“Life had taught her that it was not that easy; there are few prepared to fulfill their desires whatever the cost, and the right to determine the course of one’s own life would take more effort than she had imagined.”–Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate
- Here’s what happens:
- This is the story of lovesick Tita de la Garza, the youngest daughter of a well-born Mexican family with an aptitude for cooking. Though she is in love with Pedro, she is told by her mother that the youngest daughter must remain single forever to care for her mother in her old age. Throughout the story, she and Pedro pine for each other, and Tita uses her cooking as a way to channel her emotions in this painful and complicated predicament–which produces deliciously unexpected results.
- It’s good because:
- This is magical realism at its very best. Rich and sensual, this story is colorful and dark at the same time, blending the full scope of love–in all its pain and glory–with fantastical elements of folklore, set against the backdrop of revolutionary Mexico. It reminded me of One Hundred Years of Solitude, one of my all-time favorite novels (seriously–I love this book so much I rarely recommend it because I couldn’t bear to hear if someone I knew didn’t enjoy it) with its doomed and eternal portrayal of love and bizarre twists of fate.
- Read if:
- Like me, it’s been a while since you’ve read something you loved. I’ve been in a bit of a book draught (the last book I enjoyed this much was Girl at War, which I read in March!), searching for something I just couldn’t put down. Like Water for Chocolate was that book. Relatively short and extremely quick-paced, this is a standout piece of literature.
Up next: Israel with Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent!