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Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies Paperback – October 1, 1995
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Each chapter of screenwriter Esquivel's utterly charming interpretation of life in turn-of-the-century Mexico begins with a recipe--not surprisingly, since so much of the action of this exquisite first novel (a bestseller in Mexico) centers around the kitchen, the heart and soul of a traditional Mexican family. The youngest daughter of a well-born rancher, Tita has always known her destiny: to remain single and care for her aging mother. When she falls in love, her mother quickly scotches the liaison and tyrannically dictates that Tita's sister Rosaura must marry the luckless suitor, Pedro, in her place. But Tita has one weapon left--her cooking. Esquivel mischievously appropriates the techniques of magical realism to make Tita's contact with food sensual, instinctual and often explosive. Forced to make the cake for her sister's wedding, Tita pours her emotions into the task; each guest who samples a piece bursts into tears. Esquivel does a splendid job of describing the frustration, love and hope expressed through the most domestic and feminine of arts, family cooking, suggesting by implication the limited options available to Mexican women of this period. Tita's unrequited love for Pedro survives the Mexican Revolution the births of Rosaura and Pedro's children, even a proposal of marriage from an eligible doctor. In a poignant conclusion, Tita manages to break the bonds of tradition, if not for herself, then for future generations.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Like Water For Chocolate, a poignant love story told from a woman's point of view, takes place on the De la Garza ranch in turn-of-the-century Mexico. Cooking and eating play a central role in the tale. The heroine, Tita, a master chef, was literally born in the kitchen. Following tradition, her tyrannical mother decrees that Tita as the youngest must not marry but must instead care for her mother in old age. Unable to communicate freely, Tita concocts recipes so magically potent as to convey her emotions to all who eat her creations- even the chickens-with often hilarious results. Narrator Yareli Arizmendi, who stars in the hit film of this title, puts in a powerful performance. This audiobook will find a large, enthusiastic audience in public libraries.
James Dudley, Copiague, N.Y.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Esquivel structures her story into 12 chapters, with each one representing a month and each centered on a different recipe that is made step-by-step throughout the chapter. The author uses Tita’s knowledge of life based on the kitchen and her ability to communicate various emotions through her cooking to intertwine the recipes into the storyline, which sets it apart from any other love story. Esquivel metaphorically ties Tita’s emotions to all of the food she creates, showing how the simple act of cooking can convey love, sensuality, lust, and many other emotions. Esquivel intrigues a profound sexual desire in many of the characters solely through the food that Tita cooks. The recipes in each chapter add a unique aspect to the novel because of the way that they show the characters’ depth and change as their lives move forward. Tita’s food transforms depending on her mood and also affects the people who consume it in many ways, including causing everyone at her sister’s wedding to throw up from her tears in the cake. The repetitive metaphor of passion and emotion through food throughout the book keeps the book interesting, especially for someone who enjoys cooking. Despite the fact that this book is not a hard read and does not have exceptionally challenging language, the creative fashion that Esquivel writes provokes the reader’s senses and keeps the reader engaged. Esquivel develops the characters in a relatable way because of their realistic faults and problems, allowing the reader to be able to relate.
Although the simple language in some ways positively contributed to the story, the basic vocabulary weakened the effects of some scenes. The writing also lacked complex syntax and literary devices for the majority of the novel. At times in the novel it seemed as though Esquivel focused more on details than providing rich, intricate language and literary devices to the reader. The for the most part basic vocabulary and a lack of depth create a delivery of one-dimensional characters. The novel also epitomizes the rudimentary love story where the girl always ends up with her first, true love. There are also times where the book takes random turns leaving the reader confused and unaware of what is fantasy and what is reality. In turn this causes the magical realism aspects of the novel to seem slightly awkward at times. Although this novel lacks the language and depth to be one of the great love stories, its profound originality forms a great blend of agonizing romance and arouses all kinds of emotions and senses.
By Cameron Thompson
There are a few issues to blame for this. First of all, Esquivel's writing is just average, which cannot be blamed on a loss of finesse during English translation. The prose is lacking poetry, the fantastical scenes seem forced and scripted, and the characters are one-dimensional, even stereotypical. Not even the protagonist, Tita, is very likeable - she comes across as slow, submissive, and naive. When she is forced to cook for the wedding of her immature and needy love, Pedro, to her terrible and nasty sister, she goes crazy and has to be sent away to the care of Dr. Brown, who nurtures her back to health. Dr. Brown genuinely cares for Tita and even asks her hand in marriage. Of course Tita can't seem to get over childish Pedro, and ends up returning to her subservient life with her evil mother and sister.
Which leads me to the next issue - the feminist praise for this book is has me a bit perplexed. The message seems to be that, as a female, I am to escape martyrdom by killing all evil female adversaries with my cooking, thus freeing myself from their tyranny (like Tita). Or, conversely, I should ride off naked on a horse while humping the man who is capturing me, then proceed to become a soldier (or better yet - a General!) and travel the world living a bloody and violent life (like Tita's sister). There is something appealing about both of these options - sweet sweet revenge, or complete badass rebel. By the end of the story I was excited for Tita - she had defeated her foes, ascended up the ranks of her household, and seemed to be maturing. At one point I even exclaimed "She's going to marry Dr. Brown!" and rejoiced for her triumph. But alas... the most brutal disappointment, she chooses Pedro. Seriously?
The magical scenes did float my boat a bit, with their sexy eroticism and imaginative far-fetched weirdness. Many of the scenes were rich in detail and the tastes and aromas of the culture and the land. Perhaps some of my positive sentiment is overflow from my love of other, better, magical realism books. The recipes were an interesting addition, and I'd love to cook one or two of them. Overall, if you are new to this genre, I do not recommend starting with this book.
Most recent customer reviews
First half is electric and almost by itself makes it worth it to pick this novel up-- there's rivers of vomit, a complicated love...Read more