• by Steve Almond
  • Narrated by Oliver Wyman
  • 6 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Steve Almond doesn't just love candy, he unabashedly worships every aspect of confectionary culture, from the creation of an exceptional malt ball through the tragic demise of a badly conceived candy bar, from the emotion-laden memories stirred by a bite of chocolate to his near-drooling anticipation of spotting a new package on the candy shelves. Almond, who claims to have between three and seven pounds of candy in his house at all times, set out to uncover the inexplicable disappearance of the Bit-O-Choc, the Caravelle bar, and other delights. As he documents his visits to candy factories across America, he reveals the true nature of the industry, with hilarious asides examining the role candy plays in our lives, and often confessing his own near-obsessive cravings. Almond's wry writing style is undeniably addictive and impossible to put down until every last bit has been devoured; listeners should be warned to keep a ready supply of sweets on hand.


Audible Editor Reviews

Part memoir, part exploration of the candy industry, Steve Almond's Candyfreak is a treat for both confection connoisseurs and occasional nougat nibblers.

Like Charlie on his first visit to the Chocolate Factory, Almond is a wide-eyed narrator who truly appreciates the magic of candy. He wants to know how it's made and how he can get his hands on it. And like the Willy Wonka in us all, he dreams up extraordinary, imaginary candy concoctions that'll make your mouth water.

Oliver Wyman portrays Almond's freakdom to pitch-perfection - comic when recounting an embarrassing Halloween episode, nostalgic when reminiscing on his favorite candies of the past. The combination is heartfelt, quirky, and absolutely delicious.


What the Critics Say

Alex Award Winner, 2005
"Strangely endearing." (Publishers Weekly)
"I devoured Candyfreak. Steve Almond writes about chocolate with the passion of a man in love and the wonder of a wide-eyed kid in a candy store." (Tom Perotta, author of Election)
"An entertaining book full of repeatable tidbits about the candy industry." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Wry, self-deprecating, and darkly funny." (The Village Voice)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Pure AudioTruffle, diabetics cautioned

I've never heard anyone verbally describe candy with such lust and consideration; this guy thinks about candy more than once an <i>hour.</i>

He has considered it so much that he is credible to write a book on the matter which covers a breadth of issues; here are my favorites: globalization of candy-producing markets, why he uses candy as an emotional crutch, and what to do when your favorite confection gets pulled off the market.

The reader is easy to listen to and has better verbal inflection than your average reader. The only cautions I have for this book are that some groups of people are going to be more sensitive to the material because this guy <u>really</u> made me want to eat candy while listening to the book. If you are on a strict diet or diabetic and are trying to avoid just this type of thing, then skip this book. But, if you are a passive fan of candy or even an emotional overeater that needs to confront candy issues, this book might help you to understand how candy lures you in, time and time again.
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- inearthsha


This might have been a three-star book, but only a two-star audio book. The auspiciously named Almond writes of his own consuming obsession with candy and the candy industry aiming for a David Sedaris-type admirable neurotic selfishness and wry humor, but missing the target for several reasons. The audio itself is partly to blame. The author, attempting to read his own material with--what? passion? interest?--speaks in overly excited tones that eventually become tiring for the ear. Despite that flaw, the first half, mainly the childhood recollections and pychological speculations of the author, comes closest to the correct tone, elicting laughter or longing at its best moments, such as the hilarious chapter on the worst candies, Mistakes Were Made, or the genuinely mournful elegy for the discontinued Caravel. Unfortunately, the book is more informational than the publisher bills it, and the second half of the book is made up mainly of essays on individual small manufacturers. The author struggles to paint indivudual portraits of people in fairly similar circumstances, namely trying to survive with a vanishing market for their nostalgia and regional items. While I was initially intrigued by the inside accounts and brief history of the American candy industry, audio essays must be written to give very distinctive images and feelings to the listener in order to stay distinct. As Almond tours factory after factory meeting plucky underdog after plucky underdog, the characters and atmosphere begin to melt together like so much warm marshmallow. I suspect it would work better in print, but in audio it becomes too easy to tune out yet another description of chocolate-enrobed nuts and salt-of-the-earth CEOs. Truly unbearable, however, are the author's occasional maudlin attempts to tie the deficiencies of his childhood and adult life to his obsession with the ultimate comfort food, which he employs in a particularly criminal manner to wrap up the book.
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- Brian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-20-2004
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books