[Steve Almond] ï Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America [werecats PDF] Read Online ê bricksnboho.co.uk

[Steve Almond] ï Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America [werecats PDF] Read Online ê From the book, page sixteen Every now and then, I ll run into someone who claims not to like chocolate or other sweets, and while we live in a country where everyone has the right to eat what they want, I want to say for the record that I don t trust these people, that I think something is wrong with them, and that they re probably this must be said total duds in bed.
Candyfreak provides way too much candy metaphor fodder for the weak hearted reviewer I don t know I can resist saying things like the writing pulses as if Almond of course, Almond were a five year old on a sugar high or the vivid descriptions of the nuances of biting into different candy bars sent me running to the candy store entirely true, by the way So I will not resist I ll surrender to the flow like a log of caramel on the conveyer belt through the chocolate enrobing machine.
This book functions both as tribute to the small businessman and candyfetish pornography Almond s travels lead him through the factories of one building companies struggling to survive in the shadow of the candy world s big three Nestle, Hershey, Mars He chronicles a fading world of beautiful machines churning out regional candy bars that maybe, just maybe, you ll find on the less desirable candy rack real estate if you re lucky but not in mainstream locations or near eye level because the company owners can t shell out the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to place their products in the big stores The spirit of invention lives in these factory owners as well when they talk about product development they sound insane, honestly, in the best way possible, as if they can taste the new candy before they produce the first sample.
Almond stumbles a little when he stereotypes small town living sir, I defy you to get on a Greyhound bus anywhere, even in your precious Boston, and find anything different than you describe It s not like the Bostonians on Greyhound are wearing cardigans and reading Kant and he slips into I m a successful author but pity my pathetic personal life territory often than he should Still, reading Candyfreak is flat out fun, the kind of experience that raises your pulse a little when you pick up the book, like you re about to do something you want to do after a long day of the opposite Almond s descriptive powers and childlike passion carry the day And candy bars that look like potatoes sound cool I want one right now.
Epilogue I would say I d read Almond, but I realized after I read Candyfreak that I had once picked up his Not That You Asked at the library and put it back after reading the first few pages So, in full disclosure, the jury s still out on Almond the author, but Candyfreak pop rocks.
Candyfreak is the most delightful book about candy that also happens to record the author s deteriorating mental health What a combination Goo Goo Clusters, Snickers, Valomilks, and Big Hunk bars all alongside ample doses of liberal guilt, childhood neglect, failure to commit emotionally in relationships, and a dooming fear of failure Steve Almond is a clever writer who decides to explore America s dying Mom and Pop candy industry in order to distract himself from his own depressing life.
So basically this book is the literary version of binge eating when you re sad It s pretty great, laugh out loud funny at times while also being terribly somber As you will learn, in the early 1900s, the candy bar had its heyday Across America thousands of provincial factories were pumping out regional candy bars Years pass, a couple of world wars break out, and the zany, homegrown candy industry, like so many other industries, sublimates into three international conglomerates Mars, Hershey s, and Nestl Grandma and Grandpa s favorite concoctions disappear to be replaced by national brands like Snickers, Three Musketeers, and the ubiquitous Hershey s Milk Chocolate Bar It s a sad story but not very original Local stores are swallowed up everyday by corporations But Almond recognizes that candy is special We have a intimate relationship to candy than most products A favorite candy bar is equivalent to Proust s madeleine the precise crunch of the chocolate between your teeth can recall a whole barrelful of hazy childhood memories Maybe your mom always bought you a certain treat if you were good during grocery shopping or maybe your grandparents could always be depended on having a certain chocolate goodie in a bowl on their kitchen table when you came to visit Candy is simply about pleasure So candy memories are tight little balls of happiness mixed with nostalgia and thus, according to Almond, worth preserving And he s right Almond embarks on an American roadtrip stopping at small, family owned candy factories that have somehow managed to stay in business and continue serving their regional delicacies that have charmed for generations It s fascinating to see candy production on a small scale it s devastating to realize how many of these century old family businesses won t see the other side of this century it s salivating to read pages and pages about nougats, taffies, marshmallows, chocolates, nuts, and caramels Candyfreak is a book for freaks anyone desperately obsessed with anything, candy or not, will recognize herself in Almond s effusive romp through America s candy factories Just be careful You may find yourself on a boutique chocolatier s website, considering whether the 20 price tag plus shipping for a box of only four chocolate bars is a good deal After reading Almond s ecstatic descriptions of these sugary delicacies, you will become another full blown candyfreak.
