I love how Safran Foer starts this book, talking about his grandmother's table. It gets very much to the heart of how, what seems an obvious improvement in the ethics of humanity, is actually so difficult. Caught up as we are in habit, story, family, friends, to make a change from these things is not easy for everyone, regardless of the ethics involved. Far easy to ignore any uncomfortable thoughts and conform.
A reluctant and patchy vegetarian, he is in somewhat of an ideal place to talk about this topic. He is able to see that the ethical case is clear, but he also struggles with his own inability to make the switch completely. When I saw him interviewed at the LSE in London he was asked the obvious question, "Why aren't you vegan?" to which I don't remember his reply at the time, but he was clearly struggling just with being vegetarian.
He goes on a journey to look at how his food is produced, a journey I wish many other people would take, and perhaps this book can give them an inkling of the world. An inkling, because reading a book is bereft of the smell of blood, of faeces, of sweat, and bereft of the questioning look in a farm animals eye that shows us they are very much aware of the suffering they go through.
We don't only eat these animals, we push them through a degraded life. It is time we come to terms with that. This book is a step in that direction, and is very much a book a meat eater who struggles with the change, as Safran Foer does, should read.