Customer Reviews for

Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

20 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

Fast Food Nation - A High School Student's Perspective

While very reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, "The Jungle", Eric Schlosser manages to convey the same provocative and enlightening messages in his 2001 novel, "Fast Food Nation". While a bit outdated, the overall themes featured in the novel still hold relevan...
While very reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, "The Jungle", Eric Schlosser manages to convey the same provocative and enlightening messages in his 2001 novel, "Fast Food Nation". While a bit outdated, the overall themes featured in the novel still hold relevance in today's society and truly make a person think twice about going to fast food restaurants in the future. The book is divided into two sections: a history of fast food chains, and then the "behind-the-scenes" production of fast food in more recent history. Throughout the novel, Schlosser aims to show his audience the truth about what fast food chains do to reach high production levels, and how little they value both their employees and their customers. As a high school student, I find this book to be extremely relevant to my generation, seeing as how millions of teenagers' first jobs are at fast food joints. The novel itself is a reasonable length, but the writing itself is hardly sophisticated, as evidenced by the number of typo's in the text. On the contrary, Schlosser's main strength in this novel is his amount of research that evidently went into his writing. The novel is packed with statistics, experimental findings, and first-hand interviews with people involved in the fast food industry. 20 pages at the end alone are dedicated to his bibliography. Many of his interviews with employees of fast food chains and meatpacking factories are very touching and display the level of tragedy thousands of people in this industry face everyday due to lack of health coverage and safety precautions provided by the corporations. I would highly recommend this novel to a broad audience- in fact anyone who eats fast food on a regular basis should read this so that they become fully informed on what exactly they are putting into their bodies every time they eat fast food. As a high school student, I found this book to be a worthwhile read, (unlike many other required readings in school) and I believe that it will forever change how I make choices in my diet, which I am sure was the author's intention behind writing this.

posted by Phil_Slender on January 3, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Strong Bias Hurst Otherwise Great Book

106 years ago, Upton Sinclair revolutionized the food industry, uncovering the dirty secrets of food production. Fast forward to the present and Eric Schlosser is attempting to once again revolutionize how America eats by exposing the flaws with the fast food industry. ...
106 years ago, Upton Sinclair revolutionized the food industry, uncovering the dirty secrets of food production. Fast forward to the present and Eric Schlosser is attempting to once again revolutionize how America eats by exposing the flaws with the fast food industry. He argues that the commercialized industry of fast food has changed how we as Americans live. Schlosser takes the reader on two tours. The first is the oft-repeated success stories of Ray Kroc, the founder McDonalds, and other fast food titans. A glorification of the American success story, this initial tour walks the reader through the story that the fast food industry would like America to hear. Yet this first tour is quickly followed by a disturbing second. Schlosser walks his readers through factories, plants, and warehouses—the true sources of fast food. He bares all, as he walks readers through olfactory factories. That’s right. Factories where smell is fabricated for your Big Mac, fries, and McFlurry. Schlosser exposes a disturbing—disgusting—amount of artificiality in every bite of McDonalds, Carl’s Jr., or Burger King we take. Certainly, most Americans don’t think of fluorescent lit factories, flighty plants, and dusty warehouses when they think of fast food. I know I didn’t. Schlosser changed that. He also speaks to the dangers of the fast food industry, both to the consumer and the producer. Dangerous malpractice in factories and plants lead to thousands of injuries, which, Schlosser argues, are the fault of lack of government regulation and intervention. He goes on to interview the victims of work injuries, creating a pathetic portrayal of an apparently flawed industry.

Schlosser’s copious amount of statistics, factoids, and research should earn him 5 stars, yet his overtly single sided approach mars what has the potential for a fantastic book. Throughout the piece, Schlosser increasingly points toward government (particularly Republicans) for problems with the fast food industry. He selectively provides facts and statistics to enforce his point, while simply ignoring those that don’t. While Schlosser definitely exposes the flaws of fast food America, he fails to objectively present the issue, its root cause, and solution, earning him only 3 out of 5 stars.

