I'll go with 3 stars, but really I want to give it 1. Or maybe 5. I had some serious Love/Hate going on with this book.
I loved the messages: Education...moreI'll go with 3 stars, but really I want to give it 1. Or maybe 5. I had some serious Love/Hate going on with this book.
I loved the messages: Education is key, one person can make a huge difference, the Muslim faith is complex and peaceful. I loved the work and the accomplishments. I loved the education, both the basic education of hundreds of children and the education the reader gains regarding geopolitics.
I hated the writing. Relin's style is distractingly bad. I hated that the book didn't stick with one purpose. Was it the biography of Greg Mortonson or the history of the CAI or something else? I hated that they never followed up about how life in the villages was changed by the schools.
The topic deserved better than this. If Three Cups of Tea was readable, the messages could have been so much more wide-spread. I hope they make the CAI's history, mission and message into a documentary. This is a story that deserves to be told and a film could be just the do-over that it needs. But no matter what the book jacket claims, Harrison Ford is probably not the best fit to play Greg Mortonson.(less)
I fully expected to get annoyed at Barbara Kingsolver. And because I'm self-centered like that, I expect that lots of people are avoiding Animal, Vege...moreI fully expected to get annoyed at Barbara Kingsolver. And because I'm self-centered like that, I expect that lots of people are avoiding Animal, Vegetable, Miracle because they too expect to get annoyed with Ms. Kingsolver. I'm happy to report that these fears were unfounded.
You're all free to enjoy this book without being overwhelmed with monetary privilege, farm-knowledge privilege or even free-time privilege. Contrary to my fears (and to some reviews), Kingsolver does not make her year of locovory out to be saintly and does not guilt the reader for not owning a 20 acre farm. Also she does offer a fair amount of politics and science without giving that "preaching to the choir" feeling or a re-read of everything Pollan. I did skip chapter 1, but after that, everything was great.
I was reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as my grandmother was dying. Over the last month, I spent a lot of time at my grandma's farm and found her life story in this book countless times. It felt like a window into the life and farm that I somehow grew up ignoring and neglecting and not helping with.
I loved the descriptions of farm life. I loved learning about the quirks of farm life. I could seriously feel the love Kingsolver and her family share. Asparagus trees, turkey sex, tomato sauce. Love love love.
I especially was interested in President Carter's discussions about fundamentalism, in religion and in politics. He...moreI like Jimmy Carter. Even more now.
I especially was interested in President Carter's discussions about fundamentalism, in religion and in politics. He defines fundamentalism in a way I'd not through of it before, but seemed dead on to me. He says that fundamentalism is the idea that we're right, and chosen and everyone else is wrong and therefor un-chosen and therefore disposable. Also that it gives power to leaders instead of to people, which leads to abuses of power. These are exactly the qualities of so many vocal religious groups that make me hostile to religion in general. Sometimes I forget that there are other kinds of religiosity. It's really rare to hear a public figure, especially a Christian public figure, standing up to the idea that some churches and church leaders have taken a selfish and corrupt path. I was preparing myself to really disagree with President Carter for the religious chapters, and I did disagree with him, especially when he talked about missionary work. But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed what he had to say. He really shows that it is possible to separate religion and politics without being disloyal to your strongly held beliefs.
I was also so refreshed to hear him talk about religion in politics in a way that promotes peace, environmentalism and kindness, things that the most vocal religious political groups condemn. I want to give this book to all my Christian relatives who seem believe that Jesus wants them to starve the poor and bomb the middle east and all that other evilness.
I "read" this as an audio book, and I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have got through the book format. The second half or so got a big dull, but listening I could just tune out a bit without giving up entirely.(less)
Full disclosure: I'm a Bad Religion Fan Girl. Or something. Fan Girl sounds awfully frivolous, but what else do you call it?
I'm a Bad Religi...moreFull disclosure: I'm a Bad Religion Fan Girl. Or something. Fan Girl sounds awfully frivolous, but what else do you call it?
I'm a Bad Religion fan. And I have been for something like 17 years. Bad Religion was a huge influence on my life and world view as a teenager. You know those years where everyone is figuring things out for themselves and starting to ask the big questions? Those were the years that I listened to and studied Bad Religion albums. And I sang along. I knew every lyric (still do) and found so much to think about. So Yeah. I pretty much grew up with Greg Graffin's philosophic influence. And, not necessarily as a result, but as it happens, I'm an atheist and a monist and I find evolution in everything. I am not a scientist, but I sometimes wish I was. Pretty much I've been so influence by Greg Graffin and I've listened to and read his lyrics for so long that Anarchy Evolution is just common sense to me. I'd like to say that I think like him, but maybe it's more correct to just say that I understand what he's saying. It's what I would say if I were eloquent (OK, I wouldn't write the personal memoir-type stuff, but the philosophy/atheism/evolution stuff).
In short. I'm going to buy my own copy of this book because I want to read it again with a hi-lighter (they frown on that with library copies) and I want to hi-light the crap out it. And I want to shove my neon yellow copy into the hands of the next person who asks me some dumb question about atheism or what I believe and say read the yellow parts.
Then, there's also the fact that it's a punk rock memoir. Awesome.
I don't believe in self-important folks who preach No Bad Religion song can make yourself complete You'll get no direction from me.