Okay, so, I have a thing to say about this author, but I don't believe that you should base a book's rating on something that isn't part of the book,...moreOkay, so, I have a thing to say about this author, but I don't believe that you should base a book's rating on something that isn't part of the book, so I'm giving the book three stars on its own - and it is a good book. It's a bit deceptive; it looks like it's about dogs, or just about companion animals, but it's actually about animal rights. I am totally cool with that, being an aspiring vegan myself and a vegetarian of over ten years. It's well-written, engaging, has a lot of sources for the facts and resources for the reader.
The author is one of the women who produced the execrable line of "Skinny Bitch" books, and I don't know if I can ever entirely forgive her for that, especially having read her basically admit that she and her co-author exploited women's obsession with losing weight in order to sell veganism.
It's bad enough that veganism is being sold as a weight loss plan anyway; aside from the fact that the ethical aspect of veganism is in direct protest to female animals' bodies being manipulated and reshaped for the pleasure of humans - which is exactly what the weight loss industry does - veganism is NOT A GUARANTEE OF WEIGHT LOSS. It just isn't. And by tricking people into it using the bright shiny Holy Grail of thinness, when it finally doesn't work (95% of diets fail long term), people give up and go back to eating animals with abandon, almost out of spite. I've seen it.
Worse is the idea that it's okay to trade on the exploitation of one being for another, to use the insecurities and self-hatred of millions of women to further your personal agenda. And I say this as someone who totally agrees with her stance on animal rights. I just happen to think you can help people change without making them hate their bodies even more. Especially with all this "tough love" bullshit going around in the diet business - Skinny Bitch or Biggest Loser, it's bullying, plain and simple. You cannot hate someone healthy. And that the authors did this willingly, looking for a way to piggyback the vegan ideal onto something that would sell, really upsets me. Freedman even goes so far as to express regret over all the profanity she spewed - but where's her regret over encouraging negative body image in women all over the country - men too, later on?
Vegans are often stereotyped in a lot of unjust ways, including that they only care about animals and not about people. When I see things like this, I can see where that comes from. I find the whole idea extremely distasteful, and it was hard to read Beg fairly as its own entity. I thought I could temporarily blind myself to my revulsion at exploiting the hatred of fat people in the name of loving animals (which makes the whole spirituality chapter at the end of Beg seem almost farcical), but that would be like realizing that bacon is made of intelligent, emotional, innocent creatures and then ordering a BLT anyway. So I thought, I'll rate the book on its own, but I have to say my piece. I hope one day, in her quest for a compassionate life, she realizes what a contradictory and disempowering message lies beneath such a cynical ploy for attention.(less)
I didn't really enjoy this book - not because it's a bad book, but because it made me angry, even though the author didn't say anything I didn't alrea...moreI didn't really enjoy this book - not because it's a bad book, but because it made me angry, even though the author didn't say anything I didn't already know. It's a really realistic portrait of life in a restaurant kitchen - for a woman, it can be hell on earth until you develop such a thick skin that the level of misogyny and homophobia among cooks and chefs just stops bothering you. Some restaurants are great places to work, but the majority are still basically clubhouses for 12 year old boys who giggle over the word "boobies."
Why would anyone do that to themselves? In Jurgensen's case, it's her passionate love for the craft of cooking; that love has to be strong enough that it's worth all the hardships, not the least of which are terrible hours and even worse pay with little recognition. The cult of celebrity chefs is mostly laughed at by people actually working in the restaurant industry, and it's easy to see why.
As far as the book itself, it was pretty entertaining, though it never really feels like it goes anywhere. The author is an engaging writer, but there's no narrative curve, no real point - it ends very abruptly with the author going from "I was working in this kitchen with horrible people" to "hey, maybe I'll have a baby," within the space of a single page, and that's kind of it. It's like someone yelled, "Dalia, you've got five minutes to finish that book or we'll shoot this puppy!" I was left staring at the Acknowledgments page thinking, "...hey, I was reading that!"(less)
I read an ARC of this book so I'm not 100% sure what the final version will look like, but I have to say a book like this really suffers from a lack o...moreI read an ARC of this book so I'm not 100% sure what the final version will look like, but I have to say a book like this really suffers from a lack of pictures. There were some neat ideas but it's hard to get inspired by an art/craft book that's nothing but words.(less)