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Killing It: An Education

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  766 ratings  ·  138 reviews
Camas Davis was at an unhappy crossroads. A longtime magazine editor, she had left New York City to pursue a simpler life in her home state of Oregon, with the man she wanted to marry, and taken an appealing job at a Portland magazine. But neither job nor man delivered on her dreams, and in the span of a year, Camas was unemployed, on her own, with nothing to fall back on. ...more
Kindle Edition, 350 pages
Published July 24th 2018 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  766 ratings  ·  138 reviews

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Jun 27, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: june, arc, 2018
EAT, PRAY, LOVE, only this time 1) in France 2) with meat, and (3) an extra helping of self-absorption.
Rae DelBianco
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A transparent, honest, selfless evaluation of an issue most every modern American faces— what have we lost by making life easier? And in particular, what have we lost by releasing ourselves from responsibility and reverence toward where our food comes from? As a former teenage cattle rancher, Davis asks all the questions I'd locked up in my heart as a kid, and addresses them with intellectual curiosity, respect, and empathy, without pretending to know all the answers. I highly, highly recommend ...more
Kate Olson
THIS BOOK. I LOVED IT. A memoir about life, love and butchery - be prepared for this to be a true memoir, not a narrative nonfiction account of the meat industry. Davis examines her entire life as she goes through the journey she embarks upon, and shares it all here. And I'm IN because that's exactly what I'm looking for in a memoir - the personal touch.

Regarding meat - lots of people have been asking “will it make me want to be a vegetarian?” and my answer is what I think the author would say
Esther Espeland
Wow I could have sworn this book came out like a decade ago instead of 2018 bc of how out of date and white-feminism-y it was, damb! Anyhoo I wanted to learn more abt butchery so read this and don’t really thing I learned anything? Book is more abt this woman’s journey to learn butchery and then start a business, kinda boring, writing was uninspiring and cheesy, sooooo now gonna look for books abt butchery that are actually good
Mrs C
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was both aghast and tantalized with how the author pulled off describing her experience in butchery and sharing her views about meat processing and meat consumption. This book transformed me - I’m still a meat eater but it has made me curious about the meat handling process and it has made me care about where my food comes from.

Review copy provided by the publisher.
Luke Johnson
2 stars.

So to me, "Killing It" by Camas Davis is two books in one. Part of the book is about a woman living in Portland, OR who after being fired from her magazine job decides to stop writing and start doing. In this case, that means heading over to France and learning (in just 7 weeks) how to be a butcher thanks to a very kind French family, the Chapolards. Still, this is also a book about that exact same woman trying to live her life. The book (both halves) is done in a memoir fashion and thou
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly don’t understand why some thought of this as an “Eat, Pray, Love” kind of memoir. This certainly is not that. Camas Davis has dedicated her adult life to the questions many of us don’t dare to face: Where does our meat come from and why? What have we lost by making life easier? What have we lost by releasing ourselves from the responsibility and reverence toward where our food comes from? Davis addresses these questions with, as another reviewer eloquently here states, “intellectual curi ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
In the world of food I often feel like there is very little compromise. There is a big divide, which is social, cultural, and moral that forces people to make ultimatums between vegetarianism/veganism or an omnivorous lifestyle. People who don’t eat meat do so for many different reasons, but a lot of them do so because they are concerned about the welfare of animals. Others do it out of religious or social reasons. The question of eating meat or not is complicated though. On the one hand, many p ...more
Danielle W
This nonfiction book was pretty interesting. The author left a food writing job to spend some time in France training as a butcher but it ends up coming across as more of a dabble than a career commitment and most of the book follows the ambivalence she feels to several professions and several love interests but her constant commitment is to getting folks to think more about the meat that they eat and if there is a better way to honor the animal's life by using more of the less "prime" cuts. She ...more
Amy Morgan
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book.
Camas Davis is a magazine writer who just got fired from her job, left her long time boyfriend and then moved in with a new boyfriend who she immediately tells she is going to France to learn to be a butcher. Sounds crazy right? I thought so until I read her story.

This book was incredibly fascinating and made me really think about where my food comes from and where I want it to come from in the future. Camas's entire journey into the world of
Jana Rađa
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I care about the planet. I try to make less waste. I try to use the car as little as possible. I have recently bought a few trees for my balcony and as soon as they get a bit bigger, I hope to plant them somewhere outside, so they become big and beautiful, produce oxygen, and make insects and birds (and at least some humans) happy. I also love animals, all of them. Yet, and here lies the ethical dilemma, I eat meat. I even eat beef, despite my abhorrence of factory farming and despite what scien ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone on the fence about eating meat. As someone who does, I have learned so much about the process and where our food comes from from Camas Davis. She's a beautiful writer, and as much as her descriptions of butchery make you wince, her descriptions of her time in France make you drool. Writing about food and, of course, meat becomes almost poetic in her hands. Which sounds over-the-top and absurd, but it's true. I just loved this s ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I devoured this book very quickly, mostly because I often said I wanted to quite my job, work with my hands, and become a butcher. Obviously that hasn't happened yet so this book was the next best thing. Interesting insights on different cultures and whole animal butchery and the arguments about whether to eat meat or not, all good stuff. Kept me entertained from beginning to end. It very much speaks to a city reader, growing up near farms and rural landscapes I know where you can purchase a who ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it liked it
If only Davis had curtailed the book at about the two-thirds mark, it would've been a perfect 4 stars (maybe even 4.5). The last third felt whiny and further highlighted how she used a fair number of people in her life. I will say though that she has some measure of courage to be that honest about her flaws, so kudos for that.

