Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food by Eric Schlosser & Charles Wilson

Bibliographic Citation: Schlosser, Eric and Wilson, Charles. Chew On This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 304p. ISBN: 978-0-6187-1031-7.

Awards/Selection Lists:

Richie’s Picks

Booklist, starred review

Author’s Website:

No website


In Chew On This, journalists Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson expose the often frightening truths behind the fast food industry, focusing on those most relevant to young adults

Personal Reaction:

Journalists Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson couldn’t have picked a more appropriate title for their book; Chew On This truly does expose readers to the ugly facts they don’t want to know about the fast food industry. Addressing the same issues as Schlosser’s earlier Fast Food Nation, Chew On This is aimed at young adults and focuses on those aspects most relevant to them. Beginning in Seymour Wisconsin with fifteen-year-old Charlie Nagreen’s invention of the hamburger, the book outlines the rise of the fast food industry in America. It reveals the ways in which fast food restaurants exploit children, marketing to them at an early age in an attempt to create lifelong customers, as well as the ways in which they mistreat their teenaged employees. It also uncovers the damage fast food does to our bodies, and exposes the disgusting mistreatment of animals in the slaughterhouses where restaurants like McDonald’s get their beef.

Chew On This provides young adult readers with a powerful portrait of the even more powerful fast food industry. Outlining the negative impact it has on our nation’s children, it asks readers to make better choices. To “turn and walk out the door” (Schlosser & Wilson, 2006, p.258). This call to action will empower readers to take their lives, and their health, into their own hands. Particularly impactful are the stories of young Americans whose lives have been affected by the fast food industry in one way or another. From high school student Sadi Lambert who worked a nineteen hour day at a McDonald’s in Martinsburg, West Virginia, only to be rewarded with a bag of candy, to Pascal McDuff who fought for better treatment only to lose his job when the McDonald’s he worked at “went out of business,” their stories ascribe human faces to these ugly truths.  Sam Fabrikant, a boy who had gastric bypass surgery at just sixteen years old (after his mother and older brother had already undergone the operation), provides an extreme example of the effects fast food has on teenagers’ growing bodies. I know that my heart was in my stomach as he was wheeled into the operating room.

Front Matter:


Back Matter:

Photo Credits, Notes, Acknowledgments, Index

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