The following book review first appeared on Goodreads, a social media platform for voracious–and novice–readers alike.
Animal Farm by George Orwell.
TheMisfitFarmer rated this book three out of five stars.
After an slightly embarrassing incident of misidentifying a sheered sheep for a goat, I took my neighboring farmer’s advice to heart and began a thorough study of animal husbandry, starting with old and forgotten books (#freeonKindle) to gain a solid foundation of practical farm know-how. That’s how I ran across this slim volume with such a direct and promising title.
I had high hopes for this work, but recommend it only for the most novice of farmers as it imparts merely basic farming advice–and relies on a distracting (and silly if you ask me) depiction of talking farm animals to do so. For instance, in the first few pages, the pigs get together and decree, “No animal must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade.” As you can see, that’s pretty much stating the obvious when it comes to farming advice, though I imagine some oddballs might be tempted to dress chickens in baby clothes when no one’s around.
The major flaw in Mr. Orwell’s farming guide is obvious, namely that it lacks any instruction on fence building, which is a strange oversight for a book focused entirely on raising livestock.
Still, a few gems of animal husbandry are found scattered in this work, which I might as well tell you so you don’t waste time reading all the extraneous bits: 1) Never let animals hold secret meetings in the barn 2) Never let pigs attain positions of leadership 3) Names of farm animals can be self-fulling, so it’s best to stick to names like Bacon and Porkchop and avoid those of dictators like Napoleon.
For a more in-depth and nuanced look at livestock management, I highly recommend E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.
(If you’re on Goodreads, friend me to follow my agricultural reading progress.)