When reading a novel there are many expectations that come to mind before even opening it up. Is the book going to capture my interests? When reading this book am I going to understand the concept that is it trying to tell the reader? That is what I said to myself when before reading the novel “Fast Food Nation,” by Eric Schlosser. This book breaks down the dark side of the all- American meal. It goes through each topic one by one that many people may wonder about the fast food that they are eating. When I found out that I was going to have to read this book for my class I thought that it would just the book version of the movie, “ Super-Size Me.” But then after reading the first chapter I realized it was something completely different.
While reading this book there was some information that was disturbing to read. When finding out what they do to the cows and how they slaughter them was sad to hear. The chapters of the book cover many different topics. These topics range from the founders of the first fast food stand, how they make the fries, working in the slaughterhouse and the dangers that it causes to its workers, and global realization (how fast food has changed the world). Every time I read this book I learned more information that I never knew about the fast food industry.
If I were to give this book a rating I would give it a ten. This book may not be welcoming to readers but it is very insightful. Who knew that the fast food industry is the largest place for teenagers to get jobs? I found out in this book that most teenagers once in their lives have worked in the fast food industries. Also I found out that the McDonalds brothers were the ones who began the first Speedee Service System. When reading this novel the author provides a historical backdrop of the fast-food nation.
Each chapter of this book has to deal with different people. I was most interested in learning about Ray A. Kroc. I found that interesting because I live in San Diego and he used to be one of the physical education teachers at my middle school and the Kroc Center is just minutes from house and I have spent some time there in their activates department participating in pool and their indoor ice skating rink. The author also talks about Walt Disney, and his complicate relationship with Mr. Kroc and his rise to fame. Learning about these important characters was very interesting to me. Of course both these men became very successful businessmen but I enjoyed hearing about their struggles before entering the light of fame.
Reading this book did not really affect my way of eating fast food. Actually while reading this book I began to get hungry for some sort of big mac and fries. I found this book more interesting then disgusting. I was upset reading one part of the book though. Hearing about the workers at the slaughterhouse made me sad. This chapter of the book is to consider how workers in the meatpacking industry are damaged because of the way the plants are managed. The author talks about the specific hazards that is included when working here. Such as the dangerous machinery, the impractical expectations for production, the poor working conditions, and the fact that the supervisors do not bother to help the injured workers, instead they just move them to an easier job until they are better to go back to their original job. “Schlosser also places blame on the Reagan administration for undoing the advances that had been made for worker since the beginning of the twentieth century,” (Fast Food Nation). Interviews are done in this book; the author talks to some of the late night clean up crew and tell the readers the horrors of working the midnight shifts. The late night cleaning crew consists of mostly illegal immigrants. These immigrants suffer the most pain when working but reporting their injuries could result in being deported back to their country. One worker stated that he has lost two fingers and went into shock, the next week he returned to work and said that if one hand was not working he had another one to use. (Fast Food Nation). The smells that come with working in the slaughterhouse are awful, many workers say they come home smelling so powerful it takes days to go away no matter how many showers they take.
As you can see being in the fast food industry is stressful, whether you are working behind the counter or in the slaughterhouse. I would recommend this book to anyone. I think all high school students should read this book and get educated on the pros and cons of working for their local fast food industry. Reading this book did impact my life . I know that getting a good education can result in a good paying job and a job that will not send me to the hospital or have a hot oil burn from French fries being cooked. I would not take out any information form this book because it is full of so much information that anyone reading would want to know. Learning about the products that are in the meat and the fries may interest many people so they know what kind of things they are putting into their bodies. I enjoyed reading this book and I would do it again if it was necessary.