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Delicious Foods

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  3,494 Ratings  ·  677 Reviews
Darlene, a young widow and mother devastated by the death of her husband, turns to drugs to erase the trauma. In this fog of grief, she is lured with the promise of a great job to a mysterious farm run by a shady company, with disastrous consequences for both her and her eleven-year-old son, Eddie--left behind in a panic-stricken search for her.

Delicious Foods tells the gr
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Little, Brown
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Maureen Yes, beyond the voice of the Crack Cocaine. Not A lot. Well worth the read!

Community Reviews

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Apr 17, 2015 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: free-from-work
…what's helpless always gon take the biggest part of the rage.

4.5-5 stars

your response to the opening scene of this book is a pretty good indicator of whether or not this book is for you:

a young man named eddie with (very) recently amputated hands drives a car towards an unknown location, fleeing an unknown situation, struggling to deal with both the horrors he has witnessed and the struggle of manipulating objects with his tender stumps.

if you think "awesome! tell me more!", welcome to deliciou
Ron Charles
Apr 01, 2015 Ron Charles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-favorites
I barely caught my breath from reading T. Geronimo Johnson’s “Welcome to Braggsville” before I plunged into James Hannaham’s “Delicious Foods,” another sensational new novel about the tenacity of racism and its bizarre permutations. These two African American men — both in their mid-40s, both on their second novel — bounce off the page with the sharpest, wittiest, most unsettling cultural criticism I’ve read in years.

Johnson, whose novel I reviewed last month, is the master ironist, with an acro
Feb 24, 2015 Roxane rated it really liked it
This one is gonna win some prizes; it's very good. Review forthcoming in an actual publication, Bookforum.
Nov 24, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing
Any critic saying this novel is funny is full of s#!t. This is sad, serious stuff. The kind that the literati rejoice over. The kind that they'll swiftly recommend to you...

I fell quite hard for this one. It is awful; it's "The Color Purple" for a new generation. That crack cocaine is a character in itself is masterful (one is quick to relate this type of effect with "The Book Thief"'s omniscient master narrator: Death). That today slavery is alive and well is atrocious. That people love and hat
Dec 02, 2014 Greg rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The book all the cool kids will be reading in 2015 partially narrated by everyone's friend, Crack Cocaine.

3.5 Stars

I seem to spend a lot of time in my reviews saying that whatever book I've just finished was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be. Maybe I'm not reading the descriptions thoroughly? For whatever reason, we will be continuing with that theme, as Delicious Foods was absolutely nothing like what I thought it would be. I thought -- wrongly -- that this would be whimsical! Magical! Not brutal, searing, and heartbreaking! I blame the cover.

This book is . . . Brutal. Searing. Heartbreak
Diane S ☔
Mar 28, 2015 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
catching up on reviews,
Now that I have gotten a bed

A very original and creative plot, a dark comedy using every racial stereotype that can be misconstrued, and a narrator named "Scotty" crack cocaine speaking for Darlene. This book starts off with a very shocking revelation and we learn how, "Scotty" managed to get such a hold on Darlene, to the point where she is able to almost completely forget her son.

At one point this reminded me of the Goldie Hawn movie, Private Benjamin, where she is promi
The word "mordant" could have been created for just this book. The use of humor and exaggeration to describe some very dark themes is unsettling in all the right ways. It's a disorienting and demanding read which is a fair place to put your novel when you're talking about forced enslavement and racism and violence toward the weak.

In some ways though the book as written was a little too demanding for me. I think the narrative voice and timeline of events jumps around far too frenetically for the
Feb 19, 2016 Liz rated it liked it
My reaction to the opening scene of this book was “What. The. F**k.” If any book ever hooked me, literally from the very first sentence, it was this one. After the prologue the story went back in time to where it all began but, when it finally caught up again, I was biting my nails and cringing, waiting for the inevitable to happen.

The story is told at varying times from the perspectives of Eddie, his mother Darlene, and Scotty (Scotty being the crack-cocaine to which Darlene is addicted). Thes
Jennifer D.
Nov 25, 2015 Jennifer D. rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
3.5- stars, really.

i finished the read this morning. i liked a lot about the book, but didn't end up loving it overall. i do think it's very creative and brings up some really meaty, important issues.

i went into this with the idea of satire in my mind, but that quickly fell away for me as the heavier themes came to the front. (though there is totally compatibility between satire and social critique.)

