Like Water for Chocolate
by Laura Esquivel
I loved this book so much. Once I picked it up I could not put it down. Thank God it was short; I would have gotten nothing done last weekend.
What caught me first was the prose itself. The writing style is somewhere between Paul Bunyan and One Hundred Years of Solitude. It feels like a tall tale and is told like a family legend. It’s poetic and grand, and makes you feel like you are inside a story.
Set somewhere in Mexico, Like Water for Chocolate recounts the story of Tita De La Garza and her twin loves: food and Pedro. Food was her first love. The book itself is written in part like a cookbook with a loving description of a recipe at the beginning of each chapter. I love food, and this was a brilliant way to draw me in. Not only the ingredients, but the sight, smell, and texture of the dishes were all laid out on the page. Each recipe was used to introduce the subject of that particular chapter and somehow tied in with the action of the plot. I’ve never really seen this done before, and I thought it was brilliant.
The second love of Tita’s is the man in her life, Pedro. Or rather, not in her life. It becomes clear in the very early pages of the book that this is not a story of star-crossed lovers destined to be together, but rather lovers doomed to stay separated for all time. There is no in between in the land of legends. While they do truly love each other, circumstance and relatives conspire to keep them from ever getting married as they so desperately want. It’s a tragic story full of loss and woe. Very melodramatic.
I would 100% recommend this book, especially if you have a flair for the dramatic. If you hate hyperbole, however, this book may not be for you.