My review, 3.
0 First I would like to quote MC Pee Pants I want candy, bubblegum and taffy Skip to the sweet shop with my girlfriend, Sandy Got my pennies saved so I m a sugar daddy I m her Hume Cronyn, she my Jessica Tandy.
I want candy I need candy, any kind will do Don t care if it s nutritious or FDA approved.
It s gonna make me spaz like bobcats on booze etc, as the song stops being about candy.
The cover blurb calls the author the Dave Eggers of food writing which seems not only wrong but a little mean He comes off like the Anthony Bourdain of candy writing This book is terribly enjoyable, and yes, it made me go buy candy, although Safeway s candy selection is pretty pathetic Walgreen s at least provided me with Reese s Elvis themed peanut butter and banana cups um, what the hell The best parts about the book, though, apart from laughing out loud at some of Almond s turns of phrase, were the moments when he evoked my own memories of lost childhood freak moments I can still recall the smell of Coulson s Pharmacy in Lewiston and the comics arrayed on a low shelf by the entrance The sounds of the old now gone video arcades of the early 80 s The panoply of GI Joe figures at the local Gold Circle and the quest to track down each one, well before the days of thirtysomething toy collectors These are the things that shaped my life, just like candy shaped Almond s life These things are golden, never to return, always cherished.
I laughed SO HARD during the first half of this book Super interesting story of the small guys in the candy biz and where they ve mostly all gone, gobbled up by the big guys I wanted to search out some of the old school candy bars, and did find some, though it wasn t easy Made me think back to my tiny hometown and the local chocolate shop that was on Main Street, at the base of West Hill Where did they go I have a vague memory of going there on a class field trip at some point in elementary school while they were in the midst of making thousands of chocolate creations for Easter Where have all those little businesses gone Sad.
From the book, page sixteen Every now and then, I ll run into someone who claims not to like chocolate or other sweets, and while we live in a country where everyone has the right to eat what they want, I want to say for the record that I don t trust these people, that I think something is wrong with them, and that they re probably this must be said total duds in bed.
Candyfreak provides way too much candy metaphor fodder for the weak hearted reviewer I don t know I can resist saying things like the writing pulses as if Almond of course, Almond were a five year old on a sugar high or the vivid descriptions of the nuances of biting into different candy bars sent me running to the candy store entirely true, by the way So I will not resist I ll surrender to the flow like a log of caramel on the conveyer belt through the chocolate enrobing machine.
This book functions both as tribute to the small businessman and candyfetish pornography Almond s travels lead him through the factories of one building companies struggling to survive in the shadow of the candy world s big three Nestle, Hershey, Mars He chronicles a fading world of beautiful machines churning out regional candy bars that maybe, just maybe, you ll find on the less desirable candy rack real estate if you re lucky but not in mainstream locations or near eye level because the company owners can t shell out the tens of thousands of dollars necessary to place their products in the big stores The spirit of invention lives in these factory owners as well when they talk about product development they sound insane, honestly, in the best way possible, as if they can taste the new candy before they produce the first sample.
Almond stumbles a little when he stereotypes small town living sir, I defy you to get on a Greyhound bus anywhere, even in your precious Boston, and find anything different than you describe It s not like the Bostonians on Greyhound are wearing cardigans and reading Kant and he slips into I m a successful author but pity my pathetic personal life territory often than he should Still, reading Candyfreak is flat out fun, the kind of experience that raises your pulse a little when you pick up the book, like you re about to do something you want to do after a long day of the opposite Almond s descriptive powers and childlike passion carry the day And candy bars that look like potatoes sound cool I want one right now.
