I received a free review copy of Vegan As Fuck, edited by Debbie Deboo, from the editor. The first question I had this little book was “what does the title mean?”. Fortunately, the introduction (by Deboo’s husband Richard Deboo) explains it. In the 1980s there was a popular band that promoted a T-shirt that said “Cool as f**k”. Apparently the shirt was a hit, and it stuck in Deboo’s mind.
Vegan as Fuck, then, means as vegan as you can get, an unapologetic position. Meant to be provocative. I suspect that part of the motivation behind this stance was the typical criticism of vegans, the mainstream marginalization of veganism. Every day vegans meet otherwise compassionate persons who will go out of their way to save a whale or a puppy but who refuse to put their compassion for animals to the literal taste test. It is a mystery to many of us, a puzzle, and I know I am not the only one who sometimes wants to shake people and scream, “Don’t you get it??”.
Clearly Debbie Deboo frequently has this desire. Her offerings in this book are primarily poems that ask why why why and that chastise those who cannot see farmed animals as worth their attention. Her poetry is joined by the work of 29 other vegans. Some offer poetry, some their stories (how they became vegan), some their recipes. The 30 writers come from North America and the United Kingdom, primarily, and engage in a variety of professions, from acting to blog-writing to cooking.
I for one always am interested in how people went vegan. What was the trigger? Here are about fifteen individual stories, each told in a different voice, each different from the last, but all having compassion for animals at the core.
There is no doubt about the sincerity and passion each of the contributors offers here. Being vegan for the animals is the primary focus of them all. It is unfortunate, then, that the writing is not of top quality. Some of it, like the piece written by Andy Johnson, resonates with earthy idioms, and we can enjoy the lilt of his Northern England speech. Others are infused with careless mistakes that I’d think Deboo as editor would have caught. But perhaps she did not see her job as including copy editing. In general, the writing is casual, more appropriate to a blog than a book.
The book includes little drawings of animals throughout, happy animals who celebrate what vegans mean to them. For example, a fluffy sheep says, “You don’t turn my fleece into clothes”.
Who is it written for? I don’t think nonvegans would pick it up, unless they were curious or offended by the title and wanted to know WTF. It seems to be slanted more toward vegans, to help offer a sense of place, some support for what is often a lonely and difficult position. And for wannabe vegans, who are hungry for knowledge and support. I think it might be of some benefit to this group because it might help them hold their heads up high, to realize there are many of us and we all raise the bar on what it means to love animals. Oh, and the recipes look great! I will be trying some of them soon.
Special deal : I will choose one commenter after one week to receive this book. So be sure to comment!
[edited 5/30/2012 to prevent possible filter blocks (title) and to clarify where the book came from]