Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sweet and Low Notes

My booktalk for Sweet and Low doesn’t do the book justice. I loved the book and that really did not translate in the article. My idea was to talk about Rich Cohen’s style of writing and correlate it to the Sweet ‘N Low product. Why didn't I do that?

He writes a fascinating paragraph and then ends with a line of humor, sarcasm or profound thought. Like his family's product, sweet with a slight aftertaste, and yes, sometimes bitter.

You really feel Cohen has been waiting all his life to tell this family saga:

“I sometimes think a family is no more than a collection of such stories, a chronicle that locks you down like the safety bar that crosses your lap before the roller-coaster leaves the platform, without which you would fly away in the turns.”

Read the description of his grandfather and inventor of SnL, Ben:

“He finished first in his class. He was the valedictorian. He gave a speech about man and law. He rented an office on Broadway. He hung out his shingle. There were no clients. No work. He sat for hours, days, weeks. It was the Depression. He walked about the city. He followed the streets. In these years before Betty (wife) and the hassle and complications of family, Ben was a question mark. No parents, no siblings, no friends. Like the best Americans, he was free to invent himself.”

I love Cohen’s thoughts on being the baby in the family:

“I am the youngest in my own family, and I think, to a large extent, the youngest is almost always without blame, because the show was already going when we get there.”

Cohen does an independent taste test of the three artificial sweeteners on the market and this is what he says about SnL:

“Wow, that mother kicks! Taste like cancer. Those poor rats! The aftertaste drags you to the mat. Like the balloon payment that comes at the end of the financing plan. Was the Camaro really worth it?”

He has this to say about the leading competitor:

“Splenda is not just another sweetener. It is sugar remade, a molecule from God, put up on blocks, painted, and thrown back on the market.”

This is truly a fun book and I hope others pick it up despite my blah booktalk. :-)

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