Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Reviews: Food, Dogs and Little Bee

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
by Michael Pollan

Pollan sums up his book in the first chapter when he says, "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." The first part of the book he uses a lot of research to identify his beliefs about what food means. He identifies that a lot of food research is not reliable due to multiple factors, discrepancies in diet, the government's investments and research methods themselves. However he ends up using some of these studies to support his own ideas. So I didn't totally agree with a lot of the first section. The end of the book he gives a break down of this thesis and real world techniques. I think his general idea is excellent and something I continue to strive to do; eating less processed foods, more fruits and vegetables and healthier quantities. 

The Art of Racing in the Rain
by Garth Stein

This is my first book club book that we're discussing at the end of the month (which I'm really excited about). Anyways, this is Stein's novel about Enzo, a dog, and his family. Stein writes from a Enzo's perspective on his life, his family's journey and how he wishes he were human. It's an interesting point of view as Enzo tells about Denny, his wife and daughter as they struggle through illness and custody battles and life. Denny gets dealt blow after blow to his life, which I just found depressing. I also started out thinking it was really cheesy but about two-thirds of the way through the book I found myself really invested, probably because Enzo is so lovable  Thankfully it has a happy ending and despite myself I liked it.

Little Bee 
by Christ Cleave

Cleave, also the author of Gold, writes the story of Little Bee, a refuge from Nigeria whose life intertwines with Sarah, a magazine editor in London. Sarah's husband as recently committed suicide and when Little Bee shows up on her door  she doesn't quite know what to think. They have history together from a vacation Sarah and her husband took in Nigeria but it's been years since they first met. As they go through the weeks following her husband's death more and more comes out about their history and the reason Little Bee is in the UK. I do think Cleave is a good author but I didn't like this book nearly as much as I liked Gold. I think it's partially because the characters didn't seem as real to me and this story is really sad. I'm glad I read it but I'd give it 3/5 stars overall.

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