True Confections

About the Book

True Confections

Alice Tatnall Ziplinsky’s greatest ambition is to belong, to feel truly entitled to the heritage she has tried so hard to earn. Which is why Zip’s Candies, her husband’s family’s company, is so much more to her than just a business. In True Confections, Alice looks back on the family-owned-and-operated candy company, now in a crisis of intergenerational struggle over succession.

As the outsider, Alice is more devoted than anyone to finding and relating the truth of Zip’s history, starting with the rags-to-riches story of how Hungarian immigrant Eli Czaplinsky developed his famous candy lines, and how each of his candies, from Little Sammies to Mumbo Jumbos, was inspired by an element in a stolen library copy of Little Black Sambo from which he taught himself English. Within Alice’s account are the stories of a runaway slave from the cacao plantations of Cote d’Ivoire and the Third Reich’s failed plan to establish a colony on Madagascar for European Jews. But at its heart, True Confections is about timeless and universal themes: love, betrayal, and of course, sweets.

Katharine Weber describes True Confections in 29 Seconds!
(click here to view)

Katharine Weber at the abandoned Peter Paul factory in Naugatuck, Connecticut (click here for larger version – 3.8 MB)

Z I P ‘ S   C A N D I E S


Laura Lippman named True Confections as one of her favorite books of the year! (link)

Haaretz – July 1, 2010 (link)

WSHU Public Radio – May 20, 2010 (link)

NPR – March 1, 2010 (link)

Toronto Globe & Mail – February 23, 2010 (link)

Christian Science Monitor – February 22, 2010 (link)

AARP – February 2010 (link)

BARNES AND NOBLE REVIEW – February 5, 2010 (link)

ZOMG CANDY BLOG – February 4, 2010 (link)

VIV MAGAZINE – February 3, 2010 (link)

CANDY DISH BLOG – February 3, 2010 (link)

BOOKPAGE – January 2010 (link)

CANDY INDUSTRY – January 27, 2010 (link)

CANDY PROFESSOR BLOG – January 27, 2010 (link)


THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW – January 14, 2010 (link)

THE DAILY FORWARD – January 13, 2010 (link)

MINNEAPOLIS EXAMINER – January 11, 2010 (link)

NEW HAVEN REVIEW – January 11, 2010 (link)

NEW HAVEN REGISTER – January 10, 2010 (link)

BOSTON GLOBE – January 10, 2010 (link)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE – January 9, 2010 (link)

WASHINGTON POST – December 29, 2009 (link)

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER – December 29, 2009 (link)

LOS ANGELES TIMES – December 29, 2009 (link)

DAILY BEAST “HOT READS” – December 21, 2009 (link)

NEW YORK TIMES – December 17, 2009 (link)

DAILY CANDY – December 31, 2009 (link)

BOOKPAGE – January 2010 (link)

CHICAGO TRIBUNE – December 16, 2009 (link)

In her fifth novel, after Triangle (2006), Weber unleashes a wacky comic sensibility. Ostracized by her high-school clique and denied admission to college after accidentally setting fire to a classmate’s home, Alice Tatnall applies for a job at Zip’s Candies on a whim and finds her life’s calling. Immediately taken under the wing of candy magnate Sam Ziplinsky, Alice learns the ins and outs of the candy-making business, from mixing the proper proportions of the ingredients to repairing the ancient production line that churns out the company’s reliable moneymakers, Little Sammies, Tigermelts, and Mumbo Jumbos. She further cements her place within the company and the family by marrying Sam’s son and heir Howard “Howdy” Ziplinsky and bearing him two children. Billed as an affidavit, Alice’s slyly funny, frequently self-serving, and perhaps unreliable narration leads to some unexpected surprises when Alice’s old nickname, Arson Girl, comes back to haunt her in a big way. Filled with candy lore, impassioned critiques of chocolate, and Alice’s one-of-a-kind takes on marriage and family, this is sweet reading for fans of the offbeat.

In this winning, offbeat tale, Weber unfurls Alice Tatnall’s insecure Unitarian adolescence, which leads to her approval-seeking adulthood as the wife of candy heir Howard “Howdy” Ziplinsky. Alice has felt ostracized by family and peers after accidentally burning down a classmate’s house as a teenager. As a result, her college acceptance is rescinded, and she ends up working at Zip’s Candies, where she meets and falls in love with the owner’s son, a Jewish man 10 years her senior. After marrying Howard, Alice takes to the candy business quickly and has two kids. Alice’s story, framed as an affidavit, is a pleasure to read and full of small and not so small surprises, including the near-tragedy at the candy company that has much to do with why she’s writing an affidavit in the first place. Alice is an immediately lovable narrator, and her narration eventually bears hints about its possible lack of credibility, giving readers even more of a reason to keep turning pages. This story of love, life and sweets is a genuine treat.

Dispatch From Candyland
New Haven Review, Issue V, November 2009 (pdf)

Ten Fun Facts Katharine Learned About Candy While Writing True Confections (pdf)

Page 69 Test

SWEET OLD WORLD, Katharine’s Tablet article about the Jewish heritage of iconic American candy brands

I N T E R V I E W S ,   P R O F I L E S ,   A N D   P O D C A S T S

Katharine’s Public Radio Report from the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, May 26, 2010 (link)

Candy Industry Monthly, April 2010 (link)

Writerscast with David Wilk, April 2010 (link)

Interview with Faith Middleton, WNPR, February 5, 2010 (link)

Interview with Binnie Klein, WPKN, February 4, 2010 (link)

Westport Library, February 1, 2010 (link)

Live With Lisa (link)

Like Fire (link)

CarolineLeavittville (link)

Christina Baker Kline (link)

Jungle Red (link)

Jewish Daily Forward (link)

Bat Segundo Podcast (link)

Shaye Areheart Books Q & A (pdf)

Reuters Q & A (link)

WritingRaw Seven Question interview (pdf)

Connecticut Magazine Q & A (link)

Hartford Courant profile (link)

Bookpage interview (link)

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