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Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America

door Steve Almond

LedenBesprekingenPopulariteitGemiddelde beoordelingAanhalingen
1,2076012,104 (3.77)61
Perhaps you remember The Marathon, Oompahs, Bit-O-Choc, or Kit Kat Dark. Where did they go? Driven by his obsession, stubborn idealism, and the promise of free candy, self-confessed candyfreak Steve Almond takes off on a quest to discover candy's origins in America, to explore little companies that continue to get by on pluck and perseverance, and to witness the glorious excess of candy manufacturing. Part candy porn, part candy polemic, part social history, part confession, Candyfreak explores the role candy plays in our lives as both source of pleasure and escape from pain. By turns ecstatic, comic, and bittersweet, Candyfreak is the story of how Steve Almond grew up on candy--and how, for better and worse, candy has grown up too.… (meer)
  1. 10
    Het fastfoodparadijs een onthullende kijk op Amerika en de fastfoodindustrie door Eric Schlosser (Alliebadger)
    Alliebadger: Both of these are similar in that they explore the seedy underbelly of their respective food industries: candy and fast food. They are both witty and informative (and they definitely make you want to eat something).
  2. 00
    The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars door Joël Glenn Brenner (caitlinlizzy)
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nonfiction/playaway audio version. narration was fine but I didn't find the subject matter all that interesting. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
The author's lifelong sweet tooth brings him on a cross-country search for regional, specialty candymakers who are still battling to stay in business against the "Big Three": Mars, Hershey, and Nestlé. As author and journalist Joël Glenn Brenner said, "The big guys gobble up the little guys or drive them out of business" (p. 64-65).

The people at the helm of the smaller companies play two roles: "Guardian of the Past" and "Forward-Thinking Business Owner" (170). But Almond himself is mainly concerned with the candy itself: specific textures and flavors and ingredient combinations, special processes and even the fonts on the wrappers. He repeatedly circles back to the link between candy and nostalgia, and sugar as a cure for loneliness.

These two storylines may sound depressing, but in fact this is a very entertaining book for those with a sweet tooth! See also: The Candymakers by Wendy Mass (MG fiction), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Roald Dahl (MG fiction), Love Is A Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield (adult memoir).

Quotes

Most forms of rage, after all, are only sloppy cloaks for grief. (198) ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 9, 2021 |
Remarkably readable and poignant. ( )
  captainsunbeam | Oct 16, 2020 |
Almond reports on his quest to tour small business candy factories and interview their owners while at the same time chronicling his own life-long obsession with candy. So it's part microhistory and part autobiography, as he narrates his childhood love of chocolate bars, his struggles with depression, and his reactions to the political happenings concurrent with his candy-tour travels.
I have mixed feelings about this one. I loved the history of candy in America and the descriptions of the factories and how the candies are made. I also really enjoyed Almond's self-deprecating and sometimes downright goofy sense of humor. What didn't work so well for me was the way he approached the topic of his own bouts of depression, his childhood (which he sometimes seems to describe as awful and lonely and at others as really not...), and his current loneliness, which he chalks up to being bad at relationships. He tries to tie the personal stuff to the candy stuff with the notion that candy was and is his one source of comfort and happiness, but the link seems awkward and forced in places; it feels like this should be two separate books, mostly because there is an inconsistency not only in the topics but in the tone as well. When he slides into talk of his own misery, the goofiness slides off the self-deprecation and everything gets...awkward. ( )
  electrascaife | Apr 29, 2020 |
I thought I might be getting Godiva but got cheap chocolate instead. Candy lover and perhaps aptly named Steve Almond takes the reader on a journey about candy: the history of candy's rise in the US, how it's made, what he likes and why he loves candy so. It sounds like an awesome story, right?
 
Wrong. The book is a slap-dash mix of childhood reminiscing, descriptions of how candies are made (right down to what goes on in factories), what happens when candies disappear and why candies are so popular. He travels around the US and talks to various candy people (from PR people to the person behind candydirect.com to people who are "chocolate engineers).
 
Unfortunately the book can't decide what it wants to be: his personal memoirs about his love for candy or a look inside the candy industry. Some of his stories about why he enjoys candy and its emotional connections for him (particularly the memories of his father) are nice and help set the page. But we occasionally get treated to occasionally really strange off-topic digressions from politics to the last time he meets his grandfather (who dies sometime during the creating of this book). If Almond had simply stuck with ONE topic it would have been so much better.
 
I also came across a line that made me very uncomfortable. He meets yet another employee at another candy manufacturing facility and Almond tastes the candy sample. The employee explains what it is and offers Almond another. He writes he wanted to say "Take me home and love me long time, GI."
 
Almond writes that it was the post WW is when candy became very popular in the US, and were often associated with returning soldiers. But the employee offered the author a piece of candy standing in the middle of a factory during a visit, not in the aftermath of a war. I may be reading too much into that single line, but like much of the book it really doesn't fit in with the rest of the text and came across as creepy.
 
I haven't read too much about this particular industry, and the author does mention a now out-of-print book: "The Emperors of Chocolate." I suspect that tome will be much better than this. Would not recommend it unless you're a little older and may remember some of the candies he mentions. Browse at the library first. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
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See, only a chocolate Jesus will satisfy my soul. ~ Tom Waits
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To Don Ricci Almond, a freak of unparalleled wisdom and sweetness. I love you, Pop.
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I. The author has eaten a piece of candy every single day of his entire life.

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Wikipedia in het Engels (2)

Perhaps you remember The Marathon, Oompahs, Bit-O-Choc, or Kit Kat Dark. Where did they go? Driven by his obsession, stubborn idealism, and the promise of free candy, self-confessed candyfreak Steve Almond takes off on a quest to discover candy's origins in America, to explore little companies that continue to get by on pluck and perseverance, and to witness the glorious excess of candy manufacturing. Part candy porn, part candy polemic, part social history, part confession, Candyfreak explores the role candy plays in our lives as both source of pleasure and escape from pain. By turns ecstatic, comic, and bittersweet, Candyfreak is the story of how Steve Almond grew up on candy--and how, for better and worse, candy has grown up too.

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