Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Favorite Reads: Candy and Me

My Favorite Reads

Each week I am featuring one of my favorite reads from the past. March is National Nutrition Month so I am featuring books on food & wine. This week is Candy and Me (A Love Story) by Hilary Liftin

Summary (from the publisher):
As a seven-year-old child, Hilary Liftin poured herself a glass (or two) of powdered sugar. Those forbidden cups soon escalated to pound bags of candy corn and multiple packets of dry cocoa mix, launching the epic love affair between Hilary and all things sweet. In Candy and Me: A Love Story, Liftin chronicles her life through candy memories and milestones. As a high school student, Hilary used candy to get through track meets, bad hair days, after-school jobs, and her first not-so-great love. Her sweet tooth followed her to college, where she tried to suppress the crackle of Smarties wrappers in morning classes. Through life's highs and lows, her devotion has never crashed -- candy has been a constant companion and a refuge that sustained her.

As Liftin recounts her record-setting candy consumption, loves and friendships unfold in a funny and heartbreaking series of bittersweet revelations and restorative meditations. Hilary survives a profound obsession with jelly beans and a camp counselor, a forgettable fling with Skittles at a dot-com, and a messy breakup healed by a friendship forged over Circus Peanuts. Through thick and thin, sweet and sour, Hilary confronts the challenges of conversation hearts and the vagaries of boyfriends, searching for that perfect balance of love and sugar.

Written with a fresh dry humor that will immediately absorb you into Liftin's sweet obsessions and remind you of your own, Candy and Me unwraps the meaning found in the universal desire for connection and confection. Treat yourself to Candy and Me -- being bad never read so good.

Why I chose this book:
I have an enormous sweet tooth. I used to bake cakes for my dentist in my Easy-Bake Oven. And I love Ms. Liftin's writing. I had read and loved Dear Exile a few years earlier. When I heard this book was coming out, it was like Halloween (my favorite holiday)! Even though I read the book nearly ten years ago, I vividly remember Ms. Liftin talking about when she first ate real fruit - she was in her teens - and she was disappointed that they didn't taste like "grape" and "orange" flavored candy. And the story about how her now husband proposed was insanely sweet (with both meanings of the word.) I immediately went on a hunt for Giant Sweettarts after I read this book, and I continue to this of this book every time I eat them (which is most every time I go on a car trip.) I wish the Giant Sweettarts still came in the old-style option of not Chewy. I wish I could find Bottlecaps. Ms. Liftin writes wonderfully, with a light hand that takes her candy obsession seriously but not too seriously. It is a hilarious, fun read for every sugar addict who knows all the symptoms of pre-diabetes.


Teresa said...

This sounds pretty good. I've added it to my TBR list. Thanks!

Carin said...

Oh, you have to take a trip to Oregon. I think the town was called Seaside--there were heaps of candy/sweet shops there. I found Razzles in different flavors! I've never seen Razzles before (only saw them in 13 Going on 30) so I bought some. I'm sure they would have those SweetTarts and Bottlecaps you're talking about. Here's a LINK to the town website--apparently it's the Candy Capital of the North Coast.

That book does sound like a lot of fun.

Booksnyc said...

I have a huge sweet tooth too - thanks for this recommendation!

Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC has an entire section dedicated to "vintage" candy - they may have some of your old favs!

Carin Siegfried said...

Oh, don't worry - I spent a lot of time at Dylan's when I lived in NYC! It was the only place I could buy Goo-Goos in New York, but her prices are obscene. Her selection is decent - of high-end and by-the-pound candy, but not necessarily of low-end boxed candy. There's a dumpy-looking place on the Lower East Side that's better for that kind of thing (and actually I think Liftin even mentions it inthe book). Darn it, now I really, really want some bottle caps. Have no idea where I could find them here.

Alyce said...

I was thinking that with all that sugar she would be pre-diabetic. :) I love candy too though, so I'm sure I would like this.

I love the large chewy sweettarts! Those were also my mom's favorites when we were a kid, and I remember us trying to track them down when the local store stopped carrying them. I'm more of a chocolate lover than a pure sugar devotee though. (Although I did help my husband polish off a movie-sized box of Everlasting Gobstoppers this week).

Alyce said...

Carin - I just read your comment about Seaside. I live in Oregon and had no idea about that candyshop. I'll have to keep it in mind for the next time I'm there. :)

Kristen said...

I have this one the shelves to read so I'm glad to have some vindication that it's good! I'm so darn indiscriminate in my buying, and haven't heard of anyone else who has read it, that I wasn't sure.