Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Like Water for Chocolate” as Want to Read:
Like Water for Chocolate
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Like Water for Chocolate

(Como agua para chocolate #1)

by
3.95  ·  Rating details ·  311,929 ratings  ·  8,314 reviews
Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

The number one bestseller in Mexico and America for almost two years, and subsequently a bestseller around the world, Like Water For Chocolate is a romantic, poignant tale, touched w
...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published September 16th 1993 by Black Swan (first published 1989)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Like Water for Chocolate, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
gourmetkat You could try other magic realism books, e.g. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), Isabel Allende (The House of the Sprits), and…moreYou could try other magic realism books, e.g. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), Isabel Allende (The House of the Sprits), and then there is Jose Amado's Dona Flor and her Two Husbands (which also contains recipes, in this case recipes from Brazil)(less)
Laura I think Mythic fiction is pretty much Magic realism. Crossing the divide between realism and fantasy. Como agua para chocolate tells Tita's joys and…moreI think Mythic fiction is pretty much Magic realism. Crossing the divide between realism and fantasy. Como agua para chocolate tells Tita's joys and sorrows on her love for Pedro, which can't be accomplished because of an old tradition that binds her to take care of her mother all her life. This story could be told as such, as any romance novel. However, what makes it different is that we will find magical and mythical-inspired elements. These blend in with the ordinary and life-like events, so we can't really call it fantasy, but it has this mythical essence to it.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  311,929 ratings  ·  8,314 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Like Water for Chocolate
Ahmad Sharabiani
195. Como agua para chocolate = Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
Like Water for Chocolate is a popular novel, published in 1989 by Mexican novelist and screenwriter Laura Esquivel. The novel follows the story of a young girl named Tita, who longs for her lover, Pedro, but can never have him because of her mother's upholding of the family tradition: the youngest daughter cannot marry, but instead must take care of her mother until she dies. Tita is only able to express herself when s
...more
karen
first things first: let's get rid of that ugly movie cover, and switch to the one i actually read....

okay, better.

this was my final selection for the readventurer challenge. i read them alphabetically, based on the suggester's first name, for arbitrary fairness.

it is strange that i have never read this book, as it is magical realism, doomed love story, and about food, all of which are interests of mine.

here is a quick story that has nothing to do with the book, and i am going to put it in a spoiler for everyone who thinks i am too personal in my bo
...more
Kelly
Nov 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult
This book was disappointing. It felt overwrought and melodramatic.

Tita, the youngest daughter of overbearing Mama Elena, has to give up the hope of ever marrying. It will be her duty to take care of her mother in old age. This becomes a big problem when she meets Pedro. When Pedro learns of Tita's duty to her mother and impossibility of future marriage, he agrees to marry Tita's sister, just so he can be closer to Tita. This sets in motion this fable of unrequited love that is the th
...more
Emily  O
Have you ever finished a book and thought "Man, this is going to be hard to review?" Because that's the first thing I thought when I finished this little book by Laura Esquivel. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments With Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies is a book that really left me conflicted. There were things about it that I absolutely loved, and things about it that made me very angry. The only way I can think to write this review is to explain what I found good and b ...more
Fabian
Jan 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I could not help but fall for this short novel that encapsulates vividly yet simply the lives of these women in Mexico during the Pancho Villa Years. The family unit is both necessary AND a culminating curse-- it's hardly fair that our heroine must not live out the life she desires but the one that is handed down to her. A stupid family tradition (it is true-- mine's a bit like Tita's clan, sure, though not at all) dictates that the youngest daughter gets to take care of the matriarch and never ...more
PorshaJo
What a wonderful, magical story. The tale of women in turn-of-the-century Mexico and how they live their lives. Tita is the main character and what a strong woman she is. This story is told in 12 month chapters though time progresses much faster. Each chapter is started with a recipe. Yes, the kitchen and food is central to this story. You get the details of the recipe and how to make and it's weaved so perfectly into this story.

In a nutshell, Tita is the youngest of three girls. They live on t
...more
Kevin Ansbro
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: foodies
Magical realism is my favourite genre, but this didn't have quite enough ooomph for me, though it was a pleasant enough read.
There is, however, an alliterative line of such chutzpah that she sells sea shells by the sea shore is made to seem positively prosaic. Here it is, verbatim: "Unquestionably, when it came to dividing, dismantling, dismembering, desolating, detaching, dispossessing, destroying or dominating, Mama Elena was a pro".

3.5, rounded up to 4
Shriya
Mar 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
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 m
...more
Calista
10 years ago I would have thought so differently about this than I do now. Mama Elena is one of the most monstrous, villainous characters I have ever met. Our main character is Tita, the youngest daughter in her family. The evil family tradition is that the youngest child will not get married or have a life of her own, she will take care of the aging mother.

