Friday, May 13, 2011

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
Laura Esquivel
246 pages
Publisher: Anchor
Source: Dekalb County Library

You can read the Goodreads summary here.

Tita is the youngest girl in her family and according to family tradition, she can never marry and instead must take care of her mother until she dies.  When it comes out that she is in love with Pedro and he wants to marry her, her family won’t allow her to marry, so he instead marries her sister.  The rest of the book is filled with the story of how they love each other but cannot really be together.

What I enjoyed most about this novel was how it was set up – into monthly installments that stretched one year from January to December.  If I had the patience, I think it would be fun to read this book over the course of a year to follow the journey of the characters in real time.  Maybe then I would have had more of an appreciation for what they were going through.  There was a lot of dramatic crying and dying in this novel that I started to roll my eyes at.  I also thought the including of recipes was a good idea on the author’s part; it really helped break up the novel into readable parts.  On the other hand, I’m not sure how many of these recipes would work if the reader actually tried to cook them.

Overall, I just couldn't get into this book.  I read it while I sat near my laptop and instead of closing the laptop and reading I found myself reading some paragraphs, surfing the Internet, reading some more, checking Facebook, reading some more, checking the Nest message boards, well, you get the idea.  Some of the time I couldn't understand the emotions the characters were having.  If my hypothetical sister married the man I was in love with I certainly wouldn't be living under the same roof as them.  Either he and I would run away together, or if he insisted on going through with the marriage, I would be running away alone.  Unfortunately, it was the second book this year that has felt like "required reading" to me.  I will gladly return it to the library even though the librarian indicated to me there would be no fines if the book were never returned (I know, weird, right?).

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