Lisa Wuertz's Reviews > Eating Animals

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
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's review
Mar 24, 2010

really liked it
Read from May 24 to 26, 2011

Foer is an excellent writer and communicator and I was slightly surprised this continued in a work of non-fiction.

On page 13, in what might be considered the introduction and background of the book, Foer says, "I, too, assumed that my book about eating animals would become a straightforward case for vegetarianism. It didn't. A straightforward case for vegetarianism is worth writing, but it's not what I've written here." Then on the next page, he claims, "...this book is the product of an enormous amount of research, and is as objective as any work of journalism can be..." As a former journalist and editor, these statements (and others like them, tossed in from time to time) kept clanging in my mind as I made my way through the book. The book is not completely objective, not objective like a work of journalism. While the case for vegetarianism isn't completely straightforward, it is certainly hard pressed throughout these pages.

I also am not sure if there is something else that happened here or what, but I felt like Foer definitely has a problem with Michael Pollan. There was this certain uncomfortable tone I got every time a reference (and there are several) was made. And yet Foer dedicates a large section to the uniting of conscious eaters and vegetarians/vegans.

So I don't know. I think there is a lot of really good information in here, I think Foer is a good writer, but I also think there is definitely a viewpoint here that predominates.

All that bias/not-biased stuff aside I think there are definitely changes to be further made in the way our family eats after reading this and some stuff just doesn't cut it anymore. Luckily for me, my husband has finally been doing his own research on the subject so I don't feel alone.

Another thing to consider that Foer brings up via Pollan is the idea of table fellowship and how to proceed in situations where we don't really choose the menu or provide the food. Definitely something we've been grappling with in recent weeks. At church the preschool class teachers' idea of snack time is Goldfish likely containing GMO wheat and high fructose corn syrup, and some yellow lemonade drink. Do we make our kid the weird one and not let them eat? Do we insult the teachers if we do this? After church there are usually an array of baked goods (not home baked usually) out for people to snack on while they talk to one another. Do we abstain? Do we make our kids abstain? Do we come off as arrogant pricks if we do? Our community group often has potlucks and food based gatherings. Most of the food is not organic. The meat is likely all factory farmed. Do we stop showing up? Do we bring our own food? Do we only eat vegetarian even if that means eating nothing or eating questionable vegetarian fare with possible GMOs, HFCS, etc? Again, do we come off as the privileged arrogant pricks that only eat these "fancy" foods? Family gatherings with a good portion of our extended family includes more examples of this. How do we navigate it? How do you not drive yourself crazy when implementing a food philosophy? How do you do so with compassion for those around you that just aren't educated or don't have the money to eat this way, etc?

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Reading Progress

05/24/2011 page 15
05/25/2011 page 123
36.0% "It's funny how he keeps asserting himself as presenting an unbiased piece of journalism when that definitely isn't what this is. There is very much a point of view here."
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