Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Candyfreak by Steve Almond, 2005, Harcourt

As a person with a serious sweet tooth, I knew that I had to read this book, which recounts the author's journey into the joys and pains of small-time candy makers in America. Living in the shadow of the giants (Hershey, Nestle, and Mars), these entrepreneurs strive to bring the best chocolate they can to people. In fact, I should note that while the book is called "Candyfreak," it is really all about chocolate bars. Gumdrops and jelly beans are mentioned in passing, but it is chocolate that is the author's passion, and it shows.

Overall, the book is an absolute riot. The way that the book is written is rather different than what you are probably used to. This is because you are probably not used to the author admitting right up front that he is an absolute freak and in need of serious help. This man absolutely loathes his own existence on this planet. He loathes his government, he loathes is city, he loathes the air he breathes. He loathes everything, in fact, but chocolate. Chocolate is his escape, his way to bring some relief into his life. Thus, when a favorite chocolate bar is taken out of circulation, it is felt as a punch to the stomach. I must admit, I really can't relate to this.

Overall, the book is quite good, and it was a very enjoyable read. There are unfortunate detours into political polemics about how bad George Bush is. This is all well and good in a political book, but this is supposed to be a book about candy. it was really out of place. I will also note that while this is a book about candy, it is not for children, as the author talks about "the ways of a man with a woman" at times, and mentions how he inspects himself for testicular cancer, which I wouldn't necessarily want to have to explain to my 10 year old. Overall, this was a great book, but with some very oddball (nee, freakish) digressions.

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