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Chocolat (Chocolat #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  75,868 ratings  ·  2,846 reviews
Greeted as "an amazement of riches ... few readers will be able to resist" by The New York Times, Chocolat is an enchanting novel about a small French town turned upside down by the arrival of a bewitching chocolate confectioner, Vianne Rocher, and her spirited young daughter.
Paperback, 306 pages
Published November 1st 2000 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1999)
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I Only Watched the Movie!
22nd out of 917 books — 5,156 voters
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The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
17th out of 816 books — 8,715 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robyn Groth
There is a lot more going on in this novel than a simple "Catholics bad. Pagans good." theme that seems to offend readers so much that they miss everything else. Some subjects found in this story:

letting go - of children as they grow up and of loved ones who die

moving on - from bad relationships and harmful habits


facing your fears

loving friends/family/strangers for who they are

the assumptions people make about each other

the right to die

heeding your own advice

tolerance/eradicating t
Will Byrnes
When Vianne Roche blows into Lansquenet-Sous-Tannes, a sleepy French town, on the tail of carnival she brings with her a touch of witchcraft and huge gobs of humanity. Accompanied by her daughter, Anouk, her imaginary pet rabbit, and a wealth of knowledge not only of how to make the finest confections, but how to see into people’s souls, she is destined to stir things up. The darkness to her light is the local priest, Francis Reynaud, who makes it his business to try to rid the town of this impu ...more
Like so many people I read the book after I saw the movie. I can see why people would be upset with the book after seeing the movie - the book is a different story in many ways. I think the tone of the book threw me off more than anything.

I have to say I really enjoyed both the book and the movie. I think it is rare to read a book and have it be almost verbatim what you experience in the movie (The Princess Bride is the only exception I can think of off the top of my head) so if I like a movie
Having read and loved Five Quarters of the Orange Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris by Joanne Harris, I was really looking forward to reading Chocolat. Unfortunalty this particular book just didnt suit me.

I didn't enjoy the plot of the novel and the found the characters underdeveloped and no sense of time and place. I rarly rate a novel 1 star but I found nothing in this stroy to to keep me entertained and I felt like I was reading each chapter over and over. I did finish the book as I was waiting for something to happen that w
Chocolate, crazy-fun old ladies, Bible thumpers learning to lighten up, French people, witchcraft, and sexy gypsies.

Come on, say no to any of those things. I dare you.
Let me start this review by saying I have never seen the film version of Chocolat. Therefore, I started reading this with no preconceived notions. (Well, no more than usual, anyway.)

I liked Chocolat but there were several glaring annoyances that ruined it for me.
I did not appreciate the "chocolate lovers vs. churchgoers" plot. Casting a priest in the role of the villain irritated me. (I echo the others who say this is overdone.) Even so, I think the priest could have been redeemed. If only he ha
Devlin Scott
I dare anyone to read this novel and not hunger for something sweet.

This is a wonderful tale of family and magic and hope. It is not your typical romance and well worth the time. You may find yourself wishing for a confection or two...before you've finished reading.

I enjoyed reading this book very much. A little bit of magic, good people, bad people, gypsies, little songs in French, an imaginary friend, love, loss, mystery and more chocolate drink than I could have imagined. The names of the candies made my mouth water. The story made me laugh at things a little girl can say it made me cry over an old man and his old dog. It made me think about what it means to hear someone say that they had lived a good life and how they wanted that life to end on their o ...more
I began reading this book before the film came out because I wanted to see the film, and I usually like to read the book first since the book is better. At the beginning of my reading, it was clear why this book was turned into a movie: it had a very clear, plot-driven narrative. As I continued reading, I felt that this book was the first book I'd read that made me understand what a professor of mine meant when he explained Hemingway's Iceberg Theory: that 90% of what a writer is saying is under ...more
Joanne Harris made me long to move to Europe. More fantasizing about small town, rural life. And the descriptions of the chocolate left me dreaming about rose creams, amaretto, pain au chocolat...why is it that these books that leave me hungry and dissatisfied are some of my favorites? Really.

