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...
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.
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+!
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.
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 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.
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! :)
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.