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At first glance, a novel that promises to expose the unethical practices of the American meat industry may not be at the top of your reading list, but Ruth Ozeki's debut, My Year of Meats is well worth a second look. Like the author, the novel's protagonist, Jane Takagi-Little, is a Japanese-American documentary filmmaker; like Ozeki, who was once commissioned by a beef lobbying group to make television shows for the Japanese market, Jane is invited to work on a Japanese television show meant to encourage beef consumption via the not-so-subliminal suggestion that prime rib equals a perfect family:
TO: AMERICAN RESEARCH STAFF
FROM: Tokyo Office
DATE: January 5, 1991
RE: My American Wife!...
Here is list of IMPORTANT THINGS for My American Wife!
1. Attractiveness, wholesomeness, warm personality
2. Delicious meat recipe (NOTE: Pork and other meats is second class meats, so please remember this easy motto: "Pork is Possible, but Beef is Best!")
3. Attractive, docile husband
4. Attractive, obedient children
5. Attractive, wholesome lifestyle
6. Attractive, clean house...
1. Physical imperfections
4. Second class peoples
The series, My American Wife!, initally seems like a dream come true for Jane as she criss-crosses the United States filming a different American family each week for her Japanese audience. Naturally, the emphasis is on meat, and Ozeki has fun with out-there recipes such as rump roast in coke and beef fudge; but as Jane becomes more familiar with her subject, she becomes increasingly aware of the beef industry's widespread practice of using synthetic estrogens on their cattle and determines to sabotage the program.
Cut to Tokyo where Akiko Ueno struggles through the dull misery of life with her brutish husband, who happens to be in charge of the show's advertising. After seeing one of Jane's subversive episodes about a vegetarian lesbian couple, Akiko gets in touch and the two women plot to expose the meat industry's hazardous practices. Romance, humor, intrigue, and even a message--My Year of Meats has it all. This is a book that even a vegetarian would love. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
As a writer, Ozeki draws upon her knowledge in documentary filmmaking cleverly to bring the worlds of two women together by utilizing the U.S. meat industry as a central link. Alternating between the voices of Jane (in the United States) and Akiko Ueno, the wife of Jane's boss (in Japan), Ozeki draws parallels in the lives of these two women through beef, love, television, and their desire to have children. Ozeki skillfully tackles hard-pressing issues such as the use and effects of hormones in the beef industry and topics such as cultural differences, gender roles, and sexual exploitation. Her work is unique in presentation yet moving and entertaining. Highly recommended for general fiction collections. [BOMC alternate selection.]?Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Stanton, C.
-?Shirley N. Quan, Orange Cty. P.L., Stanton, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I first read this book 20 years ago. It's stuck with me since then. I bought it for my son who lives in Ag Country now.Published 3 days ago by Jamie Holter
I thought that this book not only went into food. Democracy, like us people being able to know what's being put into our food, but different topics such as marriage and gender. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Daria Georgia
Every book I have read by Ruth Ozeki has been a joy to dig into. Not only is her writing style wonderful, her subject matters are thought provoking and her characters are so well... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bonnie Schaefer
This book is hilarious and a little scary, too. I loved it. This is my secon Ozeki novel. I can't wait to get into the third. Enjoy!Published 2 months ago by Lynn G Kinch
This is the second book by this author and I must say that she is becoming one of my favorites. This book dealt with the contemporary issue of food safety with big agribusiness... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Christine Stenlund
I enjoyed this book tremendously. I purchased "My Year of Meats" when I was going through my vegan phase and trying to get my hands on as much literature as I could... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tya Collier