Extreme Eating

Slider by Pete Hautman. Candlewick Press, 2017. 9780763690700.

After accidentally bidding $2000 for a half-eaten hot-dog (the decimal point is important!), David needs to come up with some quick cash before his mom sees her credit card bill. He’s a fan of competitive eaters (the hot dog was supposedly the only remains of a missed championship bid by one of his favorite superstars), so he turns to his natural ability to eat a whole lot very quickly. He starts entering eating contests for the prize money, first with sliders, but then he graduates to entire pizzas. His friends are enthusiastic. His parents are baffled.

It’s a nice family story. David’s prodigious eating is a big contrast to his autistic brother, Mal, who will only eat chips, fish sticks, and Cheerios. David’s sick of having to care for Mal all the time, but at the same time loves him very much and wants him to be happy. A lot of things change the balance of the family dynamic over that summer, and David’s competitions are only one.

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