Maverick: A life among animals, reconsidered

At the opening of the essay collection Maverick, Laura Jean Schneider writes:

I’m in the third generation of butchers in my family. As a family, we slaughtered and butchered most of the meat we eat ourselves. While this was not without conflict it seemed that once animals flesh was cooked, we were absolved of the pain caused in preparing it.

For the author, absolution remained elusive.

Each of these bite-sized, beautifully composed essays is testament to Schneider’s conflicted (but ultimately enlightened) journey to a more compassionate relationship with non-human animals. We begin with Schneider as a young girl who must commit a horrifying act on an animal to earn her grandmother’s love, and a few gingersnap cookies.

For those whose livelihood depends on animals, it’s not unusual for children to be taught early to compartmentalize their emotions. And, in the case of Schneider, children learn they must sacrifice their love for animals or risk losing the love of their families.

While this collection is, at 51 pages, brief, it does capture the difficult mental and emotional journey one must traverse to evolve from one who eats animals to one who protects them. And, given how interwoven animal abuse is with family, work and religion, it is little wonder that so few people dare to challenge the traditions they have been raised into.

Hopefully this collection evolves into something much longer.

You can buy a signed copy from the publisher or read the PDF.