Friday, December 12, 2014

113:120 Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Set in the early 19th century in Mexico we follow the story of Tita, the third and youngest daughter born to a well-off family who cried so much while in the womb as her mother chopped onions that she was born early right there in the kitchen.  As the youngest, it is her lot to never marry and instead spend her life taking care of her mother.  When she falls in love as a young teenager, her mother in a fit of spite marries the oldest daughter off to Tita's love in stead and forces Tita to make the wedding cake.  Tita makes a beautiful cake, infused with her tears which when eaten at the wedding causes all the guests to turn to melancholy thoughts of old loves and sends everyone out of the hall in tears.  As Tita's life continues, she continues to perfect her cooking and the cake is not the last meal she serves that imparts her emotions to those that partake of it.  She spends many years pining after that which she can't have and any happiness she finds stripped away from her by her mother but in the end, she can finally say that she has found what she always longed for.

I think I picked this one up from a Freecycle book lot or something because it is not something that I would normally have just bought.  The story itself borders on tragic almost the whole way through with only brief pauses as Tita finds happiness briefly before it is lost again.  Her mother seems to be a sadistic and cruel person who delights in making Tita's life as miserable as possible and you can't help but hate her completely.  Each month/chapter starts with a recipe which look interesting although I doubt I would ever make any of them but it was a nice twist to include since food and cooking is such a huge part of Tita's life.  I want to say that I enjoyed this book but I can't, it was just too depressing to actually enjoy.  It was good, simple but well written, but definitely not something uplifting or joyful.  Think more along the lines of Romeo and Juliet.

Page count: 246p/31,667p ytd/212,705p lifetime

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