posted by WhyAmIUpSoLate on April 25, 2012

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  • Posted January 3, 2010

    Fast Food Nation - A High School Student's Perspective

    While very reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's 1906 novel, "The Jungle", Eric Schlosser manages to convey the same provocative and enlightening messages in his 2001 novel, "Fast Food Nation". While a bit outdated, the overall themes featured in the novel still hold relevance in today's society and truly make a person think twice about going to fast food restaurants in the future. The book is divided into two sections: a history of fast food chains, and then the "behind-the-scenes" production of fast food in more recent history. Throughout the novel, Schlosser aims to show his audience the truth about what fast food chains do to reach high production levels, and how little they value both their employees and their customers. As a high school student, I find this book to be extremely relevant to my generation, seeing as how millions of teenagers' first jobs are at fast food joints. The novel itself is a reasonable length, but the writing itself is hardly sophisticated, as evidenced by the number of typo's in the text. On the contrary, Schlosser's main strength in this novel is his amount of research that evidently went into his writing. The novel is packed with statistics, experimental findings, and first-hand interviews with people involved in the fast food industry. 20 pages at the end alone are dedicated to his bibliography. Many of his interviews with employees of fast food chains and meatpacking factories are very touching and display the level of tragedy thousands of people in this industry face everyday due to lack of health coverage and safety precautions provided by the corporations. I would highly recommend this novel to a broad audience- in fact anyone who eats fast food on a regular basis should read this so that they become fully informed on what exactly they are putting into their bodies every time they eat fast food. As a high school student, I found this book to be a worthwhile read, (unlike many other required readings in school) and I believe that it will forever change how I make choices in my diet, which I am sure was the author's intention behind writing this.

    20 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 25, 2012

    Strong Bias Hurst Otherwise Great Book

    106 years ago, Upton Sinclair revolutionized the food industry, uncovering the dirty secrets of food production. Fast forward to the present and Eric Schlosser is attempting to once again revolutionize how America eats by exposing the flaws with the fast food industry. He argues that the commercialized industry of fast food has changed how we as Americans live. Schlosser takes the reader on two tours. The first is the oft-repeated success stories of Ray Kroc, the founder McDonalds, and other fast food titans. A glorification of the American success story, this initial tour walks the reader through the story that the fast food industry would like America to hear. Yet this first tour is quickly followed by a disturbing second. Schlosser walks his readers through factories, plants, and warehouses—the true sources of fast food. He bares all, as he walks readers through olfactory factories. That’s right. Factories where smell is fabricated for your Big Mac, fries, and McFlurry. Schlosser exposes a disturbing—disgusting—amount of artificiality in every bite of McDonalds, Carl’s Jr., or Burger King we take. Certainly, most Americans don’t think of fluorescent lit factories, flighty plants, and dusty warehouses when they think of fast food. I know I didn’t. Schlosser changed that. He also speaks to the dangers of the fast food industry, both to the consumer and the producer. Dangerous malpractice in factories and plants lead to thousands of injuries, which, Schlosser argues, are the fault of lack of government regulation and intervention. He goes on to interview the victims of work injuries, creating a pathetic portrayal of an apparently flawed industry.

    Schlosser’s copious amount of statistics, factoids, and research should earn him 5 stars, yet his overtly single sided approach mars what has the potential for a fantastic book. Throughout the piece, Schlosser increasingly points toward government (particularly Republicans) for problems with the fast food industry. He selectively provides facts and statistics to enforce his point, while simply ignoring those that don’t. While Schlosser definitely exposes the flaws of fast food America, he fails to objectively present the issue, its root cause, and solution, earning him only 3 out of 5 stars.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2003

    I'm a McDonald's Manager...

    ...and this book is misleading. McDonald's merely gives the public a choice of food, healthy and less healthy. It's wrong to believe the public is forced to eat the less healthy, because both are available. McDonald's and others simply give the public what they've shown an inclination to buy, as well as offer healthy choices. It's a free market, and if McDonald's didn't do it, someone would. I really...wait,...oh God, what the..ach!..pain - warm tingle in my arm..I'm having a heart attack!...It's from snacking on all those fries while I'm working...I couldn't help it, they were just so convenient,..ack! ugh...XXXX