Epilogue I would say I d read Almond, but I realized after I read Candyfreak that I had once picked up his Not That You Asked at the library and put it back after reading the first few pages So, in full disclosure, the jury s still out on Almond the author, but Candyfreak pop rocks.
Candyfreak is the most delightful book about candy that also happens to record the author s deteriorating mental health What a combination Goo Goo Clusters, Snickers, Valomilks, and Big Hunk bars all alongside ample doses of liberal guilt, childhood neglect, failure to commit emotionally in relationships, and a dooming fear of failure Steve Almond is a clever writer who decides to explore America s dying Mom and Pop candy industry in order to distract himself from his own depressing life.
So basically this book is the literary version of binge eating when you re sad It s pretty great, laugh out loud funny at times while also being terribly somber As you will learn, in the early 1900s, the candy bar had its heyday Across America thousands of provincial factories were pumping out regional candy bars Years pass, a couple of world wars break out, and the zany, homegrown candy industry, like so many other industries, sublimates into three international conglomerates Mars, Hershey s, and Nestl Grandma and Grandpa s favorite concoctions disappear to be replaced by national brands like Snickers, Three Musketeers, and the ubiquitous Hershey s Milk Chocolate Bar It s a sad story but not very original Local stores are swallowed up everyday by corporations But Almond recognizes that candy is special We have a intimate relationship to candy than most products A favorite candy bar is equivalent to Proust s madeleine the precise crunch of the chocolate between your teeth can recall a whole barrelful of hazy childhood memories Maybe your mom always bought you a certain treat if you were good during grocery shopping or maybe your grandparents could always be depended on having a certain chocolate goodie in a bowl on their kitchen table when you came to visit Candy is simply about pleasure So candy memories are tight little balls of happiness mixed with nostalgia and thus, according to Almond, worth preserving And he s right Almond embarks on an American roadtrip stopping at small, family owned candy factories that have somehow managed to stay in business and continue serving their regional delicacies that have charmed for generations It s fascinating to see candy production on a small scale it s devastating to realize how many of these century old family businesses won t see the other side of this century it s salivating to read pages and pages about nougats, taffies, marshmallows, chocolates, nuts, and caramels Candyfreak is a book for freaks anyone desperately obsessed with anything, candy or not, will recognize herself in Almond s effusive romp through America s candy factories Just be careful You may find yourself on a boutique chocolatier s website, considering whether the 20 price tag plus shipping for a box of only four chocolate bars is a good deal After reading Almond s ecstatic descriptions of these sugary delicacies, you will become another full blown candyfreak.
My review, 3.
0 First I would like to quote MC Pee Pants I want candy, bubblegum and taffy Skip to the sweet shop with my girlfriend, Sandy Got my pennies saved so I m a sugar daddy I m her Hume Cronyn, she my Jessica Tandy.
I want candy I need candy, any kind will do Don t care if it s nutritious or FDA approved.
It s gonna make me spaz like bobcats on booze etc, as the song stops being about candy.
The cover blurb calls the author the Dave Eggers of food writing which seems not only wrong but a little mean He comes off like the Anthony Bourdain of candy writing This book is terribly enjoyable, and yes, it made me go buy candy, although Safeway s candy selection is pretty pathetic Walgreen s at least provided me with Reese s Elvis themed peanut butter and banana cups um, what the hell The best parts about the book, though, apart from laughing out loud at some of Almond s turns of phrase, were the moments when he evoked my own memories of lost childhood freak moments I can still recall the smell of Coulson s Pharmacy in Lewiston and the comics arrayed on a low shelf by the entrance The sounds of the old now gone video arcades of the early 80 s The panoply of GI Joe figures at the local Gold Circle and the quest to track down each one, well before the days of thirtysomething toy collectors These are the things that shaped my life, just like candy shaped Almond s life These things are golden, never to return, always cherished.
