Halfempty's Reviews > All Over Creation

All Over Creation by Ruth Ozeki
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U 50x66
's review
Oct 28, 2008

liked it
Recommended to Halfempty by: my mom
Recommended for: people who can handle a little activist monologuing

I expected this book to be one of the best books I'd ever read, and it wasn't. So that was a rough start. Favorite author, second book, and it seemed a little less believeable than her first book, even though it was less far-fetched. The first time I read this book, I considered it to be a simplistic criticism of genetically engineered food, with a disappointingly stereotypical cast of characters--a fry-oil burning bus full of hippies with protest puppets make a pilgrimage to an Idaho monoculture potato farm because the owner, in his old age, has begun putting out a seed catalog of heirloom seeds, which is full of anti-GMO rhetoric born from a religious love of God's creation.

But the second time I read it, the story seemed more complex. The kids on the bus, although each is a developed character, still seem to serve a purely educational purpose. But the two other families in the book are have more interesting stories. Lloyd and Momoko Fuller are the elderly farmers who do the seed catalog...Momoko suffers from Alzheimer's and is forgetting everything except her seeds, and even the names of her carefully preserved heirloom plants are beginning to fade. Lloyd is old, has arthritis so bad that he can't manage his colostomy bag by himself, and hates that he can't take care of Momoko. Their only daughter, Yummy, ran away when she was a teenager after a bad fight with her dad, and never came back.

Yummy's best friend from school lives next door to the Fullers and has ended up taking care of them, while her husband, a boy from the same small town, works the Fuller's land. Now that it looks like the end is coming for Lloyd and Momoko, Cassie wants Yummy to come home and take care of them. So she finds Yummy (on the internet, how else) and Yummy shows up with her three kids from different fathers, unmarried, unprepared for Idaho winter after living in Hawaii for years...and at the same time, the busload of unwashed activists arrive. And who ends up tending to the colostomy bag and cooking the meals? That's right, it's not Yummy...everyone ends up eating vegan...

But can a conservative old man from a small town host a bunch of law-breaking, troublemaking kids, even though they're taking care of him and helping with the seeds? What happens when they start threatening the livelihood of the neighboring Idaho potato farmers? And who is that bastard PR man who's hanging around with Yummy? Anyway, once my expectations were lowered, I liked this book very much.

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