Candy and Me: A Love Story

Hilary Liftin, Author . Free Press $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7432-4573-9

In this charming book, Liftin, who co-authored the epistolary memoir Dear Exile, uses the intriguing conceit of telling her life story through candy. She begins with her childhood indulgence—Dixie cups of confectioner's sugar—and continues through serious connoisseurship of Smarties, Lemonheads, Fireballs, Marshmallow Eggs and dozens of other candies. Liftin is a cheerful addict, and like most addicts, she is very specific in her tastes. She loves chalky, cheap, artificially flavored dime store candies. Dark chocolate is too sophisticated for her: "If I were a dark chocolate eater, my whole life and personality would be different. I would know how to dress 'office casual.' I would be better at wearing hats." Liftin describes her beloved treats so sumptuously that even those who don't relish Conversation Hearts or Candy Corn will grasp their appeal. In the chapter "I Know What You're Thinking," she blithely dismisses questions of tooth decay, diabetes and weight gain with, "I don't want to talk about any of those things." Under chapters named for candies, she details the joys of each particular sweet and what it represents about a specific time in her life. Lovers and friendships come and go, but candy never fails her. Indeed, when she meets the love of her life, the bag of hard-to-find Bottle Caps he presents her with is almost as pleasing as the engagement ring he's hidden in it. But candy finally takes its proper place—45 pounds of it, decorating tables for the couple's wedding. Liftin's writing is fluid and engaging, inviting consumption at one sitting—and, for some, instigating a mad rush to the closest candy counter. (June)

Forecast: With ARCs out since February, a plan to make Candy & Me available as an e-book in advance of the print edition, and a five-city author tour, Free Press is betting that this confection will have strong sales and good word of mouth. Reading groups will be tempted to hold candy fests, with each member bringing her own favorite candy and recounting the memories it brings forth.

Reviewed on: 04/21/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-7432-4953-9
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-7432-5441-0
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