Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review: Folks, This Ain't Normal

Okay, so I finished the book three days ago. I'm sorry! I know y'all have been waiting on a book review! My excuse is that I needed a bit of time to mull everything over, and digest the new info. ;) Oh, that's not a good enough excuse? Bummer... I can't think of a better one right now. I'll think on that.

But while I'm thinking up a better excuse, here's my "professional" opinion on Joel Salatin's latest book....

Folks, This Ain't Normal
A farmer's advice for happier hens, healthier people, and a better world.

By Joel Salatin

Rating: 10+
Readability: 10
Impact: 10
Recommend It? Yes!
Read it again? Oh yes indeedy... Methinks I'm going to have to buy this. :)

What To Expect: In this book, Joel explains just how far removed today's culture has become from what is "normal" in life. With Joel's sense of humor, mixed with both historical and scientific facts, and well seasoned with passion and verve, this book grabs you at the very start and doesn't let go until the very end. Folks, this ain't normal. It's time to get back to what is.

My Thoughts On It: Wow. I think I said that about his last book that I did a review on, but I'll say it again here, where it's due. Wow. I've read all of Joel's books so far, and I have to say that this one is my top favorite. Hands down. Just looking through the Contents in the beginning is enough to provoke a smile, and pique the curiosity. Chapter Two: "A Cat Is a Cow Is a Chicken Is my Aunt". Chapter Six: "Dino-the-Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Nuggets Don't Grow On Chickens". That man ought to get a medal for creative titles... ;) I learned a lot from this book, but I think it will take a second read-through before I can fully grasp everything.

 There was one paragraph in particular that stuck out to me, while reading it. In chapter three, titled, "Hog Killin's and Laying In The Larder". Pages 50 through 52, describe an old fashioned hog killing. Joel paints such a beautiful picture about this (you would just have to read it). You can almost smell the smoke from the fire and hear the laughter and joking from the folks gathered to harvest their hogs. Families have come together. Potluck dishes have been prepared. Boys stand at the edges, wanting to be like men, yet unsure of themselves still. Women are in the kitchen, preparing to make sausages, cure hams, cut bacon strips and clarify lard. It's a picture of unity, and community. Then Joel swings you over to today's pork and how it was raised/harvested. The comparison was stark, and while I always knew it was, those pages really hit home, and caused me to pause in my voracious reading.

Joel goes over things like how we raise our kids today, compared with how they were raised in the past; How our government works, how our crops are raised, how we get our water supply... I think he covers just about every topic that could be covered!

Another blurb that caught my attention was something Joel mentioned about their female interns (seeing as it involved me!). Polyface used to never allow female interns, for obvious reasons. They didn't have separate living quarters set up, and they weren't sure how things would work out seeing as they were already allowing 6 guys to come. So they kept the internship open to guys only. Apparently there were some howls of discontent amongst a lot of people (I didn't know that until I read it in the book!), so four years ago they made the decision to let gals come as well. Now, before they made that decision, they were getting 10 female applications for every 1 guy. That's a lot of applications. Oy. But once they said, "Okay, you gals can come too!", the applications stopped coming. Now, they get about two female applicants each year (score!). Joel writes:

"In four years, we have not turned away one single woman intern applicant who made it through the initial questionnaire process. That may change this year (2011), but so far we've taken every one who came to our mandatory two-day checkout."

That cheered me up considerably; seeing as I may have a higher chance of getting the internship, than I had previously hoped! :)

All in all, I was very pleased with the book. And Joel got fancy with this one, and made it a hardback; very nice. ;)

 Any questions? 


Autumn said...

I am going to read this for sure now!

Michelle said...

I think I promised to let you know when Miracle had her babies. Well, I am sad to report that I don't think Miracle's even pregnant, just terribly fat. Her due date was the 17th, and I had my breeder come down last night to check her, and we decided that what I was taking for early labor signs was actually heat. :-( This make two times she has been bred and didn't settle.