editor's choice





Dr Cassandra Coburn is an impressive character. A scientist, editor and now author of her first book, Enough: How Your Food Choices Will Save the Planet, she has a doctorate in genetics and is associated with The Lancet; all great credentials. The danger though that sometimes occurs when academics write books on subjects key to their hearts is that the language isn’t accessible enough and the reader therefore disengages quite quickly. That’s not the case here – thankfully so, as this is an important subject, one which we all need to take note of and, more importantly, act on.

In the early pages of the book, Coburn states: ‘The food that we eat worldwide has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. While an unhealthy diet was once believed to be a Western problem, this trend can now be seen worldwide.’ Using well-interspersed stats and data, Coburn presents a damning but also hopeful view of our future, linking dietary choices to current prevalent health issues, such as diabetes and obesity and also to COVID–19, but saying we have the chance to change this, to change the way we live, the way we eat and by doing that save our planet.

Enough has an important message and Coburn supplies a great deal of research in a very readable way. It’s not preachy. There are no judgements, she is a scientist after all, just the presentation of information that supports her viewpoint.

The text itself is presented in manageable sections, backed up by the occasional diagram or chart to make the information more accessible to readers. And one could just dip in and out of the book. Yet, reading it straight through gives a great overview of what we’re facing if we don’t own up to what we’re doing, the impact of which is that we’re not just hurting ourselves and each other, but the planet, too.

In the last chapter of the book, Coburn talks about the pineapple (and Charles II) as an example of global agricultural systems. She states that these systems are ‘contributing to the way we are pushing the world out of a safe operating space for humanity and into an uncertain and unstable future. Things must change.’

Probably like a lot of the people who have or will read Enough, I was already aware of many of the issues that Coburn raises, but what this book serves to do is bring home how much we need to act, how much we need to respond to the issues that, yes, we may have inherited from previous generations, but that we, individuals, not government, have the power to alter. As the author concludes, ‘Just by changing the way we eat, we have the power to change the world’.

And that is enough. It’s that simple.



Enough | Dr Cassandra Coburn | Gaia | paperback | £14.99 | 7 January 2021

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the virtual book tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours, as always and thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other wonderful reviewers on this tour and please share them.

Also of interest: The Stone Diaries’; ‘Alice Walker and the power of poetry‘; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Sylvia Plath on poetry‘; ‘WB Yeats, “The Journey of the Magi“‘; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is copyright © 2021 by The Literary Shed. All rights are reserved. All opinions expressed are our own. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please contact us for permission and provide the necessary credit. Thank you so much. We welcome your feedback.





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