Sunday, April 25, 2010

Etre the Cow: A Review (and a Giveaway)

I don't typically post book reviews for works of fiction. Since this is a food blog, I assume most readers would rather read cookbook reviews and drool over photos of sample dishes. But I'm making an exception for Etre the Cow by Sean Kenniff. That's because this powerful work of fiction has the potential to create more vegans and vegetarians for our revolution. World vegan takeover! Ha! Just kidding ... well, not really.

Vegan Crunk is just one of several blog stops on Kenniff's virtual book tour for Etre the Cow, a fictional account of life on a farm written from the perspective of a very perceptive bull. This short volume (just a little over 100 pages) begins with Etre, perhaps the most insightful cow at Gorwell Farm, feeling humiliated as humans taunt him with jeers of "Moo cow!" He's ashamed to be a beast, and try as he might, he can't seem to make the humans (or other cows) understand him.

Etre is a sentimental bull who takes solace from his boring pasture life in the songs of the farmer's little boy. Those songs seem to offer Etre's only distraction from chewing kale and grass. Written in a narrative first person style, Kenniff's book brings readers directly into the lonely mind of Etre. By mid-book, it's hard not to feel you're the cow, doomed to a life of chewing grasses and waiting for slaughter.

As expected, the book takes a dark turn when Etre finds himself on the line to be slaughtered. Thinking he's moving to a new pasture, Etre happily joins the line of cows in the chute, but as he approaches the slaughterhouse, the smell of blood and the sounds of tortured cows send him into a panic.

If I were an omni, this book would convince me to give up meat (or at least beef) immediately. Anyone who reads Kenniff's horrific description of the slaughterhouse assembly line will be moved. If you eat a burger after that, you obviously have no heart. Its easy for omnis to live in ignorance and denial, but books like Etre the Cow serve to open their eyes and hearts. At least that's the hope.

Etre the Cow is the perfect gift for a meat-eating friend or relative, but it's also important for vegans and vegetarians to read such books as a reminder of why we believe in practicing compassion for all living things.

A little trivia: The author, Sean Kenniff, was one of the original castaways on Survivor in 2000. In real life, Kenniff is a physician, radio host, and television journalist. Sadly, according to his bio, Kenniff is not a vegetarian. I'm not sure how someone can write such a compelling pro-veg work without being moved to give up meat. Maybe one day. Everyone comes around at a different pace.

The publisher, Health Communications, Inc., is offering to give away a book to a lucky commenter. If you're interested, leave a comment at the end of this post. They're limiting the contest to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Sorry international buds! The book is available on Amazon as well.

For an additional entry, tweet about this contest and link back to this post. Then leave another comment to let me know.

For another additional entry, mention this contest on Facebook with a link. Then leave yet another comment. Each entrant may leave up to three comments this way.

Note: If you do not have a blog, please leave your email address! I had to disqualify a few people in the last giveaway because I had no way to contact them. Good luck! I'll pick a winner at 10 a.m. CST on Thursday.

26 comments:

radioactivegan said...

i would love to read this book. i've read a few reviews already and looks really compelling!

amymylove said...

OMG I want this book SUPER BAD! If I don't win it I will buy it!

Midnite said...

I'd love to get my dad to read this. Ever since I went vegetarian six years ago he's always asking me if I'll eat meat or fish again. Always being offered a bowl of steaming flesh is not only enough to make me sick but incredibly annoying. And ever since I went vegan he's given me so much flack-like I'm a bad person or something. -shakeshead- Some people are ridiculous. Still, he's my dad. Love your blog Bianca!


~Midnite
harrypotter_rox(at)msn.com

littlemisspotato said...

I would really like to check this out!

HeyitsBeth said...

Wow, so he wrote all that and still isn't veg? hm... I'm wondering how he justifies it. Worth a read, for sure!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read this!
samantha.stearns@gmail.com

Lindsay said...

I'd love to give this a read!

Tanya said...

Looks like a great book :) Funny that the author is not veg....

Tanya said...

I just tweeted! (@tanyatheviolist)

http://twitter.com/TanyaTheViolist/status/12883572532

jessy said...

this sounds like a book i need to read and pass on to my non-veggie friends. thanks for the review, Bianca - and i can't believe Kenniff isn't veg. that's crazy!

be'ershevaboheme6 said...

I don't need a copy of the book since I was also a stop on the tour and have my very own, but I wanted to leave a comment and tell you how much I enjoy your blog! I've been stopping in every so often for awhile but have been to shy to say hello!

I've just added you to my blogroll over at www.bokchoybohemia.com as well and I'd love if you'd come over and visit sometimes! Keep up the awesome work!

LisaMM said...

Great review. Thanks so much for being on the tour and sharing this book with your readers! We really appreciate the time & effort you put into this. Thanks again!

Lindsey said...

I can't believe he's not even a vegetarian! Wow.

I would love to read this book. Your blog is the first place I've heard of it. Thanks for keeping me up to date!

Courtney said...

The book sounds really powerful...I would read it and pass it on to an omni or 5 or 6 :-) I don't have a blog, but I am pretty sure you have my e-mail from testing, no?

Thanks Bianca!
Courtney

two vegan boys said...

This book sounds interesting.

Rikki Cupcake said...

This book sounds very interesting and i too agree that is odd the author is not vegetarian. I would love to give it a read. I recently heard of a story in "you've got to read this" that is about a cow waiting for slaughter and the story makes comparisons to auschwitz. I hear it is very compelling.

LD said...

I heard about this book a couple days back and am really dying to read it. Love the giveaways!

Laurendilkes[at]gmail[dot]com

miss v said...

um, he's not (at least) a vegetarian? how odd?!

J Hall said...

Looks amazing!
jrhall@wesleyan.edu

Jessica said...

This seems like a great read. Whether or not a cow has self-awareness, I can't see not being bothered by the slaughter. Maybe he feels like Etre (meaning to be) is the exception.

Emily said...

I would love to own and read this book. It would probably open up my father's eyes to the fact that maybe the cruelties in his home country were less when it came to slaughter (because the farmers there came to love the animals they raised), but American slaughterhouses are very different.

Bean said...

Wow, another giveaway! I would love to read this.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read this book! I'm a long time vegetarian, interested in veganism (already eat very little dairy and eggs only occasionally). Also, coincidently, am a huge Survivor fan! :)

mcgowancassie AT yahoo DOT com

thanks for the give away!

Ashtr0n said...

I work in a salon with a bunch of hungry meateaters. They aren't the smartest girls in the world. Maybe if they read this they will finally understand!

The Rockin' Vegan said...

Yes! This sounds so, so very cool. Always looking for things to give omni's to read, and the more factual scare tactic books just aren't the answer. This sounds funny, light and fresh. Cheers!

Wendy French Barrett said...

I'd love to read this book. I, too, have heard very good things about it.