Toronto writer Adria Vasil wrote Ecoholic back in 2007, and we reviewed it twice in TreeHugger -- when it launched in Canada and when the popular American edition came out. So when her latest, Ecoholic Body: Your Ultimate Earth-Friendly Guide to Living Healthy and Looking Good hit the shelves last month, we asked Emma Alter, a young lady in the target demographic, to do a guest review.
Adria Vasil knows her stuff. Most any question you have about green personal care products gets answered in Ecoholic Body. Wondering what the best eco sunscreen to use is? Vasil reviews fourteen different ones and rates them from least to most effective, going into details about the effectiveness, texture, scent, and price. She does the same thing for toothpaste, deodorant, every possible make-up item, and more. Vasil has clearly done her research and she clearly knows what she’s talking about.
As a source book, Ecoholic Body is definitely a good choice to keep on your shelf. It’s in depth, easy to understand for even the freshest greenie, and well-organized. Vasil’s one downfall (and a common downfall in the world of green books) is the writing. Vasil holds a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude that sometimes shows it’s face in her writing. Her book suffers in the way that a lot of intense, super-green books written for the new generation of young eco-hipsters suffers: There’s a bit of a smugness to it, a not-quite-earnest chummy attitude that just doesn’t quite work. Vasil tries to endear herself to her readers with it – “I used to be just like you! I used to use Nair and wear lots of make-up!” but what she’s saying is “I’m not like you anymore."
She’s not the only one -- I found the same thing in Veganomicon, a fantastic vegan cookbook that I absolutely recommend to vegans and omnivores alike. But hey -- that’s why they’re the ones that write these books. They’re living this life, whether it is because they are that passionate about it, or because it’s their job (because I suspect it would be difficult to do everything in Ecoholic Body if you wanted to be able to do anything else with your life at the same time).
But judging a book for being too comprehensive seems a bit wrong, so I will say: This book is a great thing to have for someone who’s just starting to be green, or for someone who wants to go all the way. Whatever green question you have, she has the answer for it. If you can get past the style and see the content (which, frankly, is very easy to do), there is a fountain of information to be learned. So start reading before your next trip to the drug store!
Available from Random House.