Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: Horsemen of the Esophagus by Jason Fagone

My boyfriend had been bugging me to read this book for months, so I finally decided to give it a try. A journalist, Jason Fagone, explores to world of competitive eating, no where exemplified better than the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island every 4th of July. I do regret that when I lived in New York, I never went to see that. He follows a handful of competitors - El Wingador, Coondog O'Karma, Eater X, and the current Nathan's champion, Kobayashi.

The book is fun and light and the people are highly entertaining. But I found it a bit overwritten and I didn't like how much the author inserted himself into the narrative. That's appropriate if this was either a memoir by one of the eaters, or if Mr. Fagone had become a competitor himself (a la Moonwalking With Einstein), but for a piece of straightforward journalism, it didn't sit well with me. I also felt like he was throwing in a lot of overly highbrow cultural references, as if he were self-conscious about reporting on something so low-brow.

So while it was a fun read, I had trouble completely turning off the editor part of my brain while reading it.
I borrowed this book from my boyfriend.


Alyce said...

While I love the title, I find the cover and competitive eating itself both a bit disturbing.

Ann Summerville said...

Who would have thought there was enough to write a book about this.