Sunday, March 6, 2016

Delicious Foods

by James Hannaham
Feb 7-Mar 6, 2016

Delicious Foods is a fruit and vegetable farm. For its workers, it's a living hell. For me, the reader, it was a grueling month of insane subject matter. The book starts out in an unbelievable place:
“After escaping from the farm, Eddie drove through the night. Sometimes he thought he could feel his phantom fingers brushing against his thighs, but above the wrists he now had nothing. Dark stains covered the terry cloth wrapped around the ends of his wrists.”
And it isn't until about 90 percent through that the "how" is revealed. Some might call that a slow burn; I call it agony. The entire story was surreal. Hannaham has some imagination. But for me it was very difficult reading. Not only the story, but the heavy dialect used for one of the three main characters. Oh, and this character, Scotty, is crack. Literally the voice of crack. Not an easy read by any stretch.

This novel has everything from political undertones to modern-day slavery. That's really the only way to describe what happens at this horrific place. I'm actually kind of glad that I didn't know what a palmetto bug was until I finished the book because it would have been that much harder for me to take. By the way, it's a cockroach. Gross.

It's hard to determine whether someone could actually enjoy this book. One reviewer was quoted on the dust jacket calling it "astonishing." That's the perfect adjective. With intense descriptions of how Darlene's husband was murdered to the treatment of the crackheads on the farm, I truly found it a chore to turn the page. But the author's messages were quite clear and he painted scenes one more macabre than the next. I'm exhausted.

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