Book Review: Braiding Sweetgrass

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer

Ok, I am NOT anything even close to what could be called a ‘plant person!’ Honestly, I’m pretty bad about house plants and I rarely keep any outdoor plants alive longer than a few weeks and even I found this book to be phenomenal! 

I teach theology to undergraduate college students and one of the hardest ideas to teach is that there are numerous ‘ways of knowing.’ Knowledge of the world doesn’t come in only one form (science) but rather through various ‘modes of knowing’ and this is just one of the many arguments of Kimmerer’s book. She makes the case for understanding the world through various lenses, indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. She also notes that various religious/spiritual ways of knowing offer wisdom of the world around us and help us to further understand our environment and relationships. 

The first three sections of this book were fantastic and I look forward to re-reading them but next time I pick up this book, I may just stop at the fourth section. The final two sections felt a bit forced and simply there to complete her writing structured by the life cycle of sweetgrass. That being said, my book club read this book and there were others in the meeting who enjoyed the final sections so clearly this portion of the book resonates with some people. 

This book is about many things including ‘ways of knowing’ but also relationships with one another and the land/world, stewardship, recovery, healing, otherhood, mythology/storytelling and the list goes on. The only reason I did not give this book 5 stars is because I felt like it could have ended about 150pgs. earlier and the final two sections seemed superfluous in my opinion. 

Read on my friends!

-Haddi 

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