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Eating Animals

by Jonathan Safran Foer


Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals is hard to categorize because it is made up of memoir, scientific investigation and personal philosophy. That is not to indicate a weakness in the work but rather a plus. If the book had been written in just one of the forms mentioned, the book would have been much less readable.

As convinced as the author was of the need to practice better eating habits, he had a hard time sticking to vegetarianism in his earlier years. But on the brink of becoming a father, he began a serious study of our eating habits, which led to this book that suggests we become, if not completely, more vegetarian in our diet.

While Foer's work will probably not cause a mass exodus from meat products to vegetables—simply because meats are too entrenched in our society—his descriptions of the way some animals are treated to get the meats that we prize highly will most likely cause some of us to cut back on our meat intake and eat more fruits and vegetables.

After reading the book, it is hard to argue with his findings. In fact, we suspected such even before he told us. But will we switch en masse to vegetarianism? Probably not, but many will adapt their diet the avoid meat products that are the worst offenders. It's somewhat like a doctor asking patients to quit smoking, and we know how that is going—they cut back (sometimes) but rarely completely quit.

The Book

Little, Brown and Company / Hachette
November 2009
Nonfiction / Part memoir and part scientific study
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The Reviewer

Willie Elliott
Reviewed 2010
NOTE: Reviewer Willie Elliott is's "Before the Title" columnist, covering non-fiction books and related subjects.
© 2010