    10 out of 44 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2010

    McNation Station

    The Book I was reading was Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. This book was a documentary about the food industry and the Fast Food Industry in particular. In the beginning of the book Schlosser is talking more about the history of fast food. He talks about how McDonald's and Carl's Junior and other fast food restaurants are created and how they evolved. The next section of the book is about the where the food you're eating comes from. It talks about the slaughter houses and the danger of working in the meat packing industry. It also tells stories of people getting extremely sick from salmonella. I would definitely recommend this book to another person. It was shocking and gave you the facts without completely bashing the fast food industry which I thought gave this book more integrity. I do think that some people will not be able to appreciate this book. Squeamish people and people that get bored easily will not like this book; however I found most of the book engaging.
    The reason that I say that people that get bored easily wouldn't like this book as much is because of the beginning. It is a little slow getting into the book because the whole first section is mostly a history lesson. It takes a little while to get hooked into the book. Once I got into the sections about the farms and the slaughterhouse and such I was completely hooked, just getting past the first section was a hurdle. The other reason why people might not like this book is because there are some more gory parts in this book. Especially when the slaughterhouse process was being explained. I don't consider myself to have a particularly weak stomach but I became a vegetarian for a couple months. Some people I have talked to on the other hand only wanted a cheeseburger when they read this book.
    I have to say my favorite part of this book was when Schlosser was in the place where they chemically created smells. Though it was a little disturbing that the smell of feet could be chemically manufacture, it was still intriguing. I'd never heard about anything like it before and I found it incredibly engaging. I never knew that I could get so excited by a book about Fast Food. Another part that I found that made me think was when I was reading about the workers in the slaughterhouse. I found it incredible that these workers were doing "the most dangerous job" according to Schlosser, and getting paid next to nothing. I read stories about people getting caught in the grinding machines and falling into the grease and getting hurt or dying. It made me wonder why anyone would want to do these jobs because of the risk and the low pay. I found that many of the workers were immigrants that just needed the money.
    The thing that I liked most about this book was that it wasn't a snarky book. It didn't say "Don't eat fast food, it's ruining America!" I found it refreshing to find a documentary book that didn't tell me what to do because I like forming my own opinions. I hate it when authors try to force their opinions on me. Schlosser said the facts and stated his opinion as separate things whereas many writers state their opinions as fact. I also liked how Schlosser had a mixture of the facts and stories so that you were less likely to get bored while reading just facts or just his thoughts.
    I would definitely recommend this book. It's subtly progressive so that's not annoying. It was hard to choose favorite parts because there were so many great parts. Though the beginning of

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2012

    Just like how Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle brought regulato

    Just like how Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle brought regulatory reform to the Theodore Roosevelt era, Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation should cause a wake up call in America today. It is a fascinating narrative of a revolution in the country that has been barely examined. Schlosser covers the aspects of the all American industry—food-born illnesses, animal abuse, worksite dangers, political corruption, and high rates of obesity—originated on the promise of being cheap. He effectively draws the connections to what most Americans know and don’t know about the industry while alarming us of what we very often take for granted. With nearly all of his research being done from first hand experience, he does not even need to use a passionate tone in the narrative because the facts are so compelling that they speak for themselves. The facts make it disturbing of what we are picking up at the drive-through window. The narrative definitely turns some heads and could quickly change many Americans' diets. Maybe one day in the future people will look back on this time in history with disgust just like how we look back at the time Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle. Schlosser’s piece of journalism deserves nothing less than five out of five stars for the above reasons and has the potential to transform the American public’s view on the fast food industry.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Very Shocking, But a Must-Read!

    Fast Food Nation is undoubtedly the most shocking book written on the topic of the fast food industry. Schlosser has an uncanny way of telling the facts without dragging the book down. He reveals industry secrets that franchises definitely do not want the public knowing. He writes about not only fast food itself, but also about food conditions in general. Schlosser reveals the gruesome, dirty, inhumane conditions animals are put through before they are shelved in supermarkets and sold in restaurants. He also gives interesting statistics about our consumption of fast food and its harmful effects on our health that will certainly change your views forever about fast food. The truth that Schlosser reveals is one that many have in some way heard before, but the main thing that sets this tell-all apart is the details that he goes into and the many well-kept secrets that big businesses have kept hidden for years. When it all comes down to it though, the main reason why EVERYONE should read this book is simple: health. Without a doubt our health is the single most important thing we have, and in today’s society there are numerous unhealthy factors in our lives. Fast food though is one that we can have some control over. Awareness is key to stopping this travesty, and the more people are aware of just how bad fast food has gotten, the faster the problem can be solved. Schlosser relates this important message in a way that is not like any typical boring nonfictional book. He keeps you interested in what he has to say the whole way through. Though some of the things he reveals may get gruesome, they are the truth and it is important that we know it. Read this book if you want to know what you are really consuming when you eat fast food.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    I thought that Fast Food Nation was a brilliant idea, however it was poorly organized. The book has interesting facts but they are intertwined with the author's obvious hate of most people in the world the Republicans are evil as well as the Democrats. He claims that all chains are wrong including the GAP and other major clothing stores, everything that has more that one store is portrayed as bad. After finishing the book it did give me some insight, however, if I could meet Eric whats-his-name I would ask him where he gets his food, clothes, and electronics. I highly doubt that he eats only vegitables grown in his garden and wears only the clothes that come from his personal alpaca. I just think that if he has such a right to put down everything that he lives for he should prove that he doesnt eat any fast food, food from supermarkets, or any restaurants, and he doesnt buy anything that he hasnt personally worked for. It could have been a brilliant book but the use of politics gave me a eerie sense of communism and facism.

