Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out, by Felicity Lawrence


This book follows much in the style of Felicity Lawrence’s last book, Not On The Label. Again, the title leads you to believe that the book has a theme that it works towards, namely, why the food business is bad for your health and the planet. I was sucked in by that title as I’m interested in the subject of how industrialised, commercialised food is not good for us, or indeed the environment.

Alas, the book is a series of journalistic investigations of various foods and their industries. I found that because Eat Your Heart Out picks up a subject and then drops it for the next chapter, that my interest tended to wax and wane. You’re led into, say, the minutiae of the pig industry, but then the author doesn’t knit it all up into the theme that the book purports to be addressing. It’s left up to the reader to join all the dots together and try and draw the whole lot up into a unifying theme. It's a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly.

Maybe I’m whingeing too much. Lawrence does write very well and her concerns are my concerns. I just wish she had more of an overarching theme. In effect I wish she’d taken one chapter and worked it up into a book. Like her chapter on cereals. I think a whole book on the breakfast cereal trade would be fascinating.

As it stands, this book is a bit of a frustrating hodge podge, in effect a series of long Guardian articles packaged together as a book.

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