Her descriptions of slaughter, abattoirs, and butchery were incredibly vivid, while also being entirely respectful. I've participated in chicken slaughter on a small farm a
3 stars - but only b/c the author went into French cuisine, culinary techniques, etc. This book was Eat Pray Love meets Julia & Julia with one of the most stunning heaping's of self-absorbed "humbled bragging" ever imagined. I found myself skipping over the author talking about how brave she was, her detailed conversations on how she had no idea if she would write a book ( which appears to have been planned the entire time) and how she embraced people thinking she was crazy b/c deep down she kno ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Formidable! What an awesome read! Fascinating and sincere, Camas Davis will make you question where our meat comes from and, at the same time, make you want to learn how to butcher a pigs head and make pate de tete.
Read this book as soon as you can get your hands on it. You will not be disappointed.
Thanks to Cindy Roesel and Penguin for this book.

I'd have to give this book 3.5 stars.

Everything you've always wanted to know about pigs and butchering of them and other meats and were afraid to ask. If you don't eat bacon, pork, or other products of the pig or any other meat, or you are squeamish, this book might not be for you. It was a learning experience to say the least about this process.

I wasn't sure how I would like reading about slaughtering pigs and meats but I ended up really liking
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, 2018
Camas Davis's eye-opening experience will truly educate its reader on all things meat. You'll ask yourself questions about all facets of the meat industry - because that is exactly where her path led after being let go from her food magazine job in 2009. From comparing American practices to traditional French ways she learned while studying butchery abroad, to the truth behind buzz words like"local" grass-fed" etc. Davis has an informative approach that also touches on personal moments in her li ...more
Aug 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you love discussing food ethics and humanely raised livestock -- cannot recommend this book more. I can't believe everything she accomplished, it's quite inspiring on an entrepreneurial level as well as a self-reflection and "how can I vote for better food practices with my time and money" thought provoking questions. For anyone in the Twin Cities, we have so many Portland Meat Collective equivalents! I had no idea until after reading this book that they were options like this out there. ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my cup of tea, especially the personal memoir stuff. But I’m still glad I read it for the honest discussion of the ethics of eating meat and the nostalgia for the lost knowledge of a pre-industrial age. Challenged me to think about issues I hadn’t thought I cared about but now find to be important.
Laura  Yan
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
eat pray love, but with butchery? reading this book was pretty wonderful - i got a glimpse of a world i knew little about, and i appreciated camas's nuanced approach to thinking about food and meat and consumption (even if at times it leaned too heavily on romanticizing the traditions of the french). her personal stories and romantic interludes were nonessential but fun (if at times leaning a bit too heavily on ego), and the description of the cooking school in gascony was wonderful and lush. it ...more
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent meditation on meat that has damn good writing.
Marilyn Smith
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, cooking
Camas Davis is discontented writing and editing food magazines and needs a change. Suddenly unemployed, Davis travels to France to learn butchery from an established family of pig farmers. Throughout her journey she confronts her preconceived ideas and feelings about all aspects of meat, the need for creating meaningful work and community. She continues her path back in Oregon, creating the Portland Meat Collective. Davis openly shares her struggle, doubts and successes finding authenticity.
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food-tingz
Here's what I liked about the book: The author decides to leave the life she had built for herself after she got fired and pursue a calling. The calling was in a field usually dominated by men, and she created a new life for herself with butchery. I enjoy stories about people being mindful food consumers, questioning what they've always known about food, and teaching others to question and change their habits as well.

Here's what I didn't like about the book: The plot, if there is one, was often
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great exploration of the road to learning to butcher, humane treatment of the animals we eat, and the whole animal movement. Davis has become a voice to be heard.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Really got me thinking about meat and our ideas around it. I was already a fan of Fergus Henderson and his ideas but they always seemed too exotic to work in America. Davis shows it can be done here and done well. I may not be ready to hop a plane to France but I am anxious to find local farms in my area and start learning for myself.
Tuesday H
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think we like to hear stories about heroes who have a vision and are brave in the face of adversity, conquering that goal no matter what comes their way because they have conviction and heart. This is not that story. This is an honest story about a woman who in many ways is unsure of who she is, nearly always second-guesses herself, and sort of, but not really has an idea of what she wants to do. Much of the book is her almost blindly searching for a way forward -- and I might add that a lot o ...more
Jay bookworm
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: won, 1-own-it
I am sending a huge thank you to the publisher, Penguin, as well as Goodreads for offering this giveaway. This book absolutely blew me away. The author lost her job, had a dream and eventually made it happen. Her dream? To become a butcher. Luckily, her previous job gave her a network to be able to explore the world of whole animal butchering and the people that she meets along the way teach her many things. The writing is amazing, poetic, romantic (yes, the way she talks about food and animals ...more
Mary O'Rourke
Unusual subject matter. Ms. Davis led a very complicated life for many years,
but she persisted in her goal to learn more about how to raise and butcher
animals, as well as how to utilize whole animals better. She learned that the
latter goal is a hard sell in America, although commonplace in France. If you're
in a reading rut and you want to read a book unlike anything you've likely read
already this year, this one's for you.
This book changed the way I think about my meat consumption, an issue I have admittedly spent a good deal of energy avoiding since I was old enough to understand the moral complexity behind being an omnivore. Also, running away from your problems to southern France to become a butcher. Huge 2019 mood.
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