This book is full of luscious sentences, beautiful descriptions, and alluring personalities. It's different from the movie - but both have the same spirit of magical glamor. And both make me need to go get
Edith Fischer
I liked the style, alternating chapters narrated by the heroine,chocolate shop owner Vianne Rocher, and her nemesis, the village priest. The book creates charming images of creativity and sensitivity on the part of Vianne, contrasted with dark images of guilt and rigidity on the part of the priest. Free spirits versus conforming traditionalists. Love and friendship versus control and manipulation. Color and joie de vivre versus blackness and regret. Hints of deeper mystery in the past.
Chocolat was exactly the kind of novel I needed at the moment. I discarded books left and right, I was in the mood for something literary and after re-watching the movie - I settled on this one. I decided to savor it as one would a piece of chocolate, slowly, letting it melt into my mouth so that I could absorb the flavor better.

The book is similar to the movie and yet very different - surprisingly I like both in their own way. It was a beautiful novel, full of magic, luscious descriptions of ch
Lo ammetto, comprare questo libro maliziosamente intitolato 'Chocolat' è stato più un peccato di gola, che un vero e proprio slancio letterario. Non sono quindi rimasta sorpresa - semmai inondata dall'acquolina - quando, sfogliando le pagine ed inghiottendo le righe di Joanne Harris ho sentito soffiare un vento di magia che è possibile annusare nella dolce fragranza di cioccolato. Sono invece rimasta stupita dalla capacità letteraria di questa scrittrice di origini un po' inglesi e un po' france ...more
I did not like this book. I didn't think the author developed the characters well enough that I could even tell them apart by half-way through. There was not enough for me to develop emphathy for anyone in the book except the guy with the little, old dog.

I also have a problem with an author being so blatant about the axe they have to grind with any particular group. I thought the book was anti-religious and anti-Catholic, specifically. I am not of the thought or feeling that anyone has to be rel
"I believe that being happy is the only important thing. Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or torturous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive."

If you've watched the movie from a few years back and you've only decided just now to pick up the book where the movie was based on, prepare to be surprised (although in what way exactly, I leave it to you). I can hardly believe that a novel so richly packed with meaning could be so relatively short. Harris' prose here is at its finest, as we follow
Chocolat was good for the sort of fluffy, non-literary sort of book that it is. Vianne, who is a witch of sorts, arrives with her young daughter in a small French town and opens a chocolate shop. Her sensual, outsider ways began to change the lives of the townspeople and invokes the ire of the local priest. This is an enjoyable, light read, but one thing that confused me was when the novel was taking place. I remember reading a part about someone watching videos, but the idea of a priest being u ...more
Seperti cokelat berkualitas yang meleleh perlahan di mulut, Joanne Harris merangkai kisahnya tanpa terburu-buru, mengajak pembaca menjelajahi kota Lansquenet yang sunyi dan muram, mengenal satu per satu warganya dengan masalah mereka masing-masing, membayangkan jenis-jenis cokelat menggiurkan yang dimasak Vianne Rocher setiap hari, mengembuskan aroma lezat sekaligus angin perubahan ke kota yang serba kaku itu.

Seperti kertas cantik pembungkus cokelat yang disusun berlapis-lapis, kisah Vianne Roch
I must have read Chocolat quite a few times by now. It's an entrancing book: I didn't used to want to admit I'd read it, with its sensuality and femininity and the barely-there magic, but I now admit to it gladly -- I've read almost all of Joanne Harris' output, and I love the way she writes. There's something moreish about it, no matter what she's writing about. A lot of her stories have a similar sort of narrative arc; I wouldn't read too many of them back to back. But it's a comforting warm w ...more
Kristen Gurri
Really really good book. Not what I thought it would be. Usually I cringe to read a book that became a movie. But this book makes me want to either move to a small village in France or start making fancy candy. I also liked the narration shifts and alternating perspectives. It put a little edge and anticipation to the story.
A delicious whimsical read not to be read while on any kind of diet. Seriously. It's torture. While in the middle of this novel, I couldn't fight the urge to whip up a batch of brownies, as that was the only chocolate product in my house I could indulge in. It only took me so long to read such short a novel because I got caught up watching, or rather re-watching Downton Abbey. The withdrawal is killing me! Anywho, I probably would've finished it in three days. I was addicted to it, like I am to ...more
I fell in love with the movie when I watched it some years ago so I bought Joanne Harris’ book but it has been languishing on my shelves since then. Now that I finally read it, I found the book is just as delicious. Although there are some small deviations in the story line, i.e. revealing the secrets of Monsignor Reynaud and Vianne’s past, the book succeeds in magically enchanting the senses: smell (“wood smoke curling in the air”), touch (“cool hands on forehead…curls tickling my face”), visio ...more
** 4 magical and delicious stars **

V'là l'bon vent, v'là l'joli vent
V'lá l'bon vent, ma mie m'appelle.

