Sunday, December 27, 2009

Like Water for Chocolate Book Review

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like Water for Chocolate is the coming of age tale of Tita, a young Mexican girl cursed by tradition to serve her mother until her death. Out of her many duties, she finds a love of cooking. In the kitchen she learns the family history and culture. Every dish she makes is biographical and has a supernatural effect upon those who eat it. If she is bitter—so is her food. If she is lusty—so pairs of guests find reasons to excuse themselves. Tita, herself, falls in love with a boy named Pedro, but is bound to serve her mother and never marry. It is only through food that she can express her own coming of age and sensuality.

I first heard this tale as a movie—near my own coming of age. My roommates and I went and saw it five times! The story is very sensual and rich in metaphor. I loved it! I still do. However, reading the book as an adult, I am not as moved. Was the movie better? I don’t know. Am I just different now? Maybe. I was put off by the ending, because I think the passion Tita was feeling for Pedro was lust—not enduring love. What substance was there? What character? The ending was too abrupt. Ah, well. It was an enjoyable quick read. I did not mind passing a day in youthful romance.

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  1. I find it interesting how we feel so different aboutnovels according to our own changing selves. I red Catcher in the Rye last year and could see how many would find just so-so. Back when I was 18 I thought it a wonderful insight into personality.

    I really like LWFC becaue of it's mystical elements with food and cooking, which I believe in, although not to the extent of the novel! But have to agree that there's a point where lust seems to be the over-riding feeling. But I still love the sensuality of food and cooking and our emotions, and the power of a woman to make the connections.

    Oops, should be part of my own review... next month...

  2. I, too, love the sensuality of food and cooking that is in the book (and Mexican novels/poetry in general). I love the idea of connecting around the hearth. This is absent in my personal culture--so these ideas feed me.

    My review may express my ho-hum more than how I actually feel about the book. Can't wait to read yours!

  3. I hadn't caught one of your reviews before. I noticed that you liked Mark Bittman's (or at least one of them). I like him too. I'm loving your 99 list.

  4. Jodi, I just came across Bittman's Food Matters. While I can follow a recipe, I don't feel confident in adapting recipes myself. Bittman gives me confidence. He lays out the basic recipe and give so many ideas for adapting it. I love it!