Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Junk, by Christopher Largen

Junk was the second book I've read recently and I have to say that while I enjoyed it, it wasn't as laugh-out-loud funny as $everance is.  It's more of a quiet, oh-no-they-didn't sort of book.  Like Fahrenheit 451, but without the burning people alive.  

Junk is set in a future U.S. where the WAR ON DRUGS has turned into the WAR ON JUNK.  In an effort to combat obesity, the U.S. government has outlawed all forms of junk food.  Bakeries are closed, eating red meat gets you thrown in jail, and a kid will kill himself rather than be found with a Twinkie wrapper in his pocket.  Gangs no longer sell drugs, instead pushing any and all forms of snacks, sugar, and salt on a huge black market.  Europe is in on the banning too, although Amsterdam has a thriving tourist industry, since that country isn't banning anything. 

It was a very interesting story, made more so by the fact that Largen included "mockuments" on the WAR ON JUNK in his story, taken from newspapers, court documents, and apparently, letters from prison; all chosen from actual drug-war documents.  

The interesting thing about this book is that I can already see signs of something like this happening here in the U.S.  Snack and drink machines are removed from schools and hospitals over health concerns, smoking indoors has been outlawed, chains are now required to post nutritional information on the menu board, and shows like "The Biggest Loser" are huge.  Note, I'm not saying that removing overly-sugary drinks from schools is a bad idea, or that I like smokers, but I am pointing out that rights and privileges are being removed and not everyone seems to care.  

I mean, who doesn't want the right to own salt?

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