Book Review: The Vegan Girl's Guide To Life by Melisser Elliott

It was this book that caused me to spend extortionate amounts of time pondering Vegan ethics, and it was this book that encouraged me to implement elements of Vegan living in to my own lifestyle. 

Before this book, I'd bought cosmetics and household cleaning products that weren't tested on animals, but I'd never stopped to consider the lives lead by the animals who were actually turned in to cosmetic and household cleaning products. Before this book, I had given up dairy to see whether it would improve my acne, but I had no idea of the realities of the dairy industry. Before this book, I thought that Veganism was extreme, and slightly terrifying; that I would surely starve on a Vegan diet and anyway, cheese.

This book hasn't converted me to an entirely Vegan lifestyle (I had sausages for dinner), but it has left me wanting to find out more, and my research in to Vegan ethics is ongoing; but without this book, I probably wouldn't have gained an interest in the first place.

This book has a little of everything, and is as perfect for the non Vegan as it is for the long term Vegan. It isn't preachy, doesn't ram horrific images down your throat, and seems to exist on one very clear message alone: "recognise what your ethics are, and own them." Have you ever read a non-fiction book (particularly anything in the diet, health, or wider lifestyle genres) and felt like the author is judging you with every turn of a page? This book doesn't do that, in fact, I finished the book feeling as though I could call Melisser up and invite her over for tea, and even if she knew I'd had sausages for dinner, she'd shrug her shoulders and tell me it was my choice.

This book contains information on Vegan beauty, clothing, crafts, events, social networking, and everything in between, including, of course, food. What's more, the main bulk of the book's content is punctuated with cute profiles of the Vegans that the author obviously knows, either "IRL" or through the Internet. There are Vegan bloggers represented here along with a number of small independent businesses. And last but not least, there are a handful of really tempting Vegan recipes towards the back of the book too. 

I loved the fact that Melisser touched upon her own journey to Veganism, without sounding condescending or self satisfied. You definitely get the impression from her book that she knows her stuff, and is comfortable and confident in sharing it, but that aggressive guilt tripping isn't her thing, and this makes the book far more accessible for the non Vegan.

I'd recommend this book for anybody who is interested in environmental causes, animal welfare, and the impact that human actions have on other species. I hadn't considered being Vegan before picking up this book, and I'm still not a Vegan, so if you don't think it's your thing, don't be put off of this book out of a belief that it's going to go all angry sermon on your arse. Having read the book, I feel more equipped with information to make informed, ethical decisions, and I have an interest which I can now satisfy through further research - what could possibly be bad about that? I think this is a realy "don't knock it until you've tried it" area of ethics and if you are using animal products, either in your food, clothing or home, then it's best to have the information at hand to be able to explain why that is the right decision for you. 

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