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FRESH EGGS By: Rob Levandoski February 1, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     The Lycan Librarian always enjoys a story with a conscience, and this 2003 novel makes the reader examine theirs in regard to the treatment of the animals that supply them their food.
     Calvin Cassowary and his wife, Jeanie, are trying to make a go of the family farm that Calvin had the misfortune of inheriting. Teaming with a huge corporation, he is able to turn the place around, and it becomes an enormous, modern egg farm. But with growth comes tough decisions and less regard for the chickens who provide the Cassowarys with their livelihood. Their daughter, Rhea, who had always treated the chickens like pets, is appalled and haunted by enforcement of the crass policies that make the fowl mere disposable trash. By this time, Jeanie has died, and Calvin has remarried a woman named Donna, who does not give Rhea the unwavering love and support a little girl who lost her mother needs. Rhea grows sadder and sadder over the fate of the chickens, and begins to suffer something akin to sympathy pains, but far more life- altering — she begins to grow feathers. Now Calvin has to make the decision if he should please the huge corporation and exploit his daughter’s condition, or cater to the child who has already lost so much.
     I admit, the cover captured my attention and is what made me pick up this novel, but it was a happy surprise that the book was every bit as bizarre. I chuckled at the name Rhea, obviously chosen with purpose, since the girl grows to resemble a huge bird. There is a lot of blatant and grisly detail about the egg industry and the treatment of chickens, so if you are soft of heart, be prepared to avoid eggs and chicken for a while, or perhaps to quit them forever if you are truly naïve enough to not have previously realized what happens on massive modern farms.  I found this book enjoyable and educational, but the writing could have been helped substantially by a better editor.

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