. Published in 1988, this story of a young woman transplanted from Kentucky to Tucson was reviewed enthusiastically by critics. " As clear as air," rhapsodized The New York Times Book Review. "It is the southern novel taken west, its colors as translucent and polished as one of those slices of rose agate from a desert shop." Readers, too, proclaimed the story a delight.
Since then, Kingsolver has produced a string of bestselling novels, including Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible (an Oprah's Book club selection), and Prodigal Summer. She has also authored collections of her poems (Another America), short stories (Homeland), and essays (Small Wonders); as well as nonfiction narratives like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.