Delicious Foods by James Hannaham Book Review

Delicious Foods by James Hannaham

Delicious Foods by James HannahamDelicious Foods by James Hannaham
Published by Little, Brown on March 17th 2015
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384
Buy from IndieBound


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 of hands, James Hannaham warns readers on the first page of his new novel that thye’re in for a wild, delirious ride. From there he jumps back and forth in time, from Darlene’s relationship with Eddie’s father to the horrible conditions at Delicious Foods. But we don’t just get the two points of view, as Darlene’s mind is clouded by the presence of crack cocaine. Hannaham gives crack its own voice, by making Scotty a narrator for much of the novel, and gets into the workings of addiction without ever creating a caricature.

“Hello, Darlene, I said, and my smoke entered her lungs for the first time, gentle like a handshake at first, then my lovely fingers of smoke got in her breath and grabbed it right where Nat’s breath had once spent all that time. I’m so glad we met.”

As a reader used to encountering the dark and gritty, I was shocked to find myself cringing through some of the novel’s later scenes. Without a doubt, James Hannaham knows how to elicit a visceral reaction to his words. From start to finish, Delicious Foods is a book that twists preconception and forces readers to pay attention in the best way possible.


  • I’ve got this one on my TBR, but am still not sure if I really want to read it – ha! I don’t mind dark and gritty, but weird without a point does bother me. We shall see…glad you enjoyed it!

    • I wouldn’t be worried about weird. The narration sounds almost like it’s Darlene, but you get hints that it’s not (like the quote) every once in a while…and other chapters are clearly narrated by Eddie. And the farm that kept people working with drugs/little pay is based on a true story.

  • You got me with that quote. Using a drug as one of the narrators really makes me curious.

  • Wow…this sounds like quite the book. I’m definitely intrigued, but I think this is one I’ll have to prepare myself for before reading!

  • I just added this to my TBR. That quote! That quote is very compelling.

  • Ti Reed

    I added this to my list yesterday but it does sound like a rather brutal read.

  • Anita LeBeau

    I’ve been seeing this book but not really looking at reviews. I’m inrigued.

  • I’d seen the cover and title but had no idea how intense this book was. This sounds like a tough and gripping read. I’ll have to look for this one.

  • WHOA! I just saw something about this book yesterday, but I didn’t read the article; I’m glad you’re keeping me posted, Shannon! This sounds like a great read and, yes, I can totally dig the dark and gritty! :)

  • Jennine G.

    Oh I would read this just for that unique narrator. Death in The Book Thief is my favorite ever narrator and this sounds like it works the same way.

  • Urgh, now my stomach is kind of jumpy thinking about this one. But I bet you I get over it and give this a try at some point.

  • Sounds like a wild ride. Gulp.

  • Wow, this sounds incredibly creepy! Definitely not for me.

  • Like others have said, not at all what I thought the book would be about from its cover! Maybe for another time, though. This sounds too stressful at the moment.

  • I’m so glad I saw your post today because I just read about this one in EW and wondered how it was. But cringing at the descriptions? I’m definitely curious and now you have me intrigued…though I’m not sure for better or worse! LOL!

  • Pingback: Reading Ahead: The 2016 Tournament of Books()

  • Pingback: Diving Into the 2016 Tournament of Books Long List - River City Reading()