Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Like Water for Chocolate

Title: Like Water for Chocolate
Author: Laura Esquival
Country: Mexico
Year: 1990
Rating: B+ Pages: 246 pgs.

I've finally gotten around to reading another book from my Reading Across Borders Challenge. Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquival, is an enchanting story. It's largely a story about Tita, a young woman that grows up near Piedras Negras, as small Mexican town on the edge of the Rio Grande, and close to the US-Mexico border. Tita is forbidden from marrying her true love Pedro due to an outdated family tradition that dictates the youngest daughter must care for her mother until her death. In despair, Pedro marries Tita's older sister in order to be closer to his love. What follows is an adventure in magical realism and gastronomic delights.

This is yet one more book that makes me wish I could read and/or speak fluent Spanish. It's a wonderful story, but I feel I still miss out on something in translation. I absolutely loved the storyline of how her emotions were transmitted through her cooking; the magical power of food. Unfortunately, I did not like Pedro at all. The whole book, I was rooting for Tita to get over her first love. Especially towards the end of the novel, he just seemed too whiny and jealous for his own good.

The first sign of Tita's emotions portrayed through food:
'When she finished beating the meringue, it occurred to Nacha to lick some of the icing off her finger to see if Tita's tears had affected the flavor. No, the flavor did not seem to have been affected; yet without knowing why, Nacha was suddenly overcome with an intense longing. She frosted the cake with the meringue icing as well as she could and went to her room, a terrible aching in her heart. She cried all night, and the next morning she didn't have the strength to help with the wedding.'

5 comments:

teabird said...

A friend gave me this book a few years ago, saying it was one of her all-time favorites... I liked it, but probably would have really loved it were I a person who liked to cook!
I like your review --
melanie

iliana said...

This is one of my favorites. Have you seen the film? I highly recommend it. Very fun.

Literary Feline said...

I saw the movie when it was first released on DVD, but I have yet to read the book. Like Melanie, I prefer to stay out of the kitchen and so I think that's partly what has kept me away from the book. Maybe I will give it a go anyway.

Nyssaneala said...

@ iliana - I saw the film a few years ago, it is really good!

@ melanie and literary feline - I love to cook, but the recipes in the book are probably not ones I would be able to make very often!

Bookchronicle said...

The relationship between food and the characters in this book was brilliant, and I definitely understand about the desire to speak Spanish!