We are going to take a sharp turn in terms of what we are going to read this month. It is very different from The School of Essential Ingredients and Eating Heaven. We hope you enjoy the variety. I think Candy Freak will inspire a lot of interesting controversial talk.
Below is a little of history about Steve Almond from his website (it is also the prologue in the book). If you have spare minute I would wander over to his web page and laugh at the originality of this author. http://www.stevenalmond.com/candyfreak.html
The author has between three and seven pounds of candy in his house at all times.
Perhaps you think I am exaggerating for effect.
I am not exaggerating for effect.
Here is a catalogue of all the candy in my apartment as of right now, 3:21 pm, October 6, 2003:
- 2 lbs miniature Clark Bars
- 1.5 lbs dark chocolate-covered mint patties
- 24 bite-size peanut butter cups
- 1 lb Tootsie Roll Midgets
- Four ounces of Altoids-like cinnamon discs
- Six ounces cherry-flavored jellies (think budget Jujy Fruits)
- A single gold-foiled milk chocolate ball with mysterious butter truffle-type filling
- Two squares of Valrhona semi-sweet chocolate (on my bedside table)
- Three pieces Fleer bubblegum
I am not counting the fourteen boxes of Kit Kat Limited Edition Dark, which I have stored in an undisclosed warehouse location, nor whatever candy I might have stashed, squirrel-like, in obscure drawers.
My main supplier is the Candy Shoppe, a seconds outlet located on the ground floor of the Haviland Chocolate factory in Cambridge. The Shoppe is run by an elderly Chinese woman whom I've been wooing ardently for the past two years. We've gotten to the point where she's willing to cut open the box of mint patties I bring to the counter to make sure the batch I'm buying has the soft kind of filling I favor. She gives me freebies and glances at me occasionally in a squinting manner that combines reluctant affection with a deep, abiding pity.
I am not blind to the hypocrisy of my conduct, nor to the slightly pathetic aspects of my freakdom. I am, after all, in my mid-thirties, suffering from male pattern balding and lower-back pain. I am not exactly the target demographic. What's more, my political orientation is somewhere to the left of Christ, such that I find most of American culture greedy and heedless, most especially our blithe and relentless pigging of the world's resources. I have a hard time defending the production of candy, given that it is basically crack for children and makes them dependent in unwholesome ways and given that much of our citizenry is bordering on obesity (just about what we deserve) and given that most of the folks who grow our sugar and cocoa are part of an indentured Third World workforce who earn enough, per annum, to buy maybe a Snickers bar, and given that the giants of the candy industry are, even as I write this, doing everything in their considerable power to establish freak hegemony over what they call "developing markets," meaning hooking the children of Moscow and Beijing and Nairobi on their dastardly confections.
I hope this inspires you to open Candy Freak and read away!