the read was quite visceral for me, and very vivid. hannaham is a great storyteller. (i will admi
Dan Radovich
Dec 16, 2014 Dan Radovich rated it it was amazing
Hannaham ventures into the Southern Gothic territory mastered by Daniel Woodrell with his newest DELICIOUS FOODS and delivers a masterpiece. Darlene, her son Eddie and drugs are the main characters in this tour de force work of love and freedom. Dark. Comic. Haunting. Hannaham's gorgeous prose rings in your mind as you paint the images he brings forth; some gruesome yet all rewarding. This could very well be THE book of 2015 talked about by readers across America. Enslavement, love, freedom... ...more
Aug 27, 2016 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, reviews
Absolutely superb. If this book does not win awards this year then I'll be damned if I know what they're looking for in a great novel. I'm not sure what I expected when I picked this up but it certainly was not what I got. The first chapter after the prologue was a bit jarring. It took a few pages to get used to the narrative style of "Scotty." I adjusted quickly, however, and it only took a few pages for me to be completely taken in. There was not a single character in the novel who did not ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Velma rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in contemporary American race relations
Recommended to Velma by: Derek Attig via BookRiot
Added 1/8/16: FAVORITE READ OF 2016

Added 3/26/15: Approaching the end of the first quarter of the 2015 reading year, and this is still the best book of the 15 I've read so far.


I copped an advance copy of James Hannaham's Delicious Foods, which comes out this March, and it is *intense*. To all my squeamish-reader friends out there, the ones who prefer feel-good reading: this ain't for you.

But if you like a good dose of the real world, particularly if, like me, you are one lucky sumbitch in
Apr 06, 2015 stacia rated it liked it
*** Minor spoilers ***

I didn't realize the basis for "Delicious Foods" was a real-life events until I was almost finished reading it and when I found out, I wasn't particularly surprised. A farm that pays black employees in drugs and trumps up debt that contractually bars them from leaving the premises isn't too far-out a conceit.

By that point in my reading experience, this book had long ceased to be about the titular agricultural enslaver, Delicious Foods. At its core, the novel is about what
Apr 19, 2015 Beverly rated it really liked it
I will admit that I started out reading the print book but I was just not feeling it. Then I tried the audio book for me and I became enthralled. Kudos to the author who narrates the audio book for making the characters soar. I knew that crack cocaine would be a character but not sure how it would work – but “Scotty” is certainly a character and his point-on-view on addiction and the choice and reasons were both amusing and scary.
I found this to be a cunningly unique storyline that uses at times
AmberBug ** review
Dear Reader,

I was not expecting this book to be what it is. I don't know why, but I had a vision in my head of how this novel was before even cracking the spine. I actually audiobook'd this... so all spines are still intact. I have to say though, you must audiobook this one.... if only because the Author, James Hannaham, does a fantastic impression of crack cocaine. Yep, you heard right. Crack cocaine is a main character, and a very strong one indeed. I was so enamoured
Mar 19, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
The first night Eddie's mother, Darlene, doesn't return home, he tosses her absence aside as another side-effect to her new drug habit. But after several days, Eddie finds himself wandering his mother's late night haunts, looking for clues to where she's gone. He soon discovers she's been lured to a farm and promised a new start with a budding company, which is far from the truth, as Delicious Foods aims to enslave its workers with low wages, high rent and the haze of drugs.

With bleeding stumps
Jul 09, 2015 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first heard the title of this book I thought it must be another celebrity chef The author, James Hannaham narrates this shocking, heartbreaking and at times humorous novel through the voice of Scotty. I am so naive it took me half the book to figure out who Scotty was. This is the type of book that is impossible to say you liked but you have to admire the writer that conceived the story and penned it. Hannaham is a prodigious talent. I'm predicting this is remarkable enough ...more
Jun 04, 2015 Guy rated it it was ok
Wanted to like this book but also debated on buying it should have listen to gut. There was too much hype around it usually skip a book if overly hyped talking to you gone girl, ice cream star, girl on a train and anything by Stephen King. It was a struggle to get through delicious foods. Didn't care to know what happened
Apr 10, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I liked this almost in spite of itself. The story was fascinating, even if the narration-by-drugs was a little much. I was even willing to forgive the lack of quotation marks because, well, you know, it was narrated by drugs.
Mar 19, 2015 Martha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vcfa
Blurbs on books often describe them as "a tour de force." Heck, Jennifer Egan does it on this one. But guess what? This time, it's true. An extraordinary, inventive, surprising, compelling and masterful novel. Read it.
Apr 22, 2016 kelly rated it it was amazing
[*deep breath*]

