A Slice of Organic Life by Sheherezade Goldsmith (Ed.)
Novices taking their first toddling steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle should look elsewhere for a reassuring hand and the soft coo of encouragement. A Slice of Organic Life, edited by Sheherezade Goldsmith, dives headlong into the often baffling business of eco-friendly living by rattling off a series of instructions, without framing them in any kind of context that might make sense to a greenie-to-be.
A foreword by acclaimed chef, author, and food activist Alice Waters is followed by an introduction by Goldsmith. But just when you think you’re on solid, navigable terrain, the ground suddenly opens up below your feet and you find yourself inexplicably rushing past an edict to “Grow Salad Leaves in a Window Box.” Immediately after, you’re asked to “Save Energy the Easy Way,” and then to “Shop Ethically,” as if you were flipping through a stack of flash cards, each bearing little relation to its neighbors.
It would be unfair, however, to say that no effort at organization has been made—the book is ostensibly split into three sections based on your living situation: 1. No Need for a Yard, 2. Roof Terrace, Patio, or Tiny Yard, and 3. Yard, Community Garden, or Field. It might be easier to think of Slice as a collection of homesteading projects, from making and freezing baby foods to—I kid you not—raising a couple of young pigs.
The large type, vibrant and generously laid-out photographs are certainly appealing, and so this is the kind of glossy picture book you could strategically place on your coffee table to pique the curiosity of non-environmentally inclined guests. Slice makes for an easy, non-threatening read—and you really do emerge from its pages believing that yes! you could grow sweet peas on a teepee or become a bee keeper—but the book also tries to toss too many balls in the air at the same time, and keeping track of all them can leave you feeling dizzy. ($25, cloth)
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This review refers to a first American hardcover edition, courtesy of DK Publishing. A Slice of Organic Life can be found in stores now.