Voracious readers and voracious vegans, we have a real problem. Most books aren't written by vegans.
So most stories will, without any warning, launch into lingering descriptions of animal-based meals.
Food in Fiction
Revisiting childhood favourites like the Narnia adventures or Little House on the Prairie can be especially jarring for me. Vegetarians or the health-conscious are usually relegated to being the weirdo minor character, a target for the main characters' mainstream contempt. Remember Eustace and family in Narnia?
It's a rare treat to find even one sympathic vegetarian character in a book (eg, the tough FBI agent Dillon Savich in Catherine Coulter's romantic thrillers).
(Hey. I bet I'm not the only one reading escapist fiction as counterbalance to heavy activism.)
What a thrill to read Sweetheart Deal and meet lead character Lilly, who is a vegetarian so health-aware that she travels with boxes of organic trail mix bars for emergencies. This is a semi-autobiographical character for the author, Claire Matturro, and I'm sure rings a bell for many of us too.
Stereotyping is alive and well
However, we soon discover that lawyer Lilly is not only a vegetarian health foodie but also certifiably neurotic. She's obsessive-compulsive about germs and dirt and fears flying. She is constantly finding similarities between herself and her dysfunctional mother.
So we've advanced from odd vegetarian bit players to a strong, sympathetic, but still very odd vegetarian heroine. "Disappointing and unfair!" I thought.
Or... is it?
I'm not normal. I'll happily stand up for my many abnormal choices. And I'm struggling to think of any vegans I know whose only quirk is in their diet. Thinking...thinking...
Instead, the vegans I know would agree with this:
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. (Krishnamurti)
Does a vegan consciousness go naturally hand-in-hand with other social misfittings?
Stand up and be counted...
Anyone out there want to raise their hands as vegans who are basically normal in all other ways?
Also, please share any cool fiction about vegans. I've almost finished my book.