Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sweetness #9

Sweetness #9
Stephan Eirik Clark

I can't say that this was the greatest book I've ever read, but it wasn't bad. This was a much anticipated read after I heard Clark talking about it on NPR (don't ask what I was doing listening to NPR, anyway...). It sounded like something that I could get in to. He was talking about the effects of this fake sweetener and I liked the guy's voice, if I'm being honest. 
So I requested the book through the library and in less than two weeks, it was in my hands to read. This book is only about 330 pages and it still took me over two weeks to read. I do most of my reading on the weekends and I did go to Toledo last weekend, so that was a deterrent. 
I got the book and started reading it and it was good enough I thought to continue reading it. When I was listening to it on the radio, I was under the impression that this was a non-fiction book, more or less a memoir. Within the first couple pages, you could tell this was a work of fiction. Not until the very last chapter, almost the last page, there is a footnote from the author letting you know that he wanted to classify the book as non-fiction, but his publisher wouldn't let him, for legal reasons. That makes sense, but then I wonder how much of the book is real and what is embellished. There are parts of the book you wonder if it actually happened.
The good thing about this book is now I'm a bit more weary about drinking diet soda. It hasn't stopped me, but I think I've decreased. I've been drinking more water (thanks, Mr. Clark) and turning my eyes to my once beloved Diet Cherry Pepsi. 
All in all, it's an easy read about a flavorist who was the guy who did experiments on Sweetness #9 on rats in the 70's and he saw the rats do all of these crazy things, like kill each other and go generally crazy. He tried telling management but they just made him feel bad and then the protagonist, David, goes crazy. David gets into a mental hospital and then he is given a job by a crazy old guy who was Hitler's personal flavorist. I liked hearing about the Hitler stuff, that was all very interesting. David gets his life back, just to have a series of unfortunate events happen. It all works out (sort of) in the end. 

I didn't hate it. 

On the the next one.