Lee's Reviews > Eating Animals

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
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's review
Oct 20, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: own, 2009-reads, animals, environment-nature, veg-vegan, non-fiction, favourites
Recommended to Lee by: Lisa Vegan
Read in November, 2009

I’m sitting here after finishing this book asking myself how is it possible that only one short month ago I was an omnivore, regularly and obliviously munching away on fish and meat without the least idea of what goes into their production and delivery to my table.
The way this author approached the topic of eating animals really resonated with me. It was personal, it was engaging, he conveyed the information and expressed his preferences without making me feel I had to follow suit.

I love how he began and ended with stories of the cultural and familial importance of food and the stories we tell ourselves about the people who cook them. As a mother, a large part of my time is spent thinking about food and how to get the best quality nutrients into my family. Reading this made me reflect upon what kind of values and memories I am creating now as I prepare and serve food for my daughter.

I am thankful I have already given up eating meat because otherwise I would not have been able to stomach reading the information contained within. I don’t want to write about any of the horrible and common factory farming and slaughter practices so clearly laid out in this book. If you are interested or willing to face the true cost of what you are putting into your body and that of your family then read this book.

Can the choice to stop eating animals make a difference? This is the question I have been asking myself which he addresses in the final chapter. Well, at a minimum, my choice will not contribute to the torture and death of one more pig, cow, chicken, turkey or fish simply because my fleeting and fickle appetite demands it. For now, while I grapple with these questions a while longer, it’s enough.

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Quotes Lee Liked

Jonathan Safran Foer
“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn't motivating, what would be? If being the number one contributor to the most serious threat facing the planet (global warming) isn't enough, what is? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Reading Progress

11/16/2009 page 35
10.26% "I'm so glad he's talking about fish." 38 comments
11/17/2009 page 175
51.32% "Pieces of Shit"
11/18/2009 page 232
68.04% "I thought the worst was over and then I suddenly came across the term "slunks". I'm stopping for a wee cry."
08/21/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-39 of 39) (39 new)

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Lisa Vegan I'm eager to read this one. In case you didn't see it, here's a recent column by the author that appeared in the New York Times:


message 2: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Yes, I can't wait until it comes out! I signed up for the giveaway but I NEVER win anything. Thanks for the link!

message 3: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee I just read the article and it's great. Lots of links to factory farming too.

Lisa Vegan Lee, I hope that you win this. I entered too. I'd love to win a copy but I've been lucky and I've already won sone books. I also already am on the library reserve list for this one.

message 5: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Thanks Lisa,
Do you happen to know if having my profile set to private affects my chances of winning a book?

Lisa Vegan Lee, I'd doubt that very much. For instance, all members under age 18 have to have private profiles. You can always message Goodreads and ask, but I'd be surprised if having a public profile is part of the for
ula they use. A lot of it is just random. I've seen many winners who have 0 books, O friends, and 0 groups. It's supposed to be partially based on level of participation here and those members are sometimes winning anyway. When you look at # of copies and # of members entering to win, anybody's chance of winning most books up for givaway is rather low.

message 7: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Okay thanks, I was just wondering since my participation level here is pretty high I thought maybe I wasn't winning for some other reason. I'll just keep trying! :-)

message 8: by Lisa (last edited Oct 22, 2009 02:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Right before a givaway closes I look at number of copies and number of members who entered to win and I determine my chance of winning: a 1 in how many, and the odds aren't usually good.

You've now got me curious so if you do message Goodreads and ask, please let me know what they say.

And, as I said, I've seen some completely inactive members win books. So a lot of it has to be random.

Lisa Vegan Very thoughtful and overall great review, Lee!

message 10: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Thanks Lisa, it was difficult to write about because there was so much information that made me sick.
It's hard to know what to say after reading a book like that and there are lots of great reviews out there.

message 11: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan There are a lot of great reviews out there, both here and professional ones, but your review is a worthy addition!

message 12: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Well I just hope that this book reaches mainstream North Americans and not just people who already know about what's going on.

message 13: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Me too. I loved one reviewer who said they'd be disappointed if it was only vegetarians reading this book and they thought that JSF would be disappointed too.

message 14: by Lisa (last edited Nov 18, 2009 08:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Lee, You don't have to watch this


but you can pass on the link to someone who doesn't want to have to read a whole book. It's a less than 13 minute video (that I have not seen; I've seen enough video to last me more than my lifetime.)

message 15: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee OMG. I watched 5 minutes and had to stop it because I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. That was awful.

message 16: by Lisa (last edited Nov 18, 2009 08:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Lee, That's why I said that YOU don't have to watch it. Just pass it along to people who'd rather watch a less than 13 minute video than read a whole book/JSF's book Eating Animals. I feel that reading/watching atrocities is for those needing motivation to make changes rather than those who are making the changes. Knowing what's available information wise is also good because then you can direct others to that information.

message 17: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee I know, but I thought I'd better watch it in case I want to recommend it to someone. I should know what it's about.

message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Brave you! Yep. I'd say 5 minutes would do it.

message 19: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Lee, You wanted more about dairy. If/when you can stand it, starting at about 5 minutes and going to 7:40 the film deals with dairy cows and their calves who become veal. Just fyi. (I now feel obligated to watch this since I tortured you with it. About to resume at 7:40 and will go to the end/12:30.

message 20: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Lisa, no, no. Please don't torture yourself on my account! You don't need it! You already know the facts. No more suffering please. Isn't that the whole point?

message 21: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan That's okay. I survived. I've seen similar footage. BUT, you're right, neither of us need much of this stuff. Once we know it, no more torture!

