Monday, March 9, 2015

Sweetness #9 by Stephan Eirik Clark

Flavorist David Leveraux is a guy who makes the medicine go down, makes microwave popcorn taste so good, and makes diet soda sweet. And while that's a noble, necessary chemical trade ... he's also having moral pangs about the consequences of putting all these chemicals in our food.

No, this isn't the latest nonfiction food expose; it's a comic novel set in a slightly fictionalized modern day!

This is really a fun story with captivating characters. In his first job out of college, David was involved with product testing - and he's spent the rest of his career trying hard to forget about it. But when his daughter starts researching Sweetness #9 for a high school newspaper article and his red dye addicted son stops using verbs, David is forced to again consider that something's wrong with the way America eats.

There's plenty here to get you thinking, but it's put forth in a way that's funny and light with no black-and-white answers and lots of gray space. Even when David believes the junk is bad, it only takes a day or two for him to backslide into eating garbage again. His former-Nazi boss and mentor provides lots of history and a good many laughs, too. You'll learn about how food is produced, and also ponder a return to the fresh market.

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