The Devil's Candy is the story of the making of The Bonfire of the Vanities. It is the best (and possible only) book in recent times to describe how a movie is made, in depth, from inception to casting to production to editing to screenings and focus groups through release and box office.
The subtitle, "The Anatomy of a Hollywood Fiasco" is misleading. This is not a book that analyses why a movie production went wrong. It is a journalistic look at how a movie is made, any movie, and this book uses the example of the Bonfire of the Vanities because that happened to be the production Julie Salamon was invited to observe from beginning to end. Tellingly, the original version of the book was subtitled instead "Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood" and the new subtitle was obviously added for the paperback version to try to pump up sales.
Most of the other reviews have said this book is for industry insiders, but it isn't. For insiders, there is nothing new here. This book is for people on the outside who want to know how the movie industry works. And what we learn is that for all the glamour, movie production is mostly meetings and sitting around sets doing endless takes of scenes that eventually get cut.
Assuming you're interested in learning how Hollywood works, from the endless scouting of locations to who is responsible for carrying the director's thermos of coffee, you will be educated. This book, at more than 400 pages, goes into gory detail, from just about everyone's point of view, from the director to costume manager. It's written as you would expect from a journalist on the banking desk at the Wall Street Journal (before she became the movie critic) - straightforward, inclusive, and accurate, not the breathless style with plenty of italics and exclamation points characteristic of showbiz books. But it is also the weakness of the book. There is too much detail that isn't important, too much describing the color of every carpet in every room visited, what kind of shoes everyone wears, and who is holding De Palma's coffee thermos at at every moment, too many people's points of view to keep the narrative flowing.
Overall, if you're looking for a juicy, fast flowing story about Hollywood disaster, you will be entirely disappointed. However, if you want a textbook on how a movie gets made, want to learn how Hollywood really works, this is *the* book.