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Download Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America Audiobook, by Steve Almond Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,307 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steve Almond Narrator: Oliver Wyman Publisher: Highbridge Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2004 ISBN: 9781598871364
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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. 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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Quotes & Awards

  • “Combines the patter of a stand-up comic with the soul of a 10-year-old whose allowance is burning a hole in his pocket.”

    Boston Globe

  • “An exuberant tribute to cheap, plentiful, locally produced sweets and ‘the small, attainable pleasures’ they provide. Like a good candy bar: a piece of delicious ephemeral fun.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “My husband uses [a] good German word, ‘schmackvoll.’ Rough translation, he says: lip-smacking good. And so it is with Candyfreak. ‘Schmackvoll.’”

    Seattle Times

  • “Almond is frank, witty, and engaging, and his book has a nutty crunch all its own and is not so sweet that you’ll feel icky when you finish with it.”

    San Jose Mercury News

  • “A chewy, charming literary valentine…The book begins funny, gets a little creepy, and, with liberal amounts of humor and heart, becomes powerfully good.”

    San Diego Union-Tribune

  • “[Candyfreak is] part memoir and part candy history. It’s Almond’s journey from childhood to adulthood, eating his way through both sorrow and joy, exploring what all the sweet stuff means and has meant to him.”

    Raleigh News and Observer

  • Winner of the 2005 YALSA Alex Award
  • Nominated for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Hickman | 2/15/2014

    " I love candy and loved this book. I learned all about independent candy makers and now embarass myself over my found love of the Five Star Bar. The author is witty and self-depricating and only moderately judgemental about corporate America and those who put money in the pockets of those large corporations at the expense of the little guy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy Elsmore | 2/12/2014

    " Funny and interesting...I actually ordered some of the candy the author talked about. YUMMY!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ronald Wise | 2/9/2014

    " For the most part the confessions of a man obsessed with sweets. It details the emotional role candy played in his childhood and the lingering taste-triggered memories still underlying his everyday consciousness. The description of his journey to visit the source of (and, of course, sample) some traditional confections provided interesting insights into the manufacturing aspects and marketing difficulties of the small American candymaker. I knew of this book from an interview with Almond on KUOW's The Beat on 20 July 2004. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David R. | 1/31/2014

    " I was increasingly distracted by the autobiographical material: in fact I grew to dislike the author in almost every respect. The rest of the book couldn't compensate. It was one dull factory tour after another. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Voracious | 1/27/2014

    " 3.5 stars, really. Fun. One of the reviews on the cover refers to Almond's 'joyful obsessiveness' and I think the phrase is perfect. I love watching/reading people who absolutely love the thing they're focused on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley | 1/22/2014

    " This book is pretty interesting, it explores how small regional candies are made. Mostly because the big chocolate companies, Mars, Nestle and Hershey's won't let anyone in to see their facilities. The process is really fascinating and I discovered some really interesting candies while reading this book, one being the GooGoo Cluster which is a southern treat so sweet it will make your teeth hurt (Southerners eat it with a can of Dr. Pepper to wash it down, ick). The other major discovery is the valomilk which is probably the best mass produced candy I've ever had. Its made practically by hand with top quality chocolate and Madagascar vanilla. It is soo good. They sell them at Cracker Barrel. Everyone should try them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charmion Mohning | 1/16/2014

    " One of the most delicious memoirs ever. This book is cleverly written and a real insider's view of the candy bar's history. This book does contain some unsavory language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jared Reck | 1/6/2014

    " I must have read this nearly ten times, yet I don't get tired of it. Plus, it led me to such marvels as the Twin Bing and the Idaho Spud bar. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 12/20/2013

    " Great book and it's not just about candy. It's about being a kid and remembering what was so great about it. And about candy. But really unusual candy and things that you wouldn't even think would be associated with candy. It's actually a cut-throat business! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 11/25/2013

    " Stellar writing, per usual, from Almond. Just a little too samey on the candy plant visits. Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher Castellani | 11/16/2013

    " This is my favorite of Steve Almond's many wonderful books. Part investigative journalism, part memoir, all voice and insight and character. This book made me nostalgic, but it was also an education in the ramifications of capitalism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie F | 6/17/2013

    " Enjoyable search for obscure old-fashioned candy. I tasted some of them and wasn't impressed. They were right that Valomilk explodes on airplanes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 3/2/2013

    " this book is so funny and well-written and researched - a great tour of the author's favorite candy. i probably ate my weight in candy while reading since i had to try everything he wrote about. yum. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Annette | 1/10/2013

    " Parts of it are hilarious, and parts are touching, but the book is just too long. It did give me a craving for a Powell's run which I have so far been able to deny. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessi | 12/3/2012

    " I cried when I read this on an airplane. I got nostalgic about the Idaho Spud Bar. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christina | 8/22/2012

    " Part memoir about a man's undying love of candy. Part research about what-the-heck-happened-to-the-little-local-candy-makers. All good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paula | 8/14/2012

    " Funny and worth a read, especially if you like candy as much as I do. This book has inspired me to online-order some Peanut Chews, which aren't sold in my area of the USA. Long live candy!!!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Farrah | 6/10/2012

    " So so good! Fascinating and this guy is an amazing writer. Very funny, very enjoyable read, esp if you love candy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 allison | 5/19/2012

    " Thoroughly delightful. Perfect for cross-country air travel. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Emerald | 5/18/2012

    " I should have known from the comparison to Dave Eggers on the cover that I wasn't going to like this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 5/14/2011

    " Good story - and he is dead-on in his depiction of the evil that is coconut. If nothing else, the book provides a map for roadtrips to the beloved candy of your youth. (Even if that was just last week.) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jared | 4/19/2011

    " I must have read this nearly ten times, yet I don't get tired of it. Plus, it led me to such marvels as the Twin Bing and the Idaho Spud bar. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanne | 4/19/2011

    " Loved this book about the history of several regional candy bars. Now when I travel I find myself looking out for them. I enjoyed reading about the process of chocolate making. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeff | 3/21/2011

    " Interesting insight to the candy industry and the delicious goodies that we may never have the opportunity to sample because of $20,000 slotting fees, Walmart, and the homogenization of America. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jason | 1/23/2011

    " Stellar writing, per usual, from Almond. Just a little too samey on the candy plant visits. Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathi | 1/20/2011

    " Weird, funny, and delightful at times, vulgar in spots, a bit dullish in other spots, and surprisingly educational. This one is hard to explain. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/20/2011

    " Made me want to try all the chocolates he tried. I am trying the Lake Champlain chocolates and I am really enjoying them! "

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About the Author
Author Steve Almond

Steve Almond is the author of the bestselling Candyfreak and two story collections. He is a commentator on the NPR affiliate WBUR in Boston.

About the Narrator

Oliver Wyman is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator. His first full-length audiobook, It’s Not about the Bike, won an Audie Award. Quickly renowned for his versatility, he went on to win several Audie Awards and seventeen AudioFile Earphones Awards in genres ranging from drama and humor to nonfiction and children’s stories.