I loved this book! It's a combination of the history of candy bars, the background for the author's addiction to candy, and the author touring candy factories. Sometimes witty, sometimes poignant, always interesting. I've made several people read it, and they've all loved it.
A light fun quick read; Steve Almond makes a most wonderful candy sleuth! If you love chocolate (no, wait, make that LOVE chocolate) then you'll most likely enjoy this book. Almonds breezy, good-natured, kind-hearted look at our disappearing regional candies makes for fun reading. I'd write more but I'm off to see if I can acquire at least a few of the candy bars he wrote about ... specifically, Valomilk! Happy reading!
It never occurred to me that a book about candy could be darkly written, but this one was a bit dark for my taste. It seems these days that anyone who has a book inside them wanting to be written also has some neuroses and personal hangups that are going to come out, no matter what the topic is. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading about the candy and Steve Almond's visits to the factories and commentary on the people he meets. However, I could have done without some of his navel gazing. Ah well, I guess it's his book after all...
A personal journey, filled with humor and the love of candy. Almond finds out why his favorite childhood candies are no longer made in mass quantities. If you grew up in the golden age of confectionary, where Hershey, Nestle, and Mars weren't considered the "Big Three", this book will be very entertaining and comforting to you.
Amy Z. (AEZ) reviewed Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America on
Helpful Score: 3
Delicious and Tasty! I love candy, but reading this book gave me a large appreciation for the "little guys" in the gigantic world of Candy. It definitely made me crave a piece of chocolate here and there, but finding these candy treasures, has become my passion. Valomilks are available at Cracker Barrel!
I loved this book. Anyone over the age of, oh, 40 will probably enjoy his research and explanations of the various candies, especially the stuff you just don't seem to see anymore. Steve Almond (Yes, Almond!) explains the business of regionally-offered goodies, the confectionaries that I now miss because my family moved from one area of the country to another.
My parents were in the candy-making business (a small, mall franchise) for many years so the book appealed to me on all kinds of levels, from candymaker to consumer.
The story was interesting (although I could've lived without digressions relating to the author's own political beliefs), and thoroughly covered. I listened to the audio, and can't shake the feeling that the narrator's tone makes the author seem somewhat obnoxious. To be honest, I'd rather have read the print version.
ReadingMonster reviewed Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America on
Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating and funny throughout - loaded with historic trivia - a nostalgic look at the candy industry in America since its infancy... coupled with a hilarious self-deprecating quasi-memoir of the author's obsession with sweets. I enjoyed this book - I think I gained weight just reading it. Yum!
A treat, as its name implies. One man searches for America's remaining independent candy makers as the big three (Hershey, Mars, Nestle) take over check-out shelves everywhere. Steve Almond's love of candy guides the book through interesting visits to the makers of candy bars like the Twin Bing, the Idaho Spud, GooGoos and Valomilk. The writing is infused with a definite political flavor -- the overtaking of the small and entirely likable little guys by the corporate giants, who, Almond contends, put out an inferior product. Mr. Almond does a lot of reflecting about candy in general, including his likes (many) and dislikes (few.) Fun non-fiction, and timeless.
If you're a Food Network lover, a candyholic, a baker, or otherwise love foods with sugar, you will find this fascinating. I am none of those things, yet I still found this fascinating! The business of candy is not only delicious, it's a study in mass marketing and automation and the power of brands.
This was a fun audiobook read. While it's not a book I would have added to my overstuff shelf as a paperback, I'm glad I got this via PaperBackSwap on audiobook.
The narrator is a little cheesy, but the author sounds like a cheesy kind of guy, so it's a decent fit. Some parts are pretty hard to fathom, but I have no doubt he's that into candy.
While it was silly and light-hearted for most of it, there was two parts that weren't quite as light-hearted. One I just didn't like and that was his political rant. I'd say there was 1.5 periods of political rants and it just didn't really fit with the book. I feel like it was meant to show where society is at the time, that it's that society that makes it hard for smaller candy companies, but it just sounded like him ranting about Republicans.
The other part that was a bit more heavy-hearted was the recurrent theme that old candy bars are gone, viewed only in our memory, because they just can't compete with the 'big three' when it comes to grocery slotting fees, etc. While some are making a valiant effort and will live one, some aren't and won't.
Needless to say, it got me curious about some of the candy bars I've seen and never purchased. It made me want to make a more concerted effort to support the mom and pop candy shops -- so when I ran an errand to a smaller store today I bought the only non-major-candy bar I could find -- the Idaho Spud! And it was . . . well, you'll just have to read all about it!
This book is for the chocolate lover in all of us. It might be dangerous to read this book if you are on a diet. I dare you to get through the first chapter without reaching for just one tiny piece of candy!