[review] Like Water in Chocolate by Laura Esquirel

Youngest daughter Tita’s life was destined for heartbreak thanks to a mother who refuses to let her marry. Half narrative, half cookbook, Tita’s story is about love, loss, and everything in between.

Like Water for Chocolate

I had to read this book for my Women and Literature class, and I’m so glad it was on the syllabus because otherwise I probably never would have read it. While it is outside my normal reading comfort zone, I did enjoy the different writing style and the culture that was represented.

Like Water for Chocolate is a part of the magic realism genre, which is similar to the paranormal YA genre. It is a translated book, and while the translation is really well done, you can hear the original language in the way the sentences are formed. The culture shines through the language and also through the use of traditional recipes and remedies. Every chapter I found myself wanting to learn how to cook just so I could try out one of the delicious sounding recipes. It’s definitely a book you do not want to read on an empty stomach.

The characters sometimes felt as if they were fleshed out and other times felt like they were characters from a fairy tale. They face some very real issues including abuse, rape, suicide, and some pretty horrific ways of dying, but it’s all told in such a straight forward and non-emotional way that sometimes you can hardly believe that the horrible thing happened. This made it difficult for me to form any real connection with the characters or the events, but despite this I still enjoyed the book for its literary merits.

Books with similar aspects

I’ve got nothing for you. I haven’t read enough books :/

recommended to fans of food and different cultures

not recommended to those who don’t like to stray from their YA bubble

Don’t just take my word for it!

“Esquivel uses some interesting and very unique methods to help the reader look into the life of one crazy family and I think her techniques are something to be appreciated.” –Christa @ Hooked on Books

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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7 Responses to [review] Like Water in Chocolate by Laura Esquirel

  1. I’m glad you liked this one, but yeah, if you don’t read a lot of literary fiction, it can be a challenge to relate to the characters.

    As for similar books, anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I’m partial to Chronicle of a Death Foretold), Jeanette Winterson and Haruki Murakami (though he’s a lot drier than the first two). The Girl Who Silenced the Wind by Meg Medina is also a great piece of magic realism, and we can’t forget Chocolat either. ❤

  2. I read this awhile ago, in high school, and really liked it then, but didn’t really read it DEEPLY, so I kind of forgot all the bad stuff, I just remember the one girl like totally wanting to do the other guy. And okay, I realize how much of an idiot I sound like with that comment, hahaha, but seriously high school was like… 8 years ago for me.

  3. I love magical realism, so I’m going to have to put this one on my TBR list. Great Review!

  4. This was such a fabulous little book. So quirky and yet so deep at the same time. And I loved how the recipes at the beginning of each chapter just blended in naturally with the story.

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