I've been meaning to read this book for years now, well, since after I watched the film adaptation for the 1st time. And yes, I lost count how many times I watched it... and I can't blame all on Johnny Depp,ahaha.

Anyway, it was indeed time to read it, because usually, the book is always a whole lot better than the movie. And in many accounts that happened here, except the romantic part of i
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as it was listed on Goodreads as a Romance and I don't usually go in for Romance novels. However, I had heard so many good things about it and I really enjoyed Harris' style of writing in Five Quarters of the Orange. I haven't watched the movie either.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Vianne, the main character, is not only the owner of a chocolate shop in a small French village, but also a witch. I thought that Harris did a tremendous job
Bitter orange cracknel, apricot marzipan rolls, cerisette russe, white rum truffles, manon blac. crêpes, pain au chocolat, various types of couverture, and countless chocolate beverages, all fill the air of Vianne Rocher’s chocolate shop, La Celeste Praline. Vianne and her young daughter, Anouk, move to Lansquenet hoping to find themselves a permanent home. However, instead they find a criticizing community in which anything not considered normal is outcast. Chocolat, by Joanne Harris, occurs du ...more
Chocolat is one of those books that you hear about. You hear how good it is. You’re familiar with the highly successful film. You’ve been meaning to read it for years but it just hasn’t happened yet. It kind of seems like maybe you’ll never get around to it.

I finally got around to it and surprise of surprises I should never have waited. If all of Joanne Harris’ novels are as addictively engaging as Chocolat than I’ve found a new ‘must read’ author and I can’t tell how much nerdy joy that brings
Mar 08, 2008 Yrinsyde rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Stories of life, food, and conflict
Shelves: own
This is a powerful book, very evocative of the sights, smells and sounds of France and its food, especially chocolate! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and had to force myself to slow down! I watched the movie afterwards, which did not do justice to the novel at all. It changed the menace from being the catholic priest to the mayor of the town, which destroyed any power that the movie could have had and instead, made it twee. The movie director inserted parts in the plot that were not in the nove ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Tez marked it as down-with-this-sort-of-thing

It seems I took my time reading the book Chocolat.

As for 'getting into the book' that was difficult. I kept comparing the book with the movie.
What a huge difference! Even the 'looks' are different. In the book Vianne has long black hair, and Roux, played by Johnny Depp in the movie, has red hair.

The movie is really great, but it is not like the book. So much detail has gone missing in the movie.

I enjoyed the book very much, but I would rather see the movie and the book as two different stories.

Very enjoyable

I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm giving it a 3 1/2 score in the best possible way.
As soon as I discovered that one of my favorite movies was a book, I knew I wanted to read it. It was just a matter of finding it on one of my frequent book jaunts, ravishing the clearance wracks at my favorite discount stores. As she rang me out one of the sweet little sales associates commented that this book was one of her favorites and I would enjoy it. I told her how I loved the movi
This was a sweet (in more ways than one) book, a little magical, & a nice easy read.
I never saw the movie but now I will make it a point to.
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Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre pr ...more
More about Joanne Harris...

Other Books in the Series

Chocolat (3 books)
  • The Girl with No Shadow (Chocolat, #2)
  • Peaches for Father Francis (Chocolat, #3)
Five Quarters of the Orange Blackberry Wine The Girl with No Shadow (Chocolat, #2) Gentlemen and Players Holy Fools

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“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” 508 likes
“I could do with a bit more excess. From now on I'm going to be immoderate--and volatile--I shall enjoy loud music and lurid poetry. I shall be rampant.” 150 likes
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