I laughed SO HARD during the first half of this book Super interesting story of the small guys in the candy biz and where they ve mostly all gone, gobbled up by the big guys I wanted to search out some of the old school candy bars, and did find some, though it wasn t easy Made me think back to my tiny hometown and the local chocolate shop that was on Main Street, at the base of West Hill Where did they go I have a vague memory of going there on a class field trip at some point in elementary school while they were in the midst of making thousands of chocolate creations for Easter Where have all those little businesses gone Sad.
Before reading this book, I had never heard of Valomilk candy bars Now I must have one, thanks to the description by author Steve Almond But here, inside my mouth, it was finally dawning on me the way in which the airy tones of vanilla infused the chocolate and lent the heavy tang of cocoa a sense of buoyancy The chocolate in the Valomilk was transcendent I would go so far as to call it velvety.
The process to make the Valomilk is itself, antiquated In a day and age when candy is mass produced with little flavour and an obsession with corn syrup, the Valomilk stands alone Pure cane sugar is used, rather than beet sugar Bourbon vanilla, grown exclusively on Madagascar, is used instead of artificial vanilla, as with other products The marshmallow is hand made with pan dried egg whites instead of spray dried egg whites Everything is then mixed, by hand, into a snow white meringue The chocolate itself is tempered by hand This is almost unthinkably impractical the rough equivalent of GM casting their bolts by hand.
By handWhen did the devil come When first attack Excuse me, John Betjeman, for using your poetry to describe the decline of the candy bar, but it is appropriate In the United States, there used to be THOUSANDS of candy concoctions Now, there are just a few, almost all owned by the Big Four of Nestle, Hershey, Mars, and Mondelez As with any product that can be mass produced, the quality is so yucky that I haven t eaten a candy bar in a long timeThe years fall off and find me walking back When you grow up in an immigrant family that doesn t have much surplus money, the attainment of a candy bar is something to behold The 25 extra yes, I m dating myself at the end of a long hard working summer month could be spent on a comic book, a soda such luxury , or a piece of candy What to do, how to choose I remember candy bars being bigger and tasting better Like real chocolate By the time I hit my teens, the bars had shrunk and the taste had changed Then Big Chocolate took over, dominating the checkout stands and candy aisles If a small candy company wants to get their product into a grocer, they must cough up minimal slotting fees of 20,000 or Throw in Wal Mart and its dominance of America, where only mass produced items can make it to a consumer s hands, and one has the almost complete obliteration of old style candy.
There s , such as the company that still makes Idaho Spuds and the splendiferous Owyhee Butter Toffee Let me say this about Owyhee Butter Toffee if you are one of those people who views butter as the high point of western culinary achievement, as I do, track down some of this stuff It was like sucking on a sugar cube saut ed in butter, only much smoother.
As the author notes, some of the straggling regional candymakers are still known to their small fan bases, but for the rest of us, these are only found in souvenir shops when travelling the backroads I still prefer See s Candy to all others, as it was what every San Franciscan craved, but now I am going to check some of the retro candy onliners to see what they carry and to try some taste tests Steve Almond made this a very enjoyable read, not least because we both dislike coconut in candy His passion for his childhood love comes through as does his worry that the big corporations aren t just ruining our physical environment but also our environment of memories Support your local candymakerWhen did the devil come When first attack Book Season Year Round where s Willy Wonka when you need him Steve Almond is deep passion veiled as giddy enthusiasm So much of his writing just makes you want to high five the world and sceam F yeah If you re not careful you might lose your self in the enjoyment of it all and begin to take for granted his amazing ability to lift up the ordinary and point it out in a way that has you remembering your own forgotten sensations images relationships As an educator I am always begging pleading admonishing my collegues to please give our students opportunities to think deeper I can t help but to think that in general Steve Almond makes you me feel deeper And he frequently does that while making me laugh.