Tita is the youngest and she falls in love with Pedro. They are electric together - passion. Tita also cooks. Each chapter is a recipe for
...more
Brina
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hispanic-culture
I read Como Agua Para Chocolate in high school. At the time my mother had a rule that if I wanted to see a movie, I had to read the book first, because for the most part, the book is better. She maintains the rule to this day, which I have passed along to my children.
Laura Esquivel's debut novel focuses on a Mexican family at the turn of the 20th century. The heroine Tita is the youngest daughter in her family and according to her family tradition is not allowed to marry. Rather she is supposed
...more
Jojo
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love how this book just oozes with food and sex. Esquivel does a masterful job of combining the art of good cooking, with the art of raw, passionate sex, and I liked it. I liked it a lot.

I bought this rather short read a few years back, and now I've finally read it, it does beg the question, why have I only just got to it now? Well, the answer to that is simple. There are vast amounts of unread books in every nook and cranny in my home, and Like Water for Chocolate, admittedly got
...more
Antonomasia
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: 4 contemporary Spanish A-level syllabuses
I enjoyed this tremendously - which was unexpected.

For the first quarter of the book - which I read quickly - I found the tone and the magic realism quite twee, in a way that reminded me a lot of 100 Years of Solitude, or rather my perception of it nearly 25 years ago. I was wondering what was wrong with me that I found this twee and unpalatably artificial, yet I loved a collection of Russian fairy tales I've been dipping into over the last couple of weeks. But something clicked, and I soon, at timeswhe
...more
Amanda
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people in love, sexy folk, and romantics
Recommended to Amanda by: Zeke, regarding lovers and pie
Shelves: 2009
If all the lights inside you can be lit at once, your heart will burst, and infinity becomes permanent.



Fuck. My heart is beating hard these days. Poor Tita makes it beat harder. A beautiful sad story of forbidden love and orgasmic passion, Tita and Pedro's tale is the hope that love IS enough after all. At that life is worth living...







Three stars for the book in general, plus one because I'm feeling so "in love" these days.
Amanda
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog, nancy-pearl
Okay, so maybe more of a 3 1/2 star. I have a love/hate relationship with magical realism and, if anything, part of my disappoint with the novel comes from the fact that there's not as much "magic" as I had hoped for (I prefer Isabel Allende's House of the Sprits by comparison). However, I still enjoyed the novel as it was unique in its structure, and the conduit for the magical aspects of the novel--food--was beautifully rendered in the recipes and descriptions of the connection between food and cult ...more
Tammy
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Warning: This recipe may induce plenty of gushing. See notes below to see how severely affected this reviewer was... and still is)

1. Take one book
2. Add a few sumptuous recipes
3. Infuse with touches of magic realism
4. Add a heap full of fragrant flavours
5. Pour in a cupful of earthy, human emotion
6. Mix in a healthy dose of unresolved lust, tension and heated gazes

Pour in a bowl, mix them all together and watch as the perfect love story unfol
...more
Em Lost In Books
I have come across this book many times on GR but never considered reading it. But then I find it hard to resist BRs, so when a friend suggested this as weekend BR I jumped in right away and finished this in few hours. It's a short and easy read.

Like Water for Chocolate tells us the story of Tita and her family. Her falling in love and then a heartbreak because of a stupid family tradition. But at the heart it is story of Tita and her love affair with cooking. How she finds solace in
...more
Fran
This is a classic love story, wrapped in a lovely shrug of magic realism.

The story takes place in Mexico just before the start of the Revolution. In the De la Garza ranch, tyrannical owner, Mama Elena has decided that Tita, her younger daughter will never married, remaining single to take care of her in her old age. Tita, who grows up to be a master chef, has only food and cooking to express herself.

Soon, Tita's relationship with food is such, her feelings soon seep into what she cooks invadin
...more
Claire
The back of my edition of Like Water for Chocolate describes it as a "fairy tale, and a soap opera", and this is 100% accurate. I can see why this novel is as popular as it is. There's a lot to like here, its entertaining, dramatic, fast-moving, and outrageous. What I've realised, or reconfirmed, while reading this is that romance just isn't the genre for me. I wanted more from the characters, who ultimately seemed a bit superficial, and although I enjoyed the historical context of the Mexican R ...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Like Water for Chocolate was recommended to me by a fellow blogger. I stayed up until 3 am reading it and I liked it immensely. This is a beautiful and potent love story of Tita, the youngest daughter in the family. Born in a kitchen, Tita grows up to be a master chef, a real artist in the kitchen. This novel reflects that, as every chapter is predated by a recipe. Mexican culture and cuisine are present at every page of this novel. Perhaps it is as much a novel about Mexico, as it is about Tita ...more
Ashlie
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
This is a lovely book served in 12 courses (of meal). When it came out, it became a best seller right away; a 'first timer's luck' for Laura Esquivel. Even 2o years after being first published, it is still an intriguing story, knowing that many young girls around the world are still forced to obey illogical rules of tradition. The saddest part is; these undertakings are done by women onto women, mostly mother to daughter..

