One delicious read

June 9, 2010 at 10:06 am Leave a comment

Like Water for Chocolate is Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel’s first and arguably most celebrated novel that enjoyed huge success not only in her native country but also abroad. The novel was translated into 23 languages and was made into a film in 1992.

The book is divided into twelve chapters which are named after the twelve months of the year. Each chapter opens with a recipe along with an accompanying outline of how to make it. Afterwards, the reader finds this dish somewhere in the chapter and realizes the connection it makes with the protagonist’s experiences.

The story revolves around Josefita Dela Garza who is better known by her nickname Tita. Her life is filled with love for cooking and it is her recipes that will ignite the whole course of the story. Tita is trapped in the cruel tradition of the Dela Garza family; that the youngest daughter must remain unmarried and is supposed to take care of their mother until she dies. So when her lover, Pedro Muzquiz, asks for her hand in marriage, her mother (named Mama Elena) forbade it and instead, she offers her eldest daughter, Rosaura to marry him. To the astonishment of Pedro’s father, his son agrees to the proposal but he revealed that he only did it to become closer to Tita.

The book's movie adaptation

As the story goes, Pedro and Tita fall deeper in love with each other and Mama Elena dislikes it. She takes several measures to separate them but it is Tita’s cooking that acts as a medium between them. However, it is not as easy as it looks because the highly traditional Dela Garza family proves to be a harsh opponent.

Like Water for Chocolate is a very entertaining read as the story just flows at a quick pace and will not leave its readers bored. The characters are especially commendable because they represent different aspects and outlooks of people. Tita and Pedro are emotionally determined and would take risks to pursue their love. Mama Elena is an image of a strong and tradition-driven woman and would not tolerate any change. Tita’s older sisters are contrasting; Rosaura is bothered by pressures and insecurities of being the eldest daughter while the middle sister Gertrudis is carefree yet she’s worried of her sisters’ welfare and the agony the tradition brings to them.

This novel gets an added plus factor to those who love to cook with its sumptuous recipes, thus, making Like Water for Chocolate a truly delicious read. – Zizi Arcega

Entry filed under: Bibliophiles, Spotlight. Tags: , , .

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