“Americans now spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, and recorded music—combined,” according to Chew on This, a book by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson that examines the fast food industry and its effects worldwide. Drawing connections between rising childhood obesity levels and the increasing popularity and power of fast food restaurants, it brings to light disturbing facts about “an industry that both feeds and feeds off the young.” Unlike many similar books, it’s a fairly easy read, with occasional pictures and short pieces about real people, many of them teenagers, whose lives are affected by the fast food industry every day. And for anyone who reads it and is inspired to take action, check out the extras in the back for ideas on how to get started.
Before reading Chew on This (and The Omnivore’s Dilemma), I had only a basic knowledge of the fast food industry, and it’s amazing how much such companies influence our everyday lives—and even more amazing how few of us realize it. Although the information Chew on This details is often disturbing, the authors don’t say fast food is bad, don’t eat it. Instead, they present their research with the attitude that “Everyone should be allowed to make up his or her mind. But in order to make up your own mind, you need to get more than one point of view. Chew on This was written to give a different point of view from the one presented every single day in hundreds of fast-food ads.”
No matter what you think about the fast food industry (or if you’re just beginning to form an opinion about it), Chew on This is an engaging, thought-provoking, and most of all, important book that’s especially good for discussions/book groups. I would highly recommend it for readers ages twelve and up.