Esquivel's novel written in Magic Realism style, tells us the
...more
Lorna
Like Water For Chocolate is an intriguing saga of a large Mexican family at the turn of the century in the days of Poncho Villa and focusing on the youngest daughter Tita. According to tradition, Tita, being the youngest daughter, was unable to marry because it was her responsibility to remain home to care for her mother, Mama Elena. We witness how Tita copes with her thwarted love for Pedro. This book literally sparkles with magical realism as well as delightful recipes opening all twelve chapters. I lo ...more
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who love Sarah Addison Allen or Isabel Allende
Like Water for Chocolate was unbelievable – a whirlwind of colors that I got through in like two days, and so when I finished, everything closed up inside my head as if in a loop and I didn't even know where to begin with this review.

That's why here I am writing one, two months after I've actually read the book.

It was an amazing story, truly one of a kind. I'm not a big fan of magical realism, it's very hard to find books with magical realism that will go down well for me
...more
Book Concierge
5***** and a ❤

UPDATE: Sept 2013

On her death, Tita’s recipe book falls to her grandniece, who then relates the story of her extraordinary relative. The novel takes place in the early 1900s on a ranch in northern Mexico, near the Texas border. The youngest of three sisters, Tita is destined from birth to stay at home to care for her mother, denied the option of love and marriage and her own family. But her attraction to the son of a neighbor rancher, Pedro, will not be so e
...more
Taylor
May 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romantics, women, fans of magical realism
This is kind of the ultimate chick novel, in that it's about unrequited love, romance, food, and it's a very well-written piece of magical realism as opposed to the kind of mass-produced romantic tripe that's marketed towards women these days. This is a beautiful, beautiful novel - not something that someone forged in order to meet a contract obligation stating that if they write a generic chick novel that they can follow it up with whatever they want.

This is filled to the brim with
...more
Em*bedded-in-books*
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Em*bedded-in-books* by: Deepika Booksy
3.5 stars.
Am not a fan of 'Magical Realism ' genre.
Still I enjoyed reading this short book oozing with the absurd as things were piling up thickly one above the other.
Added to it, the book started.with food. Food never fails to captivate me.
The weird story of a delinquent family, highly matriarchal - an old witch of a mother, three sisters, the elder Sister marrying the lover of the youngest at the mother's bequest and living in the same house , and the middle Sister running o
...more
Nicki
Jan 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
The only good thing in this book was John!!! I loved him so much and lost all respect for Tita when she chose that man-whore Pedro over him. I respect Gertrudis too but man, Tita went so far down hill when she decided that Pedro, who only seems to show affection when he damn well pleases, was a better man than John, who is kind to everyone including the man-whore. Basically the message of this book is that sensual passion is apparently greater than true affection. Basically it doesn't matter if ...more
Jenny
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny by: Kavita Ramesh
I don't know why I had not even heard of this book until yet! Thanks you Kavita for recommending this book to me! ^^

I went into this book assuming that it was only about magical realism,but this book was full of surprises; I had expected there to be magic in the book,but magic,romance and food? For a person like me who loves cooking,this book couldn't have been more perfect! The best thing about this book is that every chapter starts with a recipe, which is also connected to the events
...more
Adina
Feb 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mexico, 1001
3.5 stars. Beautiful book about love and the forces ( positive and also distructive) it creates. Felt good to read after a long time another book written by a south american writer. Makes me want to come back to Marquez and Llosa and their magical realism.
Rowena
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-books, own
Wow, fascinating story. Quite fairytale-like at times. Great descriptions of cooking. The mother was definitely a villain.
Mari

Full review to come

Another book for Hispanic Heritage Month! I used to watch the movie adaptation of this with my sisters when we were kids (appropriate or not....) Finally reading the book was like coming home, in a lot of ways. The prose is so beautiful, smooth, seamless all while being tragic and at times over-the-top. I think it's a must read for everyone, if only to experience.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Chocolat (Chocolat, #1)
  • The House of the Spirits
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Arráncame la vida
  • Toujours Provence
  • Love in the Time of Cholera
  • The Kitchen God's Wife
  • The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • الليل يلفظ أنفاسه الأخير
  • The Postman
  • راوية الأفلام
  • Aura
  • Jemima J
  • The Stories of Eva Luna
See similar books…
1,178 followers
A teacher by trade, Laura Esquivel gained international attention with Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies and The Law of Love. In both books she manages to incorporate her teaching abilities by giving her readers lessons about life. During an on-line Salon interview with Joan Smith, she said, "As a teacher I realize that what one learns in school ...more

Other books in the series

Como agua para chocolate (3 books)
  • El diario de Tita
  • Mi negro pasado (Como agua para chocolate, #3)
“Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves” 1992 likes
“Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can't strike them all by ourselves; we need oxygen and a candle to help. In this case, the oxygen for example, would come from the breath of the person you love; the candle would be any kind of food, music, caress, word, or sound that engenders the explosion that lights one of the matches. For a moment we are dazzled by an intense emotion. A pleasant warmth grows within us, fading slowly as time goes by, until a new explosion comes along to revive it. Each person has to discover what will set off those explosions in order to live, since the combustion that occurs when one of them is ignited is what nourishes the soul. That fire, in short, is its food. If one doesn't find out in time what will set off these explosions, the box of matches dampens, and not a single match will ever be lighted.” 235 likes
More quotes…