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Hungry Woman in Paris Paperback – March 9, 2009

3.1 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Deliver Her: A Novel
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Screenwriter Lopez ventures into fiction with her abysmal chronicle of a depressed journalist who learns to cook while attempting to find herself in Paris. After calling off her engagement and after her cousin Luna's suicide, Canela begins losing it, but comes out of her funk once she decides to use her honeymoon tickets to Paris. Upon hearing that she can extend her stay by attending culinary school, Canela signs up, and soon she's in the sack with her class translator, as well as a handful of strangers and chefs. Canela also reflects on her childhood as an illegal immigrant and her status as a woman and once-again foreigner. Mixed in are a number of clunky digs against the Bush administration. Lopez has a hard time making the elements fuse, and her narrative is choppy and amateurish, with scenes swinging from frantic kitchen action through dreamy philosophizing to graphic sex and back. Often mentioned are the famous expat writers who made their names in Paris, but this work is far below theirs. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Lopez, acclaimed playwright and screenwriter known best for Real Women Have Curves (2002), offers readers a scintillating tour of Paris through the eyes of Canela, a Mexican-American journalist who has grown disillusioned with her home. After the suicide of her beloved cousin Luna, Canela breaks off her engagement with Armando, a handsome doctor, and decides to go on their honeymoon in Paris on her own. She meets up with her friend Rosemary there, and after a family tragedy sends Rosemary back to the United States, Canela decides to stay in Rosemary’s apartment and seek temporary French citizenship. She enrolls in the famous Le Coq Rouge cooking school to see if she can finally master the art of cooking while she tries to figure out where her future lies. While her culinary skills are being sharpened, Canela’s senses are awakened in other ways by class translator Henry, a Brit who offers to be her “erotic guide” through Paris. Lush and sensual, Lopez’s first novel is as rich as a meal at a four-star restaurant. --Kristine Huntley
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Original edition (March 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446699411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446699419
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,368,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Seifried on July 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I won this book in a giveaway and hoped it would be one of those "journey to self-discovery" books, filled with poignant scenes of Paris and the culinary world. I'm extremely disappointed to say that if that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere.
The world of hispanic/latino literature has enough uphill battles to climb without producing sludge like this.
The author apparently is unable to fashion anything more grammatically complex than a simple subject-verb-object sentence, and the subject of every sentence is "I". The poignant scenes? Pointless sexual encounters that do nothing to advance the plot or give insight into characters.
Spend your money on something else. The world has enough of this tripe.
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Format: Paperback
I was excited to recieve this book for Mother's day, but when I read it, I saw that the writing is juvenile, at best, and I'm not really sure how this author got published. My hint should have been on the front cover where it says, "Honest and wise" -- Los Angeles Times on Real Women Have Curves, NOT on Hungry Woman in Paris.
Save your money and buy another book.
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Format: Paperback
I loved "Real Women Have Curves" so I was excited to find a novel from the same writer. I'm also a sucker for books that even mention cooking! What a let-down! This book was poorly written (tenses anyone?) and uncomfortable to read. The premise reads like every chick lit book right now - unhappy girl, strained relationship with her family, broken engagement, leaves on a journey, blah blah blah. The characters are flat and cliche - two friends from cooking school are named Basil and Sage, the American jerk of the class is named Dick. I wasn't ready for the numerous and explicit sex scenes. I don't mind a little sex in a book, but I really don't need to hear about it in the detail that Lopez chose to write about. Not only that, but the situations that brought about the sex scenes were kind of against what I would call moral. (Call me a prude, but a foursome on the dance floor of a swingers club is *not* something I want to read or hear about, thank you.)

I'll give the author credit for some of Canela's (also a food name, ugh) thoughts about coming into her own and not doing the things that her family has outlined for her. That's the thing I loved about her movie and the thing that I most enjoyed about this book. Canela certainly forged her own path and, for that, Lopez should be praised. Unfortunately, you have to find your way through a lot of weeds to get there.
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Format: Paperback
Following the death of her favorite cousin, Canela breaks off her engagement to her handsome Latino doctor fiance and runs away to France, where she enrolls in the world-famous Coq Rouge cooking school. She takes cooking classes during the day; then at night she entertains herself by hooking up with different people. She has sex with a classmate...an instructor...a classmate AND an instructor...a random couple in a Parisian sex club.... She does this in excruciating detail; even when she's not having sex she likes to talk about her "[...]." Finally she returns to the United States where she meets up again with her ex-fiance. I won't tell you what happens, because it's the one thing remotely (and I do mean remotely) resembling a plot twist in this clunker of a novel, but I will say it's not worth struggling through almost 300 pages to get there.

Josefina Lopez wrote (co-wrote?) "Real Women Have Curves," which is a justifiably acclaimed movie. That's why I picked up this book, despite the bad reviews. Sadly, this first novel has the barest semblance of a plot, a really annoying protagonist, no humor and is clumsily written. I cannot wait to get this piece of dreck back to the library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked up Hungry Woman after hearing Ms Lopez deliver a keynote address. I love stories about women, food and Paris and have read a lot of them. This is all of that. I understand how some might have been put off by the sexual content or the edginess of her experience. But I found it exhilarating to read an untidy, unsanitized story of a young woman's journey to her self.

Consider that none of the stories out there about young women running away to Paris are written by Chicanas from immigrant familes with deeply traditional, Catholic values. All of this is part of her but not all of it works for her. Paris was the place where she could examine it within a completely different framework outside the eyes of those who keep watch on maintaining the status quo. Maybe for some her behavior seemed extreme, but sometimes we swing from one extreme to another before we settle on a middle ground. Many of us do this, not all of us write about it and even fewer would be brave enough to write about it so candidly. For that I give Ms. Lopez a lot of credit. I think more young women would relate to it than some would like to admit.

I would recommend it highly and definitely will.
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Format: Paperback
I was excited about this book given its "Real Women" credentials. The writing is terrible, the characters are forgettable, the story is incoherent, the sex vulgar. I felt the author tried, and miserably failed, to create something similar to "Like Water for Chocolate." Imagine my surprise when she actually mentions that novel in her own flaccid tale. The author was interviewed on NPR's Latino USA and I was embarrassed for her when she said much of the story was autobiographical. It's her first novel, I hope she can fall back on her diploma from Le Cordon Bleu because I can't imagine she'll have a long literary career.
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