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.