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2007

    Here's the REAL Fast Food Nation...

    This book was a HUGE disappointment to me, my classmates, and even my teacher! We expected to be reading amazing facts on every page, but we instead found ourselves reading about things totally irrelevant to FAST FOOD!! Here's a useful piece of advice: if you are just looking to find out what's in the actual food, researh that topic online instead of wasting 15 bucks to read about nothing. FAST FOOD NATION REALLY WAS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT!!

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2010

    Fast Food Nation: What's In The Meat? Schlosser tells us that and more!

    Eric Schlosser's book on the economy and strategies of the fast-food business should be read by anyone who likes to eat at fast-food restaurants. I shall certainly never do that again. He employs a long, cold burn, a quiet and impassioned accumulation of detail, with calm, wit and clarity. Fast Food Nation is witness to the all-American diet gone totally out of control, hopefully after reading this book we will all be say "No" to the question, "Do you want fries with that!"

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Should be required reading in every high school

    This book educates people as to where their food comes from. Once you read this book you will realize just how out of touch we are in so many aspects of our lives. There are videos, rumors, and stories all the time about spit (and other bodily fluids) being added to fast food by angry employees. But even if no one is spitting in your food it could still be very unclean. The author is not suggesting that eating out is evil entirely. He even mentions businesses that are cleaner and more ethical in their practices. Everyone should know where their food comes from, and how it affects their environment, health, and society. Even if caring for your own health isn't a priority, learning how others and the environment are affected is quite eye-opening.
    Note: I just rented the movie last night. I do not recommend that. It was more about sex and personal lives than the actual issues at hand. The movie touched on less than 1% of the issues discussed in this book.
    This book is a MUST READ!!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    Worth Reading

    The book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser was actually not what I expected, that being in a positive aspect. What I enjoyed about this book is the way it provided factual information but not to the point where it overwhelmed me as a reader. It incorporated real life stories well into paragraph and chapter structure in an entertaining light. In a way it opened my eyes to what I was not noticing was already so relevant in my life. Never did I realize how many fast food chains there are around my house, but even if I did never did I think about their business outlook nor how strong of franchises they really are. Further thinking about it, I realized I could not think up as many local food businesses as fast food companies there are around my town, leading me to really notice the power restaurants such as McDonalds holds. Eric Schlosser wrote about how these companies use certain deceiving methods to establish clientele. They use kid friendly product recognition figures or toys in happy meals to appeal the younger demographic. This then attracts children whose parents bring them thinking they are feeding them healthy (from interpreting commercials) when in reality they are polluting the child bellies, as shown by increasing obesity statistics. Schlosser opened my eyes to this unfair and tricking way companies play on the public. What I really liked was his capability to bring the wrong doings of these firms to such light for all to see and understand better. His style of writing appeals to me because he doesn’t over power his own opinion and leads you questioning the fast food company’s intentions and methods of unclear advertising. Overall I would definitely recommend this book for all to read, much can be learned from it and the well researched factual evidence can provide the reader with a better understand to then let them formulate their own outlook on this topic.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    Highly Recommended- Will completely change your perspective on fast food!

    I have seen the film Super Size Me many times in the past, but this was my first time reading Fast Food Nation. I thought that they would be extremely similar and although they focus on the same central topic, they are very different. I would recommend this book over the movie any day. With every page, you could feel the passion that the author had for the topic and that he truly is looking out for the benefit of the country and to show people the truth. It takes the reader beyond just the fast food element and looks at how quick meals came to be so prominent in our society. The book discusses how great of an impact the use of automobiles affected the fast food industry and the progress that occurred in such a short amount of time. It discusses the use of a production line system, marketing, the affect on society's youth, and the meat packing industry. The book takes the reader across the country and is filled with extremely interesting facts relating to the history of the fast food market. It may be somewhat disturbing to read but Fast Food Nation only is revealing the truth about what Americans eat and the sources of their food. I think that this book is truly groundbreaking and I would highly recommend it to anyone. Although it may no be the easiest read for some, this book will open the reader's eyes to the truth of fast food and it may make one think twice before they go through the drive-thru or order a pizza.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Why is writing on Progressive Topics so weak?

