12 October 2009

Book Review - Like Water For Chocolate

Title: Like Water For Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquivel
Published (this edition): 1993
Publisher: Black Swan
Genre: Magical Realism
ISBN: 0552995878

Laura Esquivel’s bestselling novel, Like Water for Chocolate, is a tale of forbidden love, passion, tragedy and food. The narrative is told in twelve chapters and each chapter begins with a traditional Mexican recipe. The storyline weaves around the preparation and consumption of the food produced from these recipes, as the tragedies and secrets of an all-female rural Mexican family unfold.

Like Water for Chocolate is set on a ranch on the border between Mexico and Texas during the Mexican Revolution and tells the story of Tita De La Garza, the youngest daughter of the domineering and controlling matriarch of the family, Mama Elena. Tita, because of Mexican tradition, is forbidden to marry and is sentenced to a life of servitude to Mama Elena and must care for this vengeful and hard-hearted woman until the day she dies.

However, things become complicated when Tita falls deeply in love with a young man named Pedro. Mama Elena refuses to let Tita and Pedro marry and, desperate to remain close to Tita, Pedro marries her sister, Rosaura. From this point on, Tita is forced to live a lonely and loveless life and it is clear that her cooking becomes an outlet for her emotions. Tita transfers her feelings to the dishes she lovingly prepares and Laura Esquivel describes these dishes so vividly you can almost taste them.

Time, distance and Mama Elena keep Tita and Pedro apart for many years. However, a series of tragic events result in the deaths of both Mama Elena and Rosaura and, finally, Tita is reunited with her true love Pedro. However, this reunion culminates in an ending that can only be described as passionate and bittersweet.

Like Water for Chocolate is a passionate and tragic story which combines romance and fantasy. Those who have longed for something they could not have will relate well to this story. It is a story of forbidden love and a cookbook all rolled into one. This book is an entertaining, compelling and highly recommended read.

My Rating: A

Australian Purchasers
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Like Water for Chocolate

International Purchasers


SmallWorld at Home said...

Great review--I've linked to it on my review of the book.

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