All Over Creation – Ruth Ozeki

All Over Creation“Yumi Fuller hasn’t set foot in her hometown of Liberty Falls, Idaho—heart of the potato-farming industry—since she ran away at age fifteen. Twenty-five years later, the prodigal daughter returns to confront her dying parents, her best friend, and her conflicted past, and finds herself caught up in an altogether new drama. The post-millennial farming community has been invaded by Agribusiness forces at war with a posse of activists, the Seeds of Resistance, who travel the country in a camping car, “The Spudnick,” biofueled by pilfered McDonald’s french-fry oil.”

I’ve heard that this is not her strongest book, so I look forward to reading her other two soon, but in my introduction to Ozeki’s writing I found her writing intelligent, challenging and hilarious. Her eccentric cast of characters are drawn together in rural Ohio over the unexpected ideological upheaval surrounding potato farming. Genius, right? It’s a difficult to describe meandering exploration of environmental activism, family dysfunction, forgiveness and reconciliation. The protagonist is frustrating, but I don’t have to like my narrators to enjoy their stories. The character development and some of the events of the novel verge on parody in their seeming randomness and I’m into that. I liked it and all its commentary/critique of modern agribusiness and activism alike.

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