Almond’s Joy

Warning: eating a Valomilk can be dangerous to your sweater. Ask Steve Almond, or better yet, listen to an excerpt from the audio version of Candyfreak, narrated by Oliver Wyman - in which Steve pays a visit to the Valomilk factory (9m).

Second Warning: your mouth will start watering for a Valomilk. You’ll need the web address for Sifers Valomilks – and a little patience, because the candy can’t be shipped in hot weather. Third Warning: like any small taste of something delicious, you’re going to want to get the rest of Candyfreak.

There are two basic levels at which you can like something. Level One, you like it. You recommend it.

Level Two, you want to go out, grab strangers, and shout, “You absolutely cannot miss this, it’s unbelievably terrific and fun and wonderful and I feel sorry for you if you don’t know about it!” That’s essentially what’s happening here. Steve Almond’s Candyfreak is the first of a small, select group of items that will receive unqualified recommendation. These are the things you’d save if your house was on fire, take with you to the desert island, or, finances permitting, buy for all of your friends.

Candyfreak is Steve Almond’s excruciatingly funny, unexpectedly touching, endlessly fascinating, highly personal odyssey into the world of those rugged confectioners who persevere against industry giants (and all the odds) to create quality candies of local origin and renown. The audio version of Candyfreak (available from Audible) is performed perfectly by Wyman and can be listened to as frequently as a favorite song. The print version? Happily, the author currently offers the bargain of the century: a signed first edition of ‘Candyfreak’ for $15. I’m ordering another copy.

Fourth and final warning: In a few days, you’re going to want to grab total strangers and say, “Have you read Candyfreak? You absolutely must!” More about the author and his other books at Steve Almond’s Website.

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