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My Reviews of Books on Candy

When I started posting scans of candy wrappers, I started looking for books about candy. I'm usually like that...get a hobby and go all out trying to find out as much as I can about the subject. So I thought it would be neat to read books about candy, about people who love candy, about candy companies, and so on. And then I thought I would share my thoughts about those books on the web site. So here they are. If you want to share your comments with me or recommend a book, let me know by clicking here. Last updated 3/30/14.

Quicklinks to reviews on this page (in alphabetical order):

Candy and Me (A Love Story) by Hilary Liftin
 
Candyfreak by Steven Almond
 
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
 
The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars

 


Candyfreak by Steven Almond

The first book about candy that I read was "Candyfreak" by Steven Almond. I left a review of this book on the comments page, so I just copied it here. Everybody who loves chocolate should read this book. If you can't find it in your local bookstore, you can get it from Amazon by clicking on the link below.

The book is part candy bar history, as Steve takes us back to Milton Hershey's days and how Hershey built up his company. You'll learn why the larger stores sell almost nothing but candy from "The Big 3" and how hard it is for a small candy company to get into the big stores. But there's so much more. Steve takes a look inside himself to see why he is so fascinated with candy as he tours several small candy companies. He shows us glimpses of his childhood candy addiction, including when he would dump all his candy on his bed and stare and stack it like Scrooge McDuck with his gold coins (I did that too!). There's also several references to Steve wondering if his candy addiction has something to do with his relative bad luck with women as far as long term relationships.

At any rate, I really liked this book. And if you love candy, you should like it too. Oh, and my glowing recommendation has nothing to do with the fact that my web site is listed in the back of the book. For an excerpt, click here.

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The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars by Joel Glenn Brenner

I have also finished "The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars" by Joel Glenn Brenner. This book was pretty good, giving a pretty detailed history of how the Hershey and Mars companies got their start and what they went through in the early years right up until the book was first published in hardback in 1999. Nestle is also mentioned here and there, along with other candy companies like Cadbury. But the bulk of the book is about Hershey and Mars.

The book jumps around a bit, going back and forth between Mars and Hershey, and back and forth thoughout the years. Sometimes it's hard to follow with all the jumping, but I learned a lot about both companies. For example, most of the world can't stand "American" chocolate. Turns out, many think that while Milton Hershey was trying to perfect the milk chocolate process (combining milk and chocolate...not easy since one is basically water and the other is basically oil (cocoa butter)), he used milk that was about to go bad. Not everytime, but when he finally perfected it, he used almost bad milk. That gave Hershey chocolate its 'sour' taste that most of the world doesn't like, but many Americans love.

Also, it talked briefly about PB Max. I think I get the most questions about PB Max and why Mars doesn't sell it anymore. Turns out the Mars family doesn't like peanut butter. They hate it. And they can't fathom that Americans love it. So, even though PB Max sold ok (not great, but profitable), the Mars family dropped it because they don't like peanut butter. The book protrays the Mars family as pretty odd, and if what the book says is true, I would agree.

Pretty entertaining book, slow at times, jumps around, but I enjoyed it. If you're interested in the history of chocolate, and especially Hershey and Mars, you should pick this book up. And you can check it out by clicking the link below.

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Candy and Me (A Love Story) by Hilary Liftin

The next book I read was "Candy and Me (A Love Story)" by Hilary Liftin. This book was interesting as it wasn't really about candy. Well, it kinda was. It wasn't about the history of candy (although there's little tidbits in there). It's more about how important candy was to Hilary as she grew up and into her adult life. And Hilary is a sugar addict, not a chocolate addict. So we're talking candy corn, Bottle Caps, Smarties, etc.

Candy and Me is more a memoir of her life and how candy was a big part of it. How she used to eat cocoa straight from the package with her best friend in school, how her bother used to let her eat powdered sugar made into a paste with some milk or water in front of the TV while babysitting her, her frequent trips to candy stores throughout her life, and on and on. It's a pretty quick and easy read. I think the longest chapter is about 5 pages long; the shortest was about 5 lines long. There's some funny things and some good memories of candies past.

Although I'm more of a chocolate addict and not a sugar addict, I still enjoyed this book. I liked the quick pace as it sometimes takes me a while to read a book (due to not having much time). But this book, it was easy to get through several chapters in a few minutes. You can check it out by clicking the link below.

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The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

Cami from Orlando left me a comment about The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. It's actually a book for kids age 8-12, but it's been a while since I read a candy book so I got it out of the library. Keeping in mind that this is a review from an adult on a 'kids' book (or pre-teen book), but it was just OK. When I picked it up at the library, I was shocked at its size. It's 480 pages!! I'm not much of a reader, but I can't remember when I read a book that long. After reading it, I don't think it needed to be that long.

It's about four kids who are in a candy making contest and they meet up at the candy factory, where one of the kids in the contest is the candy maker's son. But not everybody is as they seem. One part I did like was it told the story from each of the kid's point of view. You got into the story through the eyes of the candy maker's son, then the next section is pretty much everything all over again, but now through the eyes of one of the other kids. It doesn't repeat EVERYTHING four times over, but it was a nice way of telling the story.

So I'm not sure I can really recommend this book. If you're getting it for your kid or nephew or niece or something, make sure they like to read since it is a long book.

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Other books on candy you might want to check out:

 



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