So, Mother's Milk, by Andrew Thomas Breslin, is the first book I promised to review and yeah, that story was a mouthful. A chewy, take it slow so you don't choke, mouthful that has more or less turned me from milk. (I'd say dairy, except I have had both chocolate and cheese today. Twice. Looks like the aliens still have me.) It was rather delicious though, and I've been a big fan of rice milk for ages now.
Cindy Kichlklug, a young, emphatically non-idealistic attorney finds herself in Washington, DC, working for a group of radical nutrition advocates with a passionate distaste for cow milk. Little does she suspect that their militant intolerance for lactose is a reaction to a secret global conspiracy orchestrated by the dairy industry, itself a puppet of alien masters from a distant planet orbiting the star Vega.It was a fun, but slow read; beyond the main storyline, there were footnotes about the legal profession, the history of various cultures, details about the vegan lifestyle, and a few jokes thrown in for good measure. Cindy's point of view is rather the one that I think I would have had in her situation; a bit of a cynic mixed with a compassionate animal lover and a caffeine addict. She's annoyed by the people she works for and then, when she finds out that they aren't simply crazy and they have a point, she looks for the quickest way she can get out of the mess she's been drug into.
These Vegans (the ones from Vega, not the other kind) have been running things on Earth for thousands of years through mind-controlling substances secreted by the cows they brought here long ago, but now one of Cindy’s colleagues, socially inept mathematician Eddie Fishman, has discovered an innovative analytical technique that may expose their nefarious schemes. When Eddie is captured, Cindy teams up with cranky old anti-conspiracy veteran Tom Logan and a host of other rabble-rousing extremists to rescue Eddie and put an end to the diabolical (albeit delicious) machinations, all the while pursued by the dapper but devious “milk thugs” and fighting her own overwhelming desire for lattes and cheesecake.
I will be honest; the clinical breakdown of what milk was and the vivid description of a cow being slaughtered were not something that I really wanted to read. But I countered that with the numerous characters (the paranoid farmer, the vulgar-speaking debutant, the psychic dolphin, etc.) and the interesting twists in the plot (Tom Logan is a hoot), and I have to say that I liked it. The ending didn't go quite as I expected it would, in fact it was nothing like I expected it to be, but it was a nice way to end the story. The main characters are living their diary-free lives (I wonder if Cindy's cat still gets cream, or if Cindy will try converting him to a dairy-free lifestyle too?) and are more or less happy. I think. Mostly happy.
Review of Magic Strikes to follow tomorrow.
*piles of work is more of a figure of speech, since all of my work is electronic these days.