So, try as hard as my mother did, she couldn't prevent my siblings and my father from eating non-veg food. What she could control was what we ate within the periphery of the house. Which meant no eggs, no meat, no fish.
I remember once I had the urge to bake a cake, for which I got eggs. I was forbidden from using it within the house, so I hunted for an electrical socket that was there in a wall in the garden and it was there that I made the cake.
At least she is better than my nani - anyone who ate non-veg had to not only eat it outside, but had to take a bath outside, before re-entering the house!
So the one person who would be a blind follower for Mr. Robbins philosophies in this book would be my Mother.
Even otherwise, its a book which can alter the way a person thinks about food. It has the ability, by the sheer force of numbers, quotations, pictures to convince the reader about the wrongness of eating meat.
It will make you stop and ponder about the next meal you have. Now based on your will power or your inclination for meat, you may quite as easily forget his words, pushing it to some corner of the brain. Which I suspect is what happens usually.
Like Fast Food Nation, this book also talks about the ills of the meat processing industry - their inhuman techniques, capitalistic attitude and to deny their role in causing any sort of devastation with a straight face.
But this book goes beyond the topics covered by Fast Food Nation. It talks about health impact, environmental effect, genetic revolution, menace of the meat industry and the way it manipulates our views for its larger (read monetary) benefits.
There are some chapters that I liked quite a lot like the "Pig Farmer". The chapter on veal was truly shocking. As i read pages and pages of insanely inhuman practices, I felt a strange relief - thank god I am not the reason why these poor innocent animals suffer. Yet I know, that I cannot absolve myself of my guilt this easy.
Its a very cut and dry book, with facts and statistics liberally strewn. But then it is a non-fiction so that is something that I expected. Its a book that makes you aware of what is happening in the world around you, the risk, the damage caused by our own carnal desires for food. Although it is 10 years old book, I doubt if much has changed. If it has, I would be happy to know about it.
I remember whenever I had these arguments with other friends of mine who were non-vegetarian and who would preface their dialogues with "Oh! You don't know what you are missing!" or "Aren't plants living beings as well? Are they not killed too. So why not animals?"
And in response I would bite back my words of frustration and keep queit.
But now after reading the book, I have an answer. 399 pages of answer.
I am not a reason for the barbaric treatment meted out to the animals. I am not a reason for the depletion of the water resources (being fed to animals or preparing their feed), I am not a reason why there is grain shortage in the world (because it is being fed to fatten out the animals, leaving children and other people hungry in other parts of the world).
So there! I may not have started as a vegetarian by choice, but I am happy/guilt-free that I am one.