I love you so much Steve Almond.
So that s Steve Almond in general, this is Steve Almond in regards to Candy Freak ha ha ha ha.
sigh.
oh yeah.
ha ha ha ha.
me too.
sigh.
little tear swell.
I remember those.
huh I would never admit that.
ha ha ha ha ha ha haoh, Steve why you gotta be married is your twin brother married.
ha ha ha ha ha hammmmm I wish I had one of those right now.
ha ha ha ha hayes those too, me too, I KNOW ha ha ha ha hasigh A Self Professed Candyfreak, Steve Almond Set Out In Search Of A Much Loved Candy From His Childhood And Found Himself On A Tour Of The Small Candy Companies That Are Persevering In A Marketplace Where Big Corporations Dominate From The Twin Bing To The Idaho Spud, The Valomilk To The Abba Zaba, And Discontinued Bars Such As The Caravelle, Marathon, And Choco Lite, Almond Uncovers A Trove Of Singular Candy Bars Made By Unsung Heroes Working In Old Fashioned Factories To Produce Something They Love And In True Candyfreak Fashion, Almond Lusciously Describes The Rich Tastes That He Has Loved Since Childhood And Continues To Crave Today Steve Almond Has Written A Comic But Ultimately Bittersweet Story Of How He Grew Up On Candy And How, For Better And Worse, The Candy Industry Has Grown Up, Too Candyfreak Is The Delicious Story Of One Man S Lifelong Obsession With Candy And His Quest To Discover Its Origins In America There are definite five star sections within this book The author travels around the U.
S to visit a number independent candy manufacturers and tell their stories These are great parts It is a real eye opener to hear that in the early 20th century there were over 6000 American candy companies and now there are only 150 or so The rise of the Big Three of Nestle, Hershey and Mars has made it nearly impossible for any other manufacturers to get their products into stores Reading these parts of the book filled me with an urge to buy local , as much as that is possible with candy, and support a dying tradition.
My problems with Candyfreak are the author s autobiographical interludes These are straight one star confessions of how awful his life has been professor at BYU boo hoo and how he has used candy to fill other gaps in his life The level of self pity in these sections is unbelievable And if that wouldn t be enough, the author then treads upon the goodwill of several companies he visits by stealing samples and, in one unbelievable passage, pretending he is a representative of one company so that he can get into a food fair illicitly All of these are presented in a boastful tone Grow up, Mr Almond.
If Steve Almond is a candyfreak, then I m a candywhore I ll take it where I can get it and I m not half as discriminating about its origins.
That said, you can t help but laugh outright at the sugar fanaticism of a man who gets faint with joy witnessing the birth of chocolate bunnies and is rendered speechless at the thoughtless waste of even one piece of chocolate, recalling, I stood there in a cloud of disillusionmentI m someone who has been known to eat the pieces of candy found underneath my couch Goaded by the disappearance of his adored Caravelle bar, Almond yes, he talks about the name tours independent candy companies read anyone other than Mars, Nestle, or Hershey to, chronicle their struggles for survival in this wicked age of homogeneity, and, not incidentally, to load up on free candy The best laughs are all in the first five chapters I giggled, chuckled and guffawed my way through the author s confessions of freak like candy hoarding, reveling in the kind of sweet self effacing wit only a candy junkie could muster.
From there, it s mostly an historical tour of the four candy companies he visited, fascinating and richly detailed, yet interspersed with progressively disturbing moments of personal crisis At one point the author himself notes, I realize that I am over sharing, a phrase that, in a work of humor especially, should be immediately followed by the words, so I ll quit while I m ahead No such luck From that point on, we are treated to sad reflections on how one may ineffectively attempt to use candy to fill the void created by emotionally unavailable parents, an alarming, overly personal description of penile hypochondria, and finally, how Dubya, terrorists, college hockey players and Reaganomics are to blame for everything from airport security to the author s inability to give up pot and find love I found the experience much like seeing a house guest naked you don t know whether to avert your eyes and mumble an apology or pretend it s hilarious and hope he laughs along.
