Friday, November 14, 2008

Like Water For Chocolate

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Title: Like Water for Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquivel
Pages: 256
Yearly Count b: 81

Tita is completely overshadowed by her mom, Mama Elena, who terrifies even the guerilla soliders enough to make them leave her alone. Tita grows up in a home where it her mother's wish that must be kept sacred, always obeyed and not questioned. Tita becomes resigned to the kitchen, as her only connection to love is in her elderly nanny Nacha. Early on in life Tita learns that her lot in life is to care for her mother until her mother dies, and that under no circumbstances will she be allowed to she marry. Each chapter is a narration of the storyline with recipies intertwined. Each month a different delight is prepared and the reader will be left salivating wondering how to get their hands on Ox tail, or quail. It is "a novel in monthly installments with recipes, romances and home remedies" and it is all that and more for sure.

I enjoyed reading this novel, it has many glimpses of magical realism which I embrace whole heartedly- maybe due to my history with Latin American Literature. I feel at home reading a book that throws in the impossible, the dreamlike- to me it is almost a security blanket when that element is there. It is such a precious aspect in novel, the aspect of surprise and when I know that magical realism is in the book nothing is impossible really, all outcomes are and should be expected. I loved it.

Like Water for Chocolate was written in beautiful language and really it was a joy to read and become immersed in. Simple day-to-day writing is really attractive to me, it feels at home and and welcoming. One thing that I did not like was the sexual intensity in the book, there was just too much sex for me in it. The fantasies of Tita and realities of her sexual choices were not something I agreed with. As much as many of the decisions of Tita did leave me a little disappointed in her, that does not make me feel any differently about the book, I still love this book and really recommend it to those who are dreamers, romantics and into a little magical realism- not too much, just the right amount.


As much as I loved the writing, the style and all...I hated her final choice. It felt so much like she would rather have passion than be loved for real. I would have chosen Dr. Brown, he was true, honest and cared for her in her darkest hour. He would have been there for her always.Passion fades, lust is the aspect of trueness and faithfulness (which was so lacking in Like Water For Chocolate) that will stay and hold two people together. I can't help but thinking that Tita made the wrong choice, the choice easier choice and in it slighted herself. That is just my opinion though....take it as that.


Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I read that book, but I remember being disappointed in the ending, too.

beastmomma said...

I wanted her to make a different choice as well. The language and metaphors were lovely.

Trish said...

Beautiful review, Bethany. I can't say I liked it as much as you did, and I can't even remember the ending--would have to pick it up to refresh. I do remember liking the magical realism...a literary device that I love (especially in Rushdie's Midnight's Children).

Monique said...

I agree with you about Tita's final decision. Very good review.

Anonymous said...

I wanted That too..but thinking about it..I felt... maybe YES it was needed for her to not believe him... and in most occassions she didn't trust him...
but the problem was she loved him... and however she tried she was not able to reciproacte it for doctor..


Very bad - but i loved it! i dnt know.. to me it felt magcal.. the whole thing burned off except for the cookbook :)

And the author is beautiful!

And lovely REVIEW! i like iT!

Literary Feline said...

It wasn't until I met Joanne Harris that I became interested in reading this book. Hopefully I will like it. I am not too fond of intense sex scenes and so I'll at least be prepared for that, having read your review. Thanks for the great review!

Monique said...

I did not feel that the sex scenes were intense. Not very detailed or graph.

cessie said...

Wow, you are already done with the book. I have it waiting for me, but have not had a proper read in what seems like ages to me. I just have no time left in life right now. Will read it though!! It still seems interesting.

Fyrefly said...

It's been a while since I've read this, but I don't remember rooting for her and Dr. Brown... mainly since I thought it would have been horribly uneven and unfair to him - and that's not exactly a recipe for long-lasting happy relationships either.

LisaMM said...

I read this book many years ago so the details escape me, but I remember being entranced by it. Did you know there's also a movie? As I recall it was very well done. I bet you can still get it on Netflix. I wouldn't mind seeing it again and might just have to add it to my queue.

I'm a magical realism fan as well. Have you read Garden Spells or The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen?