Picks and Pans Review: Candyfreak

updated 05/03/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/03/2004 01:00AM

By Steve Almond

CRITIC'S CHOICE

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It's hard not to resent Almond: He's hysterically funny, he can consume vast amounts of candy without gaining an ounce, and he designed a research ? project that allowed him to score free chocolate. Brilliant! Acreative-writing teacher at Boston College, Almond takes an intimate look at the candy industry, specifically the regional manufacturers whose struggle to compete with the Big Three (Hershey, Mars and Nestlé) makes David vs. Goliath look like some friendly joshing by the watercooler. Besides eating, Almond's research involved interviewing professionals like a historian with 20,000 alphabetized candy wrappers and making a cross- country tour of candy factories. His accounts of watching equipment such as the nut applicator, the continuous cycle starch mogul and the coconut depositor play their parts in Goo-Goo Clusters and other treats are rendered in the sort of lusty vocabulary used in romance novels Not only is Candyfreak a delicious read it has neither calories nor carbs.

NONFICTION

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