This is a near-perfect example of the seamless blending of genres - a romance and a cookbook. I pulled my hair in frustration with the main character's circumstances - everything seemed completely out of control; yet she perseveres, she makes the best of a bad situation and gives her love in a whole different kind of oral pleasure - food.
The fate of her poor sister struck me as one of the saddest things I've read. Recommended for foodies, for lovers of complex romance, and for anyone who appreciates a complex, family fiction story.
FANTASTIC love story. If you've seen the movie already, put it out of your mind before you read this book - they are different, as many movie adaptations differ from the written form. However, this is a wonderful love story that will draw you in and hold you right to the end.
A pretty surprising ending. Not at all what I was expecting. Some of those recipes sound really good (but a really lot of work!) The story itself was a quick read, not overly ga-ga and it was well translated. I don't yet know if I want to see the movie though... Hmmm...
I normally don't read romantic stories like this. Ok, maybe I do, but I'm afraid to admit it. I just did. I have to say the way each chapter started with a recipe and then blended into the chapter seamlessly was amazing and kept me intrigued all the way through.
I read this for a class, but it was more than homework. I really enjoyed it.
Enjoyed this very much. Came to it from seeing the movie. Loved the recipes in the movie (one of the cooking genre that includes Babette's Feast and Eat Drink Man Woman) and in the book. A really good read.
This style of writing was new to me, yet I longed for more after I was finished. Well developed characters. You will laugh, hold your breathe, and cry. Take a chance on this book, and you will not be disappointed.
A novel, made to read one section each month. With tall-tales, fairy-tails, soap-opera romances, Mexican cookbook and home-remedy handbook all rolled into one.
Savory, tasteful, and satisfying.
... Side Note: If you liked or loved this book then you'll scream-out in shear pleasure over her other bok "The Law Of Love" which comes with visually stunning illustrations and also provides and auditory experience as well as it comes with a music CD.
Read this 14 yrs ago and liked it very much then. At the time it seemed unique in its format. And the writing was fresh and different. What does the title refer to? When you heat/melt chocolate (an aphrodisiac) over a pan of water, the water must be simmering hot (not boiling). So is love. If you have a passion for food, this is a good read.
I love, love, love this book! I've re-read it probably five times. I can't help but get sucked into the tragic love story, and it's a wonderful translation from the Spanish - much more accessible than, say, Love in the Time of Cholera.
Tita is the youngest of three daughters, living on her tyrant mother's farm in Mexico. As tradition dictates, Tita will never marry, but must care for her mother until she dies. This seems all the more unfair when Tita falls in love. Knowing that she cannot break tradition, her love marries her ugly, fat, undesirable sister, Rosaura, in an attempt to be near Tita, the girl he really loves. When eldest sister, Gertrudis, bucks tradition for her own love, Tita's world suddenly seems less black and white than ever before.
Had to read this for a literature course at Salve Regina University. Great book about, God, I'm gonna say Mexico...but it's been a while. Fascinating literary analogies and provides a true insight into Mexico's past.
I had forgotten how much fun this book might be. Years ago I saw and enjoyed the movie but had not yet read the book written by Esquivel. The movie won ten awards. Unique in its approach, this is the story of a passionate love affair between Tita and Pedro. Thwarted by Mama Elena, her mother, Tita pours all the love she has into her cooking. It is traditional, her mother says, that the youngest daughter stay unmarried to take care of her mother until she dies. To assure that Pedro is unattainable she bullies him into marrying her daughter, Rosaura. However, with the emotion Tita pours into her culinary creations, strange events occur. Guests at the wedding of Pedro and Rosaura experience food poisoning, a sister runs stark naked into the community and is taken by a revolutionary officer on his horse and they both ride away, and when Rosaura and Pedro's daughter, Esperanza, is married the guests become most amourous and leave the wedding early. Truly enjoyed this story and recommend it to anyone who enjoys strange occurrences, ghosts, and visions as created by this talented Mexican author.
Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel's Like water for chocolate is a light, quick read. Tita, the youngest daughter, is bound by tradition to stay single and take care of her mother in her old age. When Pedro falls in love with her and asks for her hand in marriage, Tita's mother suggests that an older sister is available instead. To be near his true love, Pedro marries the sister. Tita, a wonderful cook, prepares meals that with effects tinged with magical realism as the love triangle progresses. Subtitled as "a novel in monthly installments, with recipes, romances, and home remedies," the story arc is pretty easy to follow, although some of the characters are not. This was a whimsical debut novel on the list of 1001 books you must read before you die.
OurMissBooks - reviewed Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate) on
I did enjoy this book and found it intriguing, which means I'm not sure I understood all of it. Parts of it seemed somewhat surreal or perhaps impressionistic because it described events that just didn't sound like they could happen in real life. I think the author was trying to convey more emotion and passion than literal description in this story of two people who, though in love with each other, are kept apart for most of their lives. Each chapter includes a recipe, with much of the activity centering around the kitchen and cooking terms used to describe those emotions and passions. Overall, I'd recommend it.
I really enjoyed this book, which combined realism with more "magical" or surreal elements. I especially liked how each chapter began with a recipe, and the book ties these recipes to the happenings in the characters' lives.
I think that I was the only one who never saw the film version of this book. I was more intrigued with how they wove the recipes and food into the book and also with the installment quality that it had. This book is racy, but tame compared to many trashy beach novels. It was an okay read, I suppose, but I wouldn't give it a standing ovation. I must say I'd rather not see the film if it's the same as or worse than the graphic portions of the novel.
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. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef. She shares special points of her favorite preparations with listeners throughout the story.
Not a bad book, but I wasn't very impressed. The writing style was very unique, I've never read one quite like it. That said, the book left me feeling like something is lacking somehow. I guess from the other reviews, I'm the only one! :)
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is a magical novel about romance and forbidden love set in Mexico. In this novel, Tita, the youngest daughter of Mama Elena is doomed to live a life without love. Her controlling widowed mother forces poor Tita to continue the tradition of the youngest daughter devoting her life to her mother. She is forbidden to marry. This is a cruel fate for a girl who has found her soul mate, Pedro. And it's even worse when her mother arranges for her oldest daughter Rosaura to marry her beloved Pedro. He consents because he sees that it will be the only way he can still remain in Tita's life.
When Tita was ordered to make the wedding cake for Pedro and Rosaura, she couldn't help but weep into the batter. And then something magical happened. At the first bite of the cake, the guests were flooded with uncontrollable sorrow for lost loves. Everyone started weeping and wailing and ended up vomiting up all their pain. That was the first of many instances where the essence of Tita's emotions was cooked into the meals.
The chapters of the book are broken up into months of the year, each of which is accompanied by a recipe that Tita cooks. As she cooks her way through the year, we see Pedro's and Tita's love grow stronger and more complicated. We discover secrets and changes in Mama Elena and her sisters Gertrudis and Rosaura.
I loved this novel. It was stuffed with fantasy, peppered with emotions, and deep fried in a hot and undying love. It was totally original story, not a cookie-cutter romance. Read other reviews at http://readinginthegarden.blogspot.com
I had great expectations of this book, as it was a book club choice. I spent the majority of the time irritated and annoyed with the protagonist. She chose to be a victim again and again, even with many options to the contrary. On the positive side, a appreciated the mysticism and the way in which emotions were physically manifest in the food.
I found this book to be a really fun and interesting read; I love the uniquely Mexican style of the story. It is well paced until the end, when it suddenly speeds up and throws in a twist ending which was confusing enough for me to read back a few pages to realize what was going on. The recipes are not really useable, since they call for things like "3 grams of salt pork, 1 gram of pork brain or other scraps" and then the story weaves in and out of the recipe, making it near impossible to follow, but it does make the story more colorful.