The erratic emotional pitch of the book can be summed up by Almond s description of a candy orgy during a San Francisco layover A brief jolt of good humorfollowed by a plunge into hypoglycemic grumpiness If this book were a candy bar, it would start with a light, crispy, sweetness, get sort of sticky and tasteless in the middle, and end heavily with an artificial, saccharine jolt, leaving the reader with a nasty aftertaste and the vague notion that he should have quit after the first bite.
Perhaps if Almond has just stuck to candy, the last biteer, page would have been as good as the first.
A funny informative look into the history workings of the candy business Very enjoyable, like a piece of candy.


Steve Almond is deep passion veiled as giddy enthusiasm So much of his writing just makes you want to high five the world and sceam F yeah If you re not careful you might lose your self in the enjoyment of it all and begin to take for granted his amazing ability to lift up the ordinary and point it out in a way that has you remembering your own forgotten sensations images relationships As an educator I am always begging pleading admonishing my collegues to please give our students opportunities to think deeper I can t help but to think that in general Steve Almond makes you me feel deeper And he frequently does that while making me laugh.
I love you so much Steve Almond.
So that s Steve Almond in general, this is Steve Almond in regards to Candy Freak ha ha ha ha.
sigh.
oh yeah.
ha ha ha ha.
me too.
sigh.
little tear swell.
I remember those.
huh I would never admit that.
ha ha ha ha ha ha haoh, Steve why you gotta be married is your twin brother married.
ha ha ha ha ha hammmmm I wish I had one of those right now.
ha ha ha ha hayes those too, me too, I KNOW ha ha ha ha hasigh Before reading this book, I had never heard of Valomilk candy bars Now I must have one, thanks to the description by author Steve Almond But here, inside my mouth, it was finally dawning on me the way in which the airy tones of vanilla infused the chocolate and lent the heavy tang of cocoa a sense of buoyancy The chocolate in the Valomilk was transcendent I would go so far as to call it velvety.
The process to make the Valomilk is itself, antiquated In a day and age when candy is mass produced with little flavour and an obsession with corn syrup, the Valomilk stands alone Pure cane sugar is used, rather than beet sugar Bourbon vanilla, grown exclusively on Madagascar, is used instead of artificial vanilla, as with other products The marshmallow is hand made with pan dried egg whites instead of spray dried egg whites Everything is then mixed, by hand, into a snow white meringue The chocolate itself is tempered by hand This is almost unthinkably impractical the rough equivalent of GM casting their bolts by hand.
By handWhen did the devil come When first attack Excuse me, John Betjeman, for using your poetry to describe the decline of the candy bar, but it is appropriate In the United States, there used to be THOUSANDS of candy concoctions Now, there are just a few, almost all owned by the Big Four of Nestle, Hershey, Mars, and Mondelez As with any product that can be mass produced, the quality is so yucky that I haven t eaten a candy bar in a long timeThe years fall off and find me walking back When you grow up in an immigrant family that doesn t have much surplus money, the attainment of a candy bar is something to behold The 25 extra yes, I m dating myself at the end of a long hard working summer month could be spent on a comic book, a soda such luxury , or a piece of candy What to do, how to choose I remember candy bars being bigger and tasting better Like real chocolate By the time I hit my teens, the bars had shrunk and the taste had changed Then Big Chocolate took over, dominating the checkout stands and candy aisles If a small candy company wants to get their product into a grocer, they must cough up minimal slotting fees of 20,000 or Throw in Wal Mart and its dominance of America, where only mass produced items can make it to a consumer s hands, and one has the almost complete obliteration of old style candy.
