- 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 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 727 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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“A tall-tale, fairy-tale, soap-opera romance, Mexican cookbook and home-remedy handbook all rolled into one, Like Water For Chocolate is one tasty entree from first-time novelist Laura Esquivel.”— San Francisco Chronicle
From the Publisher
Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.
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Again, the book is centered around cooking, which is personified throughout the book and is spoken with an air of such love, passion and pride… it becomes something more than just cooking. Cooking is a vector of emotion in this book, the aroma’s, the sounds, the smells, the feelings etc. all reflect Tita’s emotions and thoughts. To reflect this further, a motif is used throughout the book: hot and cold are used constantly to compare good and bad. Mama Elena is almost always described to be frigid, chilling and cold. Whenever Tita is upset or during periods of depression; she is described to have a chronic chilling feeling in her bones. John is described to be warm, symbolizing that he truly loves her and respects her. There is another symbol related to this which will become a prevalent point towards the end of the book. Over and over again, a tiny flame is used to describe internal peace, love and passion. This is what cures Tita of the unbearable coldness. The fire is lit by people that love you and lift you up. To bring the motif of temperature and flame full circle, in cooking heat is often applied to cook something. Before the help of the flame, food is raw and inedible. With the heat, the food is turned into an emotional work of art.
It takes Tita almost the entirety of the novel to find her true self and to understand love and passion. The book is named “Like Water for Chocolate”, because it is describing boiling water. Boiling water is on the brink of boiling over, but it hasn’t and doesn’t boil over. Instead, there is turmoil inside the pot, but nothing on the outside. This is a beautiful and well-thought-out metaphor expressing that Tita wants so badly to stand up to her mother, but her whole life, her mother never acted as a mother to her. Tita spent so much of her life trying to get her mother's approval, even if she didn’t know it fully.
Like Water for Chocolate is a beautiful book, it is a book that withdrawals emotion within us just as it does in the book. This book will make you smile and then make you angry and then make you cry, with tears of love and sadness. It is not an easy read, emotionally… probably because the message of this book resonates so deeply within us.