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Book Review: "Don’t Eat This Book" by Morgan Spurlock

July 21, 2008

How great are the bargain sections in bookstores? I picked this book up for about $3 because the back cover has a very slight tear in the corner. Considering how often I spill food on books/drop them/fold them inconsiderately, a little tear doesn’t do much to worry me. Especially not when the book is of the health variety!

Morgan Spurlock is the “producer, director, and guinea pig” of the documentary Super Size Me (I’m SURE you all remember the controversy that the film sparked!). This book is a sort of follow-up to that movie, with a focus on the schemes involved in the marketing business and the effects that it has on kids. He discusses the connections between tobacco companies and fast food chains, and provides detailed research information on various studies that have been conducted. He also talks about his experiences with Super Size Me, so its interesting to read about what happened even more so behind the scenes of that movie and the days and months following the making of the film. His tone, especially when peppered with anecdotal evidence and hard facts regarding the changes in our society, is a very comfortable one. This is the kind of book that you can pick up, read a couple pages, and then set down again to wander off in search of a snack. You can return hours or days later, read a few more pages/chapters/half the book, and then wander off again. Sometimes I find that health books can be very heavy and written in an intense voice, requiring some concentration or at least a certain mindset in order to process and understand the information given. They can become tedious if the writer isn’t all that engaging, and in an effort to be as professional as possible the author can occasionally get carried away with a more literature-based voice (which, if you aren’t in the mood for it, can be rather tiresome).

Luckily, Spurlock’s book isn’t of that variety, and it is instead a breezy read that will grab everyones attention. If you’re trying to convince someone of the dangers of junk food or the appalling practices of marketing schemes, all you have to do is flip open this book to virtually any page and hand it over. You’ll convince them pretty quick of the validity of your argument!

I would love to provide you with some short quotes from the book, but to be honest, as I was reading I couldn’t choose from all of the information that he presents to the reader. Every page is filled with fascinating information and really engaging ideas that its impossible to make a choice between them. Among other things, he talks about the state of medical schools and doctors’ lack of nutrition knowledge, the state of our education systems and the efforts to reel children in to fast food at an early age, the history of the fast food industry and the global issues involved with obesity issues and food distribution. He also brings to attention how celebrities and even Olympic events are sponsored by companies such as McDonalds, and the ridiculous contradictions involved with these people selling out in this way.

I sincerely enjoyed this book, especially for all of the snippets of info that Spurlock offers. You can really just open this book on any page to learn some random fact. Its a good introduction piece to getting started into reading health books or if you are just starting to learn about nutrition. Even if you do know a thing or two about nutrition, its a great eye-opener and its really interesting how it delves into the history behind restaurants and processed food in our society. This is a leisurely sort of read if you aren’t interested in anything too heavy, and if Super Size Me intrigued you, then this will be ideal for you.

What books will you be reading this week? What books have you read recently that were really good?

Happy reading!

25 comments

  1. Interesting. I’ll have to take a peek at that book.

    I am reading Strange Piece of Paradise. It’s been hard for me to put down.

    http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?isbn=9780374134983


  2. Thank you for the review. I will have to pick it up sometime.


  3. I was at the mall the other day, and since it was my cheat day we stopped at the Cookie Inc. store. I asked for three cookies and the sales girl said, “Would you like to make it part of our 5 for $4 special?”

    I don’t know why, but I agreed. Gosh. I felt stupid afterward.


  4. Oooh! I read all the time & I live for good recommendations! Will add this one to the list:)


  5. Great review. Why read a book when you can see the movie? J/K, I recently read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Fabulous book.


  6. THANKS FOR THE REVIEW!
    I adored his movie and love the show but hadnt even thought of grabbing his book.

    my reading right now? you SO dont wanna know πŸ™‚

    Miz.


  7. Big Girl- thanks for the recommendation! From the reviews that book looks super intriguing.

    Running Knitter & Charlotte- its a really great book; I'm sure you'd enjoy it.

    John- thanks for commenting! And its so difficult to resist those kinds of tempting offers. Especially when theres cookies involved.

    Mark- Pollan's book is great! He can really write.

    MizFit- now you've just got me even MORE curious as to what it is you're reading…


  8. Good review! I’ll have to check it out. Right now I’m reading my texts for the certification exam in a month πŸ™‚ and I’m reading “Grow Rich with Peace of Mind” by Napoleon Hill. It’s great because his ideas are teeming with the idea of the law of attraction, but at the same time, he emphasizes the importance of staying true to yourself and the true meaning of life while you pursue your goals.


  9. I like those peeks behind the scenes. I find them very interesting, as I’m sure I’d find this book. πŸ™‚

    I just finished Sister Chicks Go Brit! Ha! πŸ™‚ I actually read all the Sister Chicks books; the Italian and Australian stories being my favorites. Lighthearted, fun reading for when you just want to get away.