After I finished this book I lay awake staring at the ceiling for 30 minutes, thinking: if this book doesn't win an award this year I don't know what the hell people think good literature is.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I knew its main theme was the devastating effects of crack cocaine, but had no idea of what kind of ride this book would take me on. The first chapter completely jars you out of any sense of comfort with its brutality; the rest is deep, slow burn of
Aug 12, 2015 George rated it liked it
I wanted to like the book more than I did, but it's still worth reading. An intelligent young couple with an infant child move down to Ovis, Louisiana to help politically organize the black population only to fall victim to a vicious racist attack.The wife lives on but is destroyed emotionally and falls into a chasm of depression, drug abuse and prostituition.only to disappear completely from sight.after having been shanghaied onto a produce farm, Delicious Foods, where all the workers are ...more
Jun 22, 2016 JanB rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
3.5 I struggled with this rating. The book takes a brutal look at the cascading events that can lead to addiction to crack cocaine and the devastating effect addiction has on children and families. The fact that modern-day slavery exists on farms (the Delicious Foods of the title) is sobering and makes you think about where your food comes from. It's a worthwhile book that led to a great book club discussion.

But I'm not a book critic. I'm just a reader who rates books according to how much I en
Anybody who has read this book and who knows me would know that this is my kind of book. Funny, satire, dark, unreliable narrator (in a big way), social commentary with a strong message which doesn't conk you over the head.

This book had one of my favorite characters ("Scotty") in a LONG time! I did audio and the author read the book. Potentially scary, but you know he did the Scotty role EXACTLY as it was intended and he did a fabulous job.

Who says slavery was abolished?

Very creative story, w
Jun 11, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
James Hannaham takes it all on in this darkly hilarious, rambunctious novel featuring crack cocaine as a narrator known as 'Scotty.' Hannaham's performance as Scotty on the audiobook is spectacular - fast and slick and slangy - especially when contrasted with the cool and steady voice he gives to Eddie, the boy left behind by his mother in favor of her anthropomorphic addiction. The book is Franzian in the scope of societal issues it considers, from big food and the exploitation of farm workers, ...more
Peter Boyle
Dec 27, 2015 Peter Boyle rated it really liked it
A teenage boy whose arms have been lopped off drives a stolen car away from a Louisiana plantation, steering the vehicle with his bloody stumps. As opening scenes go, it certainly grabs your attention. And when you get to to the chapter that is narrated by crack cocaine, you soon realise that this is no ordinary novel.

We eventually learn that Eddie is escaping from a place called Delicious Foods, a vast farm which plies its junkie workers with drugs in return for slave labour. He finds his mothe
May 11, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
I always enjoy it when an author strays perhaps not so very far from the reality of life as we know it (the cheap lives of migrant workers, drug addiction, institutionalized racism, slavery), just turning things at an angle, mixing them up a tiny bit to make them feel a bit less commonplace, a bit more improbable (although this is inspired by an actual case) and so that much more revelatory. I feel this way about some of George Saunders' stories too: as different as they are from this grim and ...more
Jun 25, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Eddie, is a teenager, fleeing the state, in a borrowed car. He has recently lost both hands and is driving with painful stumps. How he ended up in this predicament and where he is headed, is slowly revealed.

His mother, Darlene is a crack addict and has been hired to work in the fields, for a shady company called Delicious Foods. She, basically becomes a prisoner here, with many other addicts, doing hard labor and being paid, with crack cocaine. She yearns to escape.

The third, POV character, is S
Lee Anne
Apr 21, 2015 Lee Anne rated it really liked it
I should really have hated this book, by all the "rules" I have for what I like and don't like in fiction: it's full of poetic language, and some chapters are even narrated by crack cocaine, which calls itself Scotty, and speaks in street dialect, for God's sake!

Here's the thing, though: this book is REALLY good, and grabs you in the first chapter. When you read in the first few sentences that someone is escaping from somewhere, and his hands have been cut off, it just makes you want to read mor
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2015 Reading Chal...: Delicious Foods by James Hannaham 12 30 Sep 30, 2015 04:16PM  
  • The Sellout
  • Welcome to Braggsville
  • Loving Day
  • Binary Star
  • After the Parade
  • Mislaid
  • The Book of Aron
  • The Complete Stories
  • A Reunion of Ghosts
  • The Star Side of Bird Hill
  • The Fishermen
  • The Water Museum
  • The Beautiful Bureaucrat
  • The Book of Harlan
  • Know Your Beholder
  • Under the Udala Trees
  • Eileen
  • Preparation for the Next Life
James Hannaham is the author, most recently, of the novel Delicious Foods, which is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick for Spring 2015. His first novel, God Says No, was published by McSweeney's in 2009 and was a finalist for a Lambda Book Award, a semifinalist for a VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and was named an honor book by the American Library Association's Stonewall Book ...more
More about James Hannaham...

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“Y'all think a body be who you is, but it ain't nothing but a motherfucking sack of meat.” 3 likes
“She kept seeing brothers she would think was him from far away and then get close and be like Oh, can’t be him, he got hands.” 1 likes
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