Virginia Messina Wonderful heartfelt review, Lee!! I know you are dealing with some really hard stuff right now--reading and thinking about these issues, and taking steps to change your own choices. You should feel so proud, especially regarding the example you are setting for your daughter.

message 23: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Thanks Ginny. I'm pretty clear about the choice for myself. It's just harder when you do a 180 and it affects others. Sometimes I think it may be confusing for her since we used to eat animals and now suddenly we don't!

message 24: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Hi Lee. I'll bet very soon it will be the new normal. Maggie is so young that adapting to a new way might be easier for her than for some adults and easier because she's not in school yet. Also, it's never a bad thing for kids to know that adults are always learning and changing too. Also, you're doing something positive for her health as well. But I do understand that feeding kids can be challenging, especially with picky eaters.

Virginia Messina It makes me sad that hardly any of my omnivore goodreads friends have added this book to their lists. So many people still don't care--or more likely don't want to know. But I think this book has a greater potential to reach mainstream people than anything that has been published so far. And it paves the way for more and more change. JFS was on Martha Stewart today and Martha announced that she is having a vegetarian Thanksgiving this year. You can't get more mainstream than that!

message 26: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Wow! That's great. Go Martha!

And I think you're right Ginny, it is confronting for people.

message 27: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Ginny, That's terrific about Martha Stewart.

It does seem as though more omnivores are reading this book than some other, similiar books, but from all the press it's been getting, including appearing in the Goodreads' November newsletter, I'm a bit disappointed at the small number of ratings so far.

message 28: by Rachel (last edited Nov 19, 2009 01:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel Yippiee! Hurray for Martha Stewart!
And Vegetarian Thanksgivings Going Mainstream!!!!

I wonder if Martha Stewart will go for a vegan Thanksgiving, or will she be using cream, butter, eggs, etc? If so, vegetarian is a start, but hopefully she'll go for vegan next year. I've often thought, Martha Stewart could learn a thing or two about fine dining from the gourmet vegan pot lucks that I've been to here in the San Francisco Bay Area! Those have been some truly amazing dining experiences!!!

Virginia Messina I didn't see the show, so don't know the particulars of Martha's TG dinner, but I know she is celebrating with daughter Alexis who is vegetarian. Is she vegan? I'm not sure.

message 30: by Rachel (last edited Nov 19, 2009 01:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rachel I just checked out the menu.

It is heavy on eggs, mayonnnaise, and butter.


Disappointing, but I saw the preview to Martha Stewart's show, and it sounds like she will be highlighting the health and environmental benefits of a vegetarian (really should say vegan) diet, and this will reach a lot of people. The mere idea of a turkey-free Thanksgiving is controversial enough to many people, so "putting the concept out there" is at least a step in the right direction.

Vegans can use the flavor ideas from the recipes but substitute vegenaise for the mayonnaise, Earth Balance for the butter, coconut oil instead of butter/shortening, and various options for the eggs. I hope next year Martha Stewart will be even more progressive and offer a fully vegan menu!

Earth Balance Buttery Spreads

Coconut Oil

Egg Replacements


message 31: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Wouldn't it be amazing if Martha Stewart went vegan? Can you imagine?

message 32: by Merry (last edited Nov 19, 2009 08:45PM) (new)

Merry Lee wrote: "Thanks Lisa,
Do you happen to know if having my profile set to private affects my chances of winning a book? "

allow me to chime in here ladies.....
nope! I have won a book and I am set to private profile!!!
Wow you have gone totally vegan! That is great, wish I could get my husband to change his ways, but he won't eat vegetables - so that only leaves him with.....fruit and bread? No meat in the diet will really make you feel better - go Lee go!

message 33: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Merry,

I think you're right that having a private profile won't keep members from winning books, but I wanted to let you know that your profile is currently set to public. We are not friends but I'm able to view it. Just fyi.

message 34: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Merry, I feel fantastic. Even with my crazy current sleep schedule, my change in diet has really improved my physical and mental well being. And it's forcing me to make much more of an effort to eat a balanced diet.

message 35: by Merry (new)

Merry Lisa wrote: "Merry,

I think you're right that having a private profile won't keep members from winning books, but I wanted to let you know that your profile is currently set to public. We are not friends but ..."

Thanks Lisa, I am currently public as I am "picking" up friends, hehehe, thank you for the heads up! I have to be public for people to request me as a friend right? Surely I have that right....again, thank you. I did win a book one time!!! I mailed it to Lee after I read it, it was "Fragment" a science fiction with wild bugs.

message 36: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Merry,

Oh good. I wasn't sure that you knew and having a public profile when you want it private could be very unwelcome news.

Actually, you can make your profile private and members can still request you as a friend. However, I doubt members with private profiles get that many friend requests. Other members can't see their shelves, their books, or compare books with them, see what they put on their profile page, see their quotes or groups, etc. so it's kind of difficult to know if you'd even want to be Goodreads friends with them.

message 37: by Merry (new)

Merry Lisa wrote: "Merry,

Oh good. I wasn't sure that you knew and having a public profile when you want it private could be very unwelcome news.

Actually, you can make your profile private and members can still ..."

Thank you Lisa, you are so nice to educate me on the GR stuff as I sort of get lost in it all! :)

message 38: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan Merry, I'm learning new stuff about Goodreads all the time too!

message 39: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Lisa, you're a pro! I keep meaning to ask you for librarian advice and then I get distracted.

Merry, I still received a few friend requests even when my profile was private. I have it public now but I may go back to private.

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