  10. i definitely need to start reading again… i am going to get some new books for the plane ride for my honeymoon so i’ll add this one to my list – your review sounds great


  11. Thanks for reviewing this for us, Sagan. It sounds very interesting. The Bag Lady reads voraciously, but usually just mysteries. She loves her fiction…


  12. Glad you enjoyed the book!!

    I’m currently reading “Thinner” by Stephen King – he’s my all-time favorite author (aside from Danielle Steel), and I LOVE how gripping his books are.


  13. It’s true that most medical schools do not offer much time in nutrition training for doctors. Many are working to improve this, however, there is an entire profession dedicated to this and appropriate referrals are a big part of the well run medical practice. I think, as with myself, that continuing self-education for doctors and really, everyone, is necessary with the constantly changing information in the field of nutrition. Or you can follow my favorite rule: If your mom told you to eat it, it’s good for you!


  14. Jay- well I think I’ll pass on the exam reading that you’re doing…:) but that book looks interesting. Its nice that theres the emphasis on staying true to your beliefs!

    Susan- I’ve never heard of the Sister Chicks books but I DO have a weakness for chick lit, so I’m going to have to check those out:)

    Loveofoats- thats a great idea. Where are you going for your honeymoon??

    Bag Lady- mysteries are awesome. If you’re at all interested in either WW2 or ancient Greek architecture then you should definitely read The Mask of Atreus by A. J. Hartley (impossible to put down).

    Veggiegirl- I’ve been trying to figure out which Stephen King book I should read first (can you believe I’ve never read ANYTHING by him?!); do you think that Thinner is a good one to start with?

    Dr. J- thanks for the doctoring input! The continuing education thing is SO important because theres constantly new things to learn. And I agree with the mum thing- mine has always encouraged chocolate as a major food group and you can’t go wrong with that:)


  15. nice review! I can’t believe I’ve never seen Super Size Me – it is so up my alley. I love when people immerse themselves in new situations and document the results. Maybe that’s why I loved Anthropology 101 so much in college!

    I’m reading “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” by David Sedaris right now and love it.


  16. Thank you for the review. It sounds interesting. Being that I don’t have much time to read right now, I am into audio books. I can be read to while I work. Hope it comes in that format. Have a great week.


  17. Thanks for the review! I will pick it up. (I love that I can read it a little at a time and it doesn’t take a ton of brain power. Mine is seriously limited right now.)

    I can tell you what Mizfit is reading. (Just in case she doesn’t come back.) Everyone Poops. She and I have a little book club going with that one. πŸ™‚

    Veggiegirl – I LOVE Stephen King, too. I have almost all of his books.

    Sagan – You can’t really go wrong with any of King’s books. For your first, maybe The Shining. Eek. “It” is good, too. Or if you want to start with something a little less horror, try “Different Seasons.” It is a collection of four novellas, and includes “Shawshank Redemption” and the story that the movie “Stand by Me” was based on.


  18. Sounds like an interesting one to read. I thoroughly enjoyed SuperSize Me and even caught a few episodes of his TV show. I want to say it was titled “30 Days” or something to that effect.

    I recently was at the library and snagged Mario Lopez’s fitness book. I couldn’t resist…


  19. Leslie- I like it when people do that too, its really cool! And that book looks really funny.

    Dadivastreet- I haven’t gotten into the audio books, but they’d be useful for multitasking (provided its a pleasant voice to listen to!)

    Robin- thanks for the Stephen King advice! And your “book club” is too cute:) Spurlocks book is really handy for being able to just read a few pages at a time- especially for busy mums like you!


  20. Jenn- thanks for the comment! I didn’t even know he HAD a tv show, I’ll have to look into that (I’m sure that theres episodes somewhere on the Internet…). And I have such a weakness for fitness books too:)


  21. thanks for the review. its hard to find health/fitness/food books that arent all preachy or boring. ill have to pick this one up.

    i just finished reading running with scissors, which was really a good. i recommend it if you arent easily offended.

    http://www.groundedfitness.com


  22. I have Doris Lessing’s The Cleft in my handbag, and my mother in law’s Dylan Thomas anthology on my bedside table.

    I’ll definitely try to get the book. I detest the whole supersize culture that’s even reached Malaysian shores. We’re trying to get my kid more aware, but it’s hard. Last weekend at dinner though, our five year old dived into the zucchini and almonds before he even looked at the meat. Made me feel like we may be doing something right πŸ™‚


  23. Kelly- thanks for the recommendation; I just looked into that book and I like the sounds of it. Kind of different! And it really bothers me too when health books become all preachy.

    Dee- a five year old after zuchinni? Wow, you MUST be doing something right! Also, The Cleft looks SO good. I’ve never heard about anything like it.


  24. The book sounds good! I just added it to my list to look for the next time I go to the library. I’ve been needing some good nonfiction reading! πŸ™‚


  25. Oooh, I’m really glad I clicked onto your blog today Sagan as I also loved Morgan Spurlock’s first film “Supersize Me” so I think I am bound to like the book as well.



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