Oct 27, 07
Read in October, 2007
I found this book when I was walking Pip. It was just there, on the ground, and so I picked it up.
This is a really good read, a fast read, a well-written read, about plants and our relationship with them. The author weaves a Dionysus-Apollo metaphor throughout that he almost pulls off without a hitch and asks the question, "Do we domesticate plants or do they domesticate us?"
He uses four plants to illuminate this relationship: the apple, the tulip, marijuana (the marijuana?), and the potato. I was especially interested in the latter. I love it when people talk about potatoes because each person's interpretation is so deliciously subjective and unique when it comes to the spud. His section on Mary Jane was also good; he doesn't go the rote route of the sensationalized description of the illegal crop.
My only critique of the book is that he did not look at all sides of some issues and instead offers a very superficial argument at times. Especially, his discussion of genetic engineering is lacking some; however, he makes up for it by letting us in on his personal debate about whether he can, in good faith, eat genetically-engineered foods or even use them for a potluck dinner dish.