There s , such as the company that still makes Idaho Spuds and the splendiferous Owyhee Butter Toffee Let me say this about Owyhee Butter Toffee if you are one of those people who views butter as the high point of western culinary achievement, as I do, track down some of this stuff It was like sucking on a sugar cube saut ed in butter, only much smoother.
As the author notes, some of the straggling regional candymakers are still known to their small fan bases, but for the rest of us, these are only found in souvenir shops when travelling the backroads I still prefer See s Candy to all others, as it was what every San Franciscan craved, but now I am going to check some of the retro candy onliners to see what they carry and to try some taste tests Steve Almond made this a very enjoyable read, not least because we both dislike coconut in candy His passion for his childhood love comes through as does his worry that the big corporations aren t just ruining our physical environment but also our environment of memories Support your local candymakerWhen did the devil come When first attack Book Season Year Round where s Willy Wonka when you need him There are definite five star sections within this book The author travels around the U.
S to visit a number independent candy manufacturers and tell their stories These are great parts It is a real eye opener to hear that in the early 20th century there were over 6000 American candy companies and now there are only 150 or so The rise of the Big Three of Nestle, Hershey and Mars has made it nearly impossible for any other manufacturers to get their products into stores Reading these parts of the book filled me with an urge to buy local , as much as that is possible with candy, and support a dying tradition.
My problems with Candyfreak are the author s autobiographical interludes These are straight one star confessions of how awful his life has been professor at BYU boo hoo and how he has used candy to fill other gaps in his life The level of self pity in these sections is unbelievable And if that wouldn t be enough, the author then treads upon the goodwill of several companies he visits by stealing samples and, in one unbelievable passage, pretending he is a representative of one company so that he can get into a food fair illicitly All of these are presented in a boastful tone Grow up, Mr Almond.
If Steve Almond is a candyfreak, then I m a candywhore I ll take it where I can get it and I m not half as discriminating about its origins.
That said, you can t help but laugh outright at the sugar fanaticism of a man who gets faint with joy witnessing the birth of chocolate bunnies and is rendered speechless at the thoughtless waste of even one piece of chocolate, recalling, I stood there in a cloud of disillusionmentI m someone who has been known to eat the pieces of candy found underneath my couch Goaded by the disappearance of his adored Caravelle bar, Almond yes, he talks about the name tours independent candy companies read anyone other than Mars, Nestle, or Hershey to, chronicle their struggles for survival in this wicked age of homogeneity, and, not incidentally, to load up on free candy The best laughs are all in the first five chapters I giggled, chuckled and guffawed my way through the author s confessions of freak like candy hoarding, reveling in the kind of sweet self effacing wit only a candy junkie could muster.
From there, it s mostly an historical tour of the four candy companies he visited, fascinating and richly detailed, yet interspersed with progressively disturbing moments of personal crisis At one point the author himself notes, I realize that I am over sharing, a phrase that, in a work of humor especially, should be immediately followed by the words, so I ll quit while I m ahead No such luck From that point on, we are treated to sad reflections on how one may ineffectively attempt to use candy to fill the void created by emotionally unavailable parents, an alarming, overly personal description of penile hypochondria, and finally, how Dubya, terrorists, college hockey players and Reaganomics are to blame for everything from airport security to the author s inability to give up pot and find love I found the experience much like seeing a house guest naked you don t know whether to avert your eyes and mumble an apology or pretend it s hilarious and hope he laughs along.
The erratic emotional pitch of the book can be summed up by Almond s description of a candy orgy during a San Francisco layover A brief jolt of good humorfollowed by a plunge into hypoglycemic grumpiness If this book were a candy bar, it would start with a light, crispy, sweetness, get sort of sticky and tasteless in the middle, and end heavily with an artificial, saccharine jolt, leaving the reader with a nasty aftertaste and the vague notion that he should have quit after the first bite.
Perhaps if Almond has just stuck to candy, the last biteer, page would have been as good as the first.
A funny informative look into the history workings of the candy business Very enjoyable, like a piece of candy.