Shriya's Reviews > Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
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Mar 21, 08

Read in January, 2007

What an easily forgettable novel. The language was exceedingly childish, and the style of the novel massacred the subtlety with which magic realism is to be employed. This was my first taste of the famed Latin American style of writing, and I was sorely disappointed.

(Class discussions surrounding this book also bothered me - not only were we forced to read bad literature, we were forced to analyse it for meaningful content.)

The characters were not at all developed successfully; no motivations existed behind some of their actions. The magic realism was not artfully or subtly employed to provide significant insight into the events of the novel. As odd as this may sound, not one of the characters in that book was likeable. One character - and not the main one - had the potential to be developed into a very interesting and powerful figure, but her story was reduced to a side-thread that the author seemingly gave up on.

The plot was childish in nature, with strange sexual undertones that were jarring. Picture if you will, the story of Cinderella - but this time with sex involved. You see? The mind is jarred by the image. In that same vein, the novel attempts to reconcile a highly immature plot line with fairly adult themes.

My first experience with Latin American novels was thus a failure. I suppose I have to thank school for introducing me to better Latin American novels as time went by - this was their way of saying "ok - you've read the wrost one now, it can ONLY get better from here!"
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Pedro (new)

Pedro I couldn't agree more. Latin American literature, however, is a lot more than just Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his army of copycats (Laura Esquivel, Isabel Allende, etc). Please take some time to read the work of Jorge Luis Borges or Roberto Bolaño. You will not be disappointed. Man shall not live by magical realism alone.


Shriya well I mean - I certainly like Marquez well enough - it's his army of copycats that I can't stand! haha - and I've read Allende too - she borrows quite liberally from Marquez, something I didn't realise right away because I read Allende before reading Marquez. hmmm those are authors I've never heard of - I'll be sure to check them out.


Sophia Well, at least somebody understands!


Ashley I completely agree!!!


message 5: by John (new) - rated it 1 star

John The Rabbit Good and accurate review Shriya. I kept waiting for the story to develop something meaningful, but instead it just veers further and further into a "pointless hallucination".


Bruna Lobato I agree with what everybody else has said. I noticed, however, that you all only recommended male Latin American authors. There are some other amazing Latino authors that are not as famous but who are equally good. Some of them are Clarice Lispector, Sandra Cisneros, Hilda Hilst, and Lygia Fagundes Telles, among others.

Also, please don't forget Vargas Llosa!


Jason Is that one interesting character the 3rd sister? Cuz I thought she was definitely the best.


Doris Jean AGREE !


Sabrina I also had to read this for college and I completely agree with you. This book was very pathetic, what a waste of time.


Martina I don't know if you read it in english or spanish, but I'm sure that the spanish version, with the original mexican words is an amazing and unique novel. When the words are translated the sense and meaning of the sentences is often lost.


Sabrina I read it in spanish and contextualized in class by the professor, and I tell you the story was very pathetic and the "magic realism" was poorly executed (or maybe I just didn't get it, but that was my general impression).


Denise I too have read it in both Spanish and English and did not care for it in either language. I felt the same about One Hundred Years of Solitude. I just don't like (or understand) the whole genre.


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