Like Water for Chocolate

May 31, 2010

My brother hates reading. He just hates it. I’ve never even attempted to ask him the reason. He read books that were only required to graduate high school, but recently he started to love reading. He is junior in collage, and he finally figured out the joy of reading. During his hard times in high school, he recommended two books out of around 30. Most of the books were left unfinished, because it was too boring for my cool brother. The Poisonwood Bible, and Like Water for Chocolate were the two books he suggested me to read. Although he’s like a bookworm now, he was anti-reader in his high school years. So the fact that he suggested those books meant really special to me. They must be overwhelming mesmerizing.

Indeed, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel has been my pleasure to read it. I finished it off in two days, because I just couldn’t stop reading.

It’s set in Mexico, and the time period is around early 1950s (I’m guessing from the context). A young girl named Tita longs to marry her lover, Pedro, but can never be his wife because of her mother’s upholding of the strict family tradition. According to the tradition, the youngest daughter cannot marry, and has to take care of her mother until the day her mother dies. In the end, a magical spirit allows her to reach her ultimate dream.

The novel revolves around the idea of magical realism. The setting and time create a realistic atmosphere, but magical elements are intertwined to access a deeper understanding of the situation and the reality.

The title of the novel is rather intriguing. Like water for chocolate means a state of boiling point. So, we could take it as a metaphor for a state of passion. Tita’s love and Pedro’s love towards each other is passionate, and amorous; hence, the title gives a sense of romance, already!

I really enjoyed this book, because not only was the organization interesting, but also it was my first time reading a novel that had magical realism incorporated. I hope to seek a second volume.

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