Book Review: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Did you ever read or watch something whose primary story is alien abduction and think to yourself how we lucky we are not to be controlled by some apparently indestructible force? Well…. I have some news for you.

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser has been around for some time now, so it is possible you have already read it. If not, you might have the misconception that this book is a somewhat literary form of Supersize Me. Actually, it is an account of the fast food moguls of the world (America particularly) and how they are propelling American culture, creating an even bigger gap between rich and poor and largely adding to the obesity problem.

Praise must be given where praise is due: this book was very well researched and presented interesting, and shocking, fact after fact. Yet, it maintained the friendly and easy-to-read tone most of us hope for when picking up a new book. When I realised Fast Food Nation would be based on the corporate world more than anything else, I braced myself for a tough read. However, I found myself flying through this book as it was hard to put down.

Are the facts presented in this book shocking? Yes, they are. As a vegetarian and reader of similar books, the impact didn’t hit me as hard as I was already aware of the lengths companies will go to create tasty but very cheap fast food. What did shock me, though, was the lengths that executives go to manipulate the public into consuming their produce. I now have a more thorough understanding of why more and more of these outlets are popping up in every city and town, and how they manage to do this and succeed.

Did this book put me off fast food? Yes and no. Getting older, I had already noticed that my body can’t handle such food as well as it used to and leaves me feeling ill and groggy more often than not. The book and its talk of the chemicals we are ingesting and the health problems we are facing only reinforced the need to cut back. So, no, I haven’t completely cut fast food out, but it certainly doesn’t feature in my diet half as much.

Overall, Fast Food Nation is a real eye-opener. And, as much as you will want to dispute the facts, all you have to do is look around and you will see the vast amount of truth in Schlosser’s words. It might not put you off fast food for good, but this book will get you thinking and that is always a good thing.

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

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