The Omnivore’s Dilemma Review

November 7, 2017 History

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, is a book that explains the roots of the food we eat. Pollan explores industrial farming, organic and sustainable agriculture, how foods get their sources from nature, and more. However, this book might not be as appealing to some readers as it does others. Did the book hold my interest? Was the book easy to read? Did it provide me with new knowledge? These were the questions I kept in mind while reading the first three chapters of this book. Mixed feelings surfaced.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma started off well and got my attention. The book forced me to use my imagination by creating a supermarket scene for me to walk through. I pictured myself in my local grocery store to get a better understanding of what Pollan was saying. I lost interest in the book immediately afterwards for the next few paragraphs. These paragraphs mainly talked about the diversity of species in the grocery stores we have today and that they can all be traced back to a specific patch of soil.

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My interests in the book picked back up when I read that almost all the food we eat, supplies we use, and the supermarkets we shop in are originated through Zea mays, corn. Once Pollan moved from detailing how we use corn in almost everything, I lost interest throughout the rest of the chapter. Although Pollan did a great job of providing facts, the book had the tendency to weave me in and out of interest. Most of the chapters passed the test when it came to being an easy-going read or not.

Throughout the chapters, all the topics were clearly identified first, and then went into detail. The chapters did not jump from topic to topic every paragraph nor did each topic get dragged out too long. However, Pollan does have the tendency in some areas to get very technical to the point in which the reader might not understand. For an example, Pollan explains when corn’s photosynthesis and Carbon intake, he uses many scientific terms and explains processes in ways that only a scientist would understand.

Even though there are minor sections throughout the chapters that are difficult to grasp, I felt that the book was easy to understand and the facts were well explained. Finally, I found that I did learn a great deal of new information after reading the first three chapters of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I thought it was fascinating how so much food and materials are connected to Zea mays, corn. Most of the foods we eat are sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup and materials like trash bags, matches, and batteries are all connected to corn in some way as well.

Corn was also a good material to have in the barter system because of its diversity. After reading the first three chapters of The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, my overall review was mostly a positive one. The book did reasonable job at meeting the criteria that I like in books. I learned many new facts about corn and its history, the chapters were fairly easy to read, and the book held my some of the time. I think those who read this book and find it interesting solely depends on the reader personal reading interests.


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