    Overall, the topic behind Fast Food Nation is overdue. America (and by extension, the rest of the world) has not done itself any favors creating industrialized homogenized fast food. However, reading the book is like listening to my next door neighbor rant about 3rd world politics over the fence - it sounds good but lacking in many of the details. In the book, there are too many value-laden judgements just 'thrown out there' without enough information and clear persuasive argument behind it. <BR/><BR/>Overall - great conversation starter - not a great treatise.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2002

    Insert industry here.

    One of the reasons I never liked Sinclair's 'The Jungle' is that he is so obvious in making his point! He beats the reader over the head with his message rather that letting the reader come to his own conclusion. I'm afraid Schlosser is guilty of the same thing. I'm a left leaning cynic who feels that globalization and the 'profit above all' attitude of big business will eventually be our ruin. That being said, Schlosser is so biased that even I took what was said with a grain of salt. Many of 'the horrors' he describes in the fast food industry can be said about any industry in this country. Corporate consolidation and emphasis on the bottom line has affected everything from the media to pet food. Schlosser presents all of this as if it were unique to fast food. Taking his book at face value, one would think that Ronald McDonald is behind everything from urban sprawl to substance abuse to political corruption. As bad as it may be, presenting it in such a manner weakens the entire argument. Conservatives usually attempt to make the point they're being unfairly targeted by propaganda. Unfortunately books like this lend credence to their argument. I was very disappointed.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    Typical progressive propaganda.

    2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    C

    Im thinking about getting it because my science teacher said it was a good book but she said you wouldnt want to go back to mcdonalds after you read this book and i really like their chicken nuggets and she hasnt been to toco bell in like 5 years so even if i read this book im still getting my toco and chicken

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2004

    Maybe Yes, Maybe No

    There may be some truth here, but it's hard to be certain. The book has lots of quotes and notes, but there were many unfounded jumps to conclusion. I can't help but think that this is one person's interpretation of details slightly beyond that person's grasp. One thing though is perfectly clear; the author doesn't like McDonalds or Republicans. Early on, when the author describes some horrible observations in a French fry factory his lack of knowledge of industrial processes or how products are manufactured causes one to question whether to believe other subsequent observations. A statement is made that he couldn¿t tell the difference between a stream of potato containing water and a refinery. Come on, anyone who has ever been around a refinery knows that there is no way it resembles a plant that prepares food. Where are the tall columns? Where are the pipe lines? Another statement in the same chapter decries the use of ammonia in the plant. the implication is that potatoes are processed in an ammonia atmosphere. This too is absurd. In industry ammonia is commonly used as a refrigerant, like Freon or R22. But the refrigerant should be entirely contained within the refrigeration system. There is nothing sinister about ammonia in a food processing plant, particularly if the product requires refrigeration or freezing. Both of these examples are simply scare tactics. Such tactics can be effective when bombarded upon persons who don¿t understand the technical aspects of a subject. The author goes on to bash the fast food industry, particularly McDonalds for being directly responsible for all the woes described. He next bashes the Republican Party at every opportunity as being indirectly responsible. The Republicans, the party of ¿Big Business¿ he thinks must have been beholden to the fast food guys for campaign money and made everything possible by gutting the FDA. I am not particularly fond of fast food myself, and I am not personally beholden to the Republican Party. But it bothers me that someone with such a limited grasp of technical matters can misinterpret facts so badly then put out very questionable conclusions as facts. It bothers me even more that no one reviewing such a piece of ¿yellow journalism¿ hasn¿t seen through these half truths and called the author¿s bluff. The sad thing is that some of the charges might be true. It¿s possible that there is more tainted meat out there, but this book has too many holes in it to make the case for me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Stupid roleplaying clans

    Oh my gosh you stupid roleplaying clans! Shut up! All you guys are sooooooooooooo annoying! Just contact ur "ferocious" leader and go onto me forum online! Just shut up!

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Bad

    Books like this just gives ppl ideas for frivolous lawsuits. Fast food places do not twist ppls arms to come eat and books like this gives them excuses to blame somebody else. This book should be banned

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    Wow

    Eye opening...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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