No Rash Promises


Shall I make today about how much Kingsolver I may post.

As I have said continually--there is unquestionably a strong agenda behind this book, but Kingsolver writes with such aplomb, humor, grace, and to some extent, even humility that one is invited in, not scolded (although some passages particularly in the sidebars can take on that tone.) For all who would approach it, I simply give the warning. I am not a partisan of much of the agenda, but I find it very easy to overlook amidst the glories of some of the story.

from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Barbara Kingsolver

The steer that had contributed itself to the meatballs on our plates had missed the sign-up.* Everything else on the table was also a local product: the peas we'd just shelled, the salad picked ten minutes earlier, the strawberries from their daughter. I asked Elsie how much food the needed from outside the community. "Flour and sugar," she said, and then thought a bit. "Sometimes we'll buy pretzels, for a splurge."

It crossed my mind that the world's most efficient psychological evaluation would have just the one question: Define splurge. I wondered how many more years I'd have to stay off Belgian chocolate before I could attain Elsie's self-possession. I still wanted the moon, really--and I wanted it growing in my backyard.

When a narrative is peppered with such delightful personal asides, it is easier to take the main stream of the argument seriously--because one can see that the author does not take herself over-seriously. No dour, frowning, scolding, finger-shaking here--just story--how I did it, how you could do it, and why.

*The sign-up referred to is something that initially I had difficulty believing until my sister-in-law told my wife. It appears that the USDA for reasons known only to the bureaucracy has ordained in its wisdom that every chicken, cow, pig, duck, whatever found any any farm anywhere in the United States shall be fitted with an ID number and a GPS tag to be entered into the federal database of livestock. We've lived for centuries without knowing the whereabouts of every animal in the world, I wonder what emergency has ordained that we must know now. Refer back to Mark Twain--Ms. Kingsolver's farmer certainly does.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 8, 2007 7:34 AM.

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