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Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies Paperback – October 1, 1995

4.1 out of 5 stars 713 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

Take one part Whitney Otto's How To Make an American Quilt (McKay, 1991), add a smidgen of magical realism a la Garcia Marquez, follow up with several quixotic characters, garnish with love, and you'll have Like Water for Chocolate , a thoroughly enjoyable and quirky first novel by Mexican screenwriter Esquivel. Main character Tita is the youngest of three daughters born to Mama Elena, virago extraordinaire and owner of the de la Garza ranch. Tita falls in love with Pedro, but Mama Elena will not allow them to marry, since family tradition dictates that the youngest daughter remain at home to care for her mother. Instead, Mama Elena orchestrates the marriage of Pedro and her eldest daughter Rosaura and forces Tita to prepare the wedding dinner. What ensues is a poignant, funny story of love, life, and food which proves that all three are entwined and interdependent. Recommended for most collections.
- Peggie Partello, Keene State Coll., N.H.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038542017X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385420174
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (713 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really had no idea what this novel was about when I started reading it. My book club chose it as their monthly selection, so I went into it blindly. Imagine my surprise...
Like Water for Chocolate is part love story/part fantasy that delves into the lives of a Mexican family during the Mexican Revolution. Tita, the youngest of three daughters, is the victim of harsh family tradition--she cannot marry and is subject to a life of taking care of her mother until the day she dies. What a shame for poor Tita, who is desperately in love with Pedro. So Pedro marries Tita's older sister in order to stay close to Tita. What happens after that can only happen in Soap Opera Land.
Very mystical, erotic and enjoyable until the last page, Like Water for Chocolate will definitely be remembered for a long time to come. Laura Esquivel has done a wonderful job writing this exceptionally creative, imaginative tale. Now I'm off to see how the movie compares!
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By A Customer on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Like Water for Chocolate is a novel that will be enjoyed by all romantics regardless of age, gender or culture. It is a tale of true love, family traditions and family secrets. Laura Esquirel writes in a most unique style, giving the reader "monthly installments" of "recipes and home remedies." Each chapter starts with a recipe and begins with Tita, skillfully executing a meal. Tita, literally born in the kitchen, has the ability to communicate her love and various emotions through food. This book takes plac during the Mexican Revolution and chronicles the events of three daughters and one very controlling Mama. The youngest daughter, Tita, is not permitted to marry, but is expected to care to care for her Mama till the day she dies. Unfortunately, Tita does not learn of this tradition until after she has fallen in love with Pedro, her soul mate. The story really takes off when Mama refuses to allow Tita to marry Pedro but instead offers Tita's sister Rosaura to Pedro. You will have to read the book to find out how it all develops. But, trust me it is worth it. This book will make you laugh and cry, your heart will ache and sing and strangely you mouth will water for the food prepared by Tita.
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A Kid's Review on January 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel, is the perfect love story filled with home remedies and delicious monthly recipes. In the early 1900's, a beautiful baby girl named Tita is born in Mexico. As she grows older, she becomes more beautiful and is drawn to her true love, Pedro. As the youngest of three daughters in the De la Garza family, a tradition states that Tita is forbidden to marry and must always care for her strict Mama Elena (p. 10). Tita and Pedro both search for a way to be together. As Tita grows closer to Pedro, Mama Elena begins to lose her respect and claims that she will never die and always haunt Tita for disobeying her (p. 173). This romantic fiction uses realistic details to describe the all of the food and people that are found at the De la Garza ranch.

With over two million copies in print, I would call Like Water for Chocolate an amazing and outstanding book. This is a great book for someone who enjoys love stories. You may also want to read it if you want to learn some home remedies or culinary skills. Since part of this book is a Mexican cookbook, it really sets itself apart from other love stories. Though in those love stories, there is usually a torn or restricted love between two characters as it is in Like Water for Chocolate. With every new monthly recipe, Esquivel also gives new home remedies packed with a lot of detail. You really have to pay attention to the story and what is going on to understand it, otherwise the ending will confuse you.

With all of the passionate love going on, junior high students would best not read this book. It is a little too mature and should be read by high school students or adults.

I have enjoyed this book a lot.
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By A Customer on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Like Water for Chocolate is classic romance-tragedy novel. This novel is rich in symbolism, family secrets and broken taboos. The story takes place in Mexico during the Revolution. Tita, the youngest of three daughters, narrates the story. The story surrounds the forbidden love between Pedro and Tita. Tita being the youngest is expected to forgo marriage and take care of her Mama until she dies. However, this does not deter Pedro and in an effort to be near to Tita, he marries her sister.Resulting in the whole family living under the same roof. The only way Tita and Pedro can express their love is through Tita's cooking. Tita has the ability to prepare exotic food with erotic effects. In one chapter she had received roses from Pedro and with the pedals prepared a dish of Quail and Rose Pedals. The dish had an extraordinary effect on the family. Upon eating the meal, the family was overcome with emotions of love and longing. With this newfound love language Tita and Pedro were able to communicate their forbidden love. The author, Laura Esquirel, writes in such a creative fashion provoking the sense and providing vivid images of sight as well as smell. This unusal novel combines a magical romance of true love with a mystical fairy tale, resulting in an enjoyable experience for any reader.
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