Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Reader's Diary #1901- Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane: Happily Ever Esther

Having lived both halves of my life divided up between northern Canada and Newfoundland, where the locals have often been the target of militant animal rights groups and their racism, ignorance, and lies, I was going into Happy Ever Esther, a true story about a vegan couple who decided to start an animal sanctuary in Ontario with no small amount of hesitancy. Still I was intrigued enough by the thought of two city dwellers taking on such a task and the reviews praising the book for its entertainment value and heartwarming messages that I decided to take a chance on it.

Had I known it was a sequel (to Esther the Wonder Pig), I probably would have started with the first one, but they do a good job catching new readers up to speed. Besides, this one begins with the sanctuary, which is what I was most interested in.

A quick word on the authorship: I'm not sure exactly what Derek Walter's contributions were. The book seems told from Steve Jenkins' point of view and I gather that Caprice Crane is the professional writer that help compile it all. Not that that's really relevant I suppose. Steve's voice is typically enthusiastic, funny (maybe overly jokey depending on your tastes), and friendly. It's interesting that at a couple of points he discusses the need not to come on too strong, not to be too preachy with their messages of veganism and for the most part I think he succeeded on that front. There were definitely a couple of moments where he climbed on the proverbial soapbox, but considering that is his ultimate message, I didn't mind, even if I didn't necessarily agree. Besides the obvious vegan theme, I also think the book can be read as an inspirational story for following your dreams, despite the obstacles. (And there were lots of obstacles!)

At the end of the book, they've supplied a list of "Esther-Approved Recipes". Despite not being a vegan, or even a vegetarian, myself, I felt I needed to try at least one: thick black-maple smoked rice paper bacon. I don't know that they're as easy and as accessible as they like to think (I had to try three grocery stores before I could find "smoked" paprika, but was surprised to find "nutritional yeast" right away; and it was a lot more work than simply frying real bacon). The result? I didn't mind it, while the rest of my family hated it. It definitely didn't replicate the "bacon" taste as it name suggested it would, but I thought the taste was nonetheless decent.

1 comment:

Teena in Toronto said...

Just finished it and liked it.

I've been to the sanctuary a couple times so it was interesting to read how it got started. Plus a friend volunteers there.

Teena in Toronto