The Year of the Goat – Margaret Hathaway – Book Review

The Year of the Goat by Margaret Hathaway, copyright 2007.

Publisher: The Lyons Press

Pages: 204

Source: Personal Collection – Purchased New from Munro’s Books

Reason for Reading: Recommendation from Billy

Did you hear the one about the sheep that took a book recommendation from a goat in the Year of the Rabbit? No? Hmmm…me neither!

Waaaaaaaaaay back in early 2010, before I had even begun blogging, The Year of the Goat was brought to my attention by everyone’s favourite book blogging goat, Billy, from Fizzy Thoughts. Since seeing the review, the book had been sitting, almost forgotten, on my TBBought list. And, to be honest, I’m not sure that my interest in goats is so enthusiastic that the purchase of this book would have ever come to fruition had I not discovered it on the discount rack at Munro’s Books. I am pleased, however, that it did, because aside from learning about all sorts of tasty goat products, this proved to be a very educational read.

In 2003, Margaret Hathaway and her then boyfriend, Karl Schatz, began a trek across America in search of a new way of life. Fed-up with the hussle and bussle of New York, the pair set out to discover if goats were their gateway to a slower, more rural and more local life. Their adventure took them to dairies, livestock auctions and family farms across the country as they sought the wonders of milking goats, meat goats and packing goats.

“We don’t simply want to make goat cheese. Rather, we want to center our lives around something both great and simple: producing food and devoting our lives to the pursuit and cultivation of real flavour, in every meaning of the word. Connecting the palate to the place suddenly seems the most perfect goal of our lives.” The Year of the Goat, page 114.

What they find along the way are people very much like themselves who are interested in a slower pace of life, people who want to develop a greater appreciation for the food that goes into their bodies and the place from which it comes.  Goat, Margaret and Karl learn, is the future and just may be their ticket to the lifestyle they are increasingly longing for.

I found the subtitle, “40,000 Miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese,”(and the blurb) to be a little misleading. While the pair discover some truly amazing cheeses and other tasty goatables along the way, I never really got the impression that finding the perfect cheese was really their goal. Rather, it was to find the courage to give up everything they knew in exchange for a life they craved, but knew little about. That is the only flaw I can really find with this book. It was not overly exciting, but it was very informative and left me with a new understanding of the importance of goat in the global food chain.

If you care to see the fruition of their journey, and learn more about goats, you can visit Margaret and Karl at Ten Apple Farm.

RATING: Not Baaaaaaahd


About Robbie

Hi there, my name is Robbie Burns (no,really, that’s my name…hold the haggis jokes please) and I would like to welcome you to the Pink Sheep Cafe. I started this blog as a means of discussing books and all things literary in light of my perpetual isolation. At the time I began writing, I was living in Split, Croatia. There wasn’t much here in the way of English book clubs and I couldn’t work, so I badly needed something to help me bide my time. My partner and I have since left Croatia and returned to Canada to live in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. When we first moved back here, my blog writing sort of fell by the wayside, but now I seem to be back on track. I try to read and review a little bit of everything here; I think everyone can find something to their liking here. I find myself tending more towards more literary reads these days, but I also enjoy a lot of YA and children’s fiction. One of my ongoing goals is to work my way through all of the Nobel Laureates. My two most favorite authors are Timothy Findley and Halldor Laxness.
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2 Responses to The Year of the Goat – Margaret Hathaway – Book Review

  1. Lesley Anita Burns says:

    This book sounds like a fascinating read if one is interested in becoming a goat farmer. Goats could be a good thing for us when we move to Quadra Island do you agree? Mom and Dad on an acre of land and a 4 bedroom house.

  2. Julie says:

    I am interested in this one – Shel insists we need goats!

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