Delicious, imaginative, unusual, magical, sensual - this is a very different and original book and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it! It's the story of Tita, the youngest girl in the De la Garza family and by tradition doomed never to marry but remain to care for her tyrannical, hateful mother till she dies. Taught from childhood to obey, she can do nothing as her sweetheart is given to her sister to marry. The family cook Nacha teaches her all the traditional recipes, and the kitchen becomes her domain and refuge as she suffers through life. Throughout the story, Tita's family recipes are sprinkled like tasty tidbits, along with descriptions of how to prepare the food. The story is elevated by the strange and sometimes humorous fantasy elements narrated as though they were perfectly normal everyday happenings. A wonderful book and a must-read.
In turn-of-the-century Mexico, fifteen-year-old Josefita de la Garza - nicknamed Tita - lives on the family ranch with her mother Mama Elena, and her two older sisters - Rosaura and Gertrudis. According to family tradition, Tita - as the youngest daughter of an affluent rancher - must never marry but stay home and take care of her mother until she dies. For Tita, this family tradition is restricting and very old-fashioned - but as much as she hates it, Tita is still bound by that tradition. Instead, she turns all her pent-up desire toward cooking - expressing herself through the food that she prepares.
When Tita falls in love with her next door neighbor Pedro - and he with her - Tita's tyrannical mother steps in and invokes family tradition, denying Pedro's request for her youngest daughter's hand in marriage. Instead, Mama Elena offers Pedro the hand of her daughter Rosaura and, in order to stay close to Tita, Pedro accepts her offer. And so the story spans the next twenty-two years, detailing Tita and Pedro's unconsummated passion for each other; as well as their bittersweet and complicated romance.
I must say that I debated with myself whether or not to read this, but in the end I'm so glad that I chose to read it. Mareena had gotten the book for me as a 'just because' gift for July of 2012 - but having watched the 1992 movie with one of her friends a while ago - she wasn't too sure if I would actually want to read it. So, the book languished on my TBR pile for a little over two years.
I actually enjoyed this book very much. I found that the story was whimsical and almost fairytale-like in places. It was really quite captivating to me, and I give this book an A+!
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The unusual title expresses the idea that true passion boils with the intensity of water for (hot)chocolate. Each chapter begins with a recipe that the main character learns from her grandmother, but the underlying theme is the sensuousness of good food and its preparation which is a metaphor for good love and its preparation. I would describe this as the most passionate story (without explicitness or tawdriness) that has been written. The story follows the life of a Mexican girl into adulthood and love. Ladies, READ THIS BOOK.
I know this was a best seller and got all sorts of great reviews, but I didn't get it. Maybe I am incredibly shallow and didn't pick up on the underlying themes. But some of the recipes sounded interesting, although pretty much out of my culinary league.
R. S. reviewed Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate) on
Equal parts fairly tale, Harlequin romance and cookbook. This unique book is a quick, read and highly enjoyable. I bet the heroine, Tita, will stay with a lot of women long after they've put this book down.
I had seen the movie but the book was even better. What a great love story and the ending was so powerful I cried more reading it and I already knew what would happen. have seen movie since and it was even better after I read the book. the recipes are good too but you must know metric measures to make them and some seem very huge.
A fantastic work of magical realism. A story of romance and the traditional family in Mexico at the turn of the century. While women in the story have little "real" power, they make all sorts of magic through their cooking and the dark, domestic arts!
Matthew S. reviewed Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate) on
I'm obviously not the intended audience for Like Water for Chocolate (23 years old, white, and male), but I also like to think that I'm a pretty indiscriminate reader. As long as the writing is good, the characters believable, and the story interesting, I can find something to enjoy in just about anything. With that being said, I cannot recommend this book. There's far too much magic and not nearly enough realism.
Charming interpretation of life in the turn-of-the-century Mexico. "Part fantasy, part cookbook, part comedy and wholly romantic, "Like Water for Chocolate" is a savory recipe to enjoy." Johnny Depp starred in the movie adaptation.
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.