I need to stop reading full length books by journalists. The wit that I appreciate in short articles drives me bananas in a longer piece, where I just...moreI need to stop reading full length books by journalists. The wit that I appreciate in short articles drives me bananas in a longer piece, where I just wanted to hear the story, and desperately wanted to get a page or two without another bad joke.
That said, these type of stories interest me. Somewhere I'd gotten the idea (the title?) that Doug Fine's story would include going vehicle free in rural area, but that was not the case. (He has a truck converted to run on veggie oil, and that's how he gives up his car.) The author never stops going to Wal-Mart, and never seems to run out of money, or even worry about money. I can't hold against the book that it wasn't what I expected, but it just wasn't very satisfying.(less)
I had fair warning: the sections of this book are named turkey, rabbit, and pig.
Still, I was willing to read about the killing and eating of animals b...moreI had fair warning: the sections of this book are named turkey, rabbit, and pig.
Still, I was willing to read about the killing and eating of animals because of the good things I'd heard.
The book is as much about living in the down-and-out part of Oakland and general D.I.Y. as much as urban farming. Carpenter's sense of humor is on target for the first half of the book, as is the charm in her descriptions of her neighbors, her farming projects, and even of the animals she keeps. She begins with vegetables and fruit and bees, then moves to birds, rabbits, and pigs. There is much to like in this book, but the last third of the book (pig) went to that place that I resent, where a person's hunger is more important than anything else and they forgive themselves violence as long as they "respect" the animal they kill. The last third of the book was hard to read not just because of the detailed descriptions of butchery and gourmet meat preps, but because the drooling obsession with fatty meat drowns any other concerns in the book. Unless you live solely for salami, the book becomes a bore.
I still enjoyed approximately 2/3 of the book, but had to comment on the fact that Carpenter is weirdly uninformed and reactionary about people who concern themselves with animal rights. I chose to sit through her gore to see what else she had to offer, but it was clear she had nothing but disdain for anyone who would ever pass over pork. While she went on and on about the flavor of her pigs, I left a reasonably enjoyable book with a sour taste in my mouth.(less)