Courtney Lynn (reorganizedreading)'s Reviews > Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
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Love in the Time of Cholera has all the potential for five stars based on the artistic method in which the author writes the story. But it fell drastically to two for me when I got around the halfway point.

This read starts out poignant, the language is lush, and you can feel the deep emotions that the characters possess. It starts out a little Romeo & Juliet esque. A poor yet earnest boy (Florentino Ariza) meets decently established girl (Fermina Daza), whose father wants to move her up in society and will protect her at all costs to make his dream a reality. Her father disapproves of boy’s social standing, so the pair of them begin a clandestine relationship through love letters.

They make plans for their future together, which includes marriage, and even begin furnishing homes for their beautiful future together. And then in a single look after this girl bites into a grilled pineapple, everything ends. Thus, began for me a series of frustrated outbursts that lasted until I closed the book on the last page.

I am no stranger to historical fiction. I like learning about different parts of history from areas of the world I am not really familiar with. This is not one of those books. It doesn’t educate you on any type of historical events, but merely glosses over them. One must really have knowledge of Colombia in order to understand the expansive landscape that Marquez depicts.

The focus of this book is how Florentino Ariza cannot get over his “love” for Fermina Daza, who marries another man and builds a life for herself without him. I knew that based on the synopsis there would be a lot of mentions of sex as Florentino works his way through six hundred and forty four lovers (which why place a number so vast if you're not documenting them all?).

I would have been fine with this story, if there had been any true growth or development between the characters. Or if something (besides Florentino having sex with every single woman in their city and surrounding areas) actually happened.

But what Florentino does to get these women into bed with him, and also, the last woman he takes to bed, really just disgusted me. I tried to put it into the historical context, but some things transcend societal norms—see: character América Vicuña) for further explanation.

The writing flows in somewhat of a nonlinear fashion, which can make it a confusing read at times. But I really didn’t mind that. It was also full of vivid descriptions that made me feel like I was in Colombia during the 1880s-1930s. But again, not having a lot of familiarity with the area, the cities and names of places all blend together.

Another issue with the writing was that I felt there was a lot of repetitiveness of certain ideas and emotions. This book could have probably been 100 pages shorter and still adequately conveyed some of the author’s more abstract ideas about life and love.

The beautiful writing and the fact that I had put in so much time reading this (and it was a buddy read with my dear friend, Emma), is what compelled me to finish.

I wanted to understand more about what happened between Florentino and Fermina’s falling out, but it’s never explained in concrete terms. I understand that this might have been done intentionally for effect, but in my opinion, the whole point of the book is lost, and Florentino’s life is kind of rendered pointless. Why would you dedicate your whole life to trying to win someone back if you have no assurances that anything would come of it? His life seemed kind of wasted to me.

I'm sure the ending held some poignant meaning. But to me, it felt totally random. I know this one has been deemed a masterpiece by a lot of people, but it had too many problematic features for me to recommend it.
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Reading Progress

February 1, 2014 – Shelved
February 1, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
November 12, 2018 – Shelved as: own
December 30, 2018 – Started Reading
December 30, 2018 –
page 71
January 2, 2019 –
page 134
January 3, 2019 –
page 165
January 4, 2019 –
page 186
January 5, 2019 –
page 205
January 5, 2019 –
page 225
January 6, 2019 –
page 257
January 7, 2019 –
page 279
January 8, 2019 –
page 307
January 9, 2019 –
page 338
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: world-lit
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary-adult
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-goodreads-challenge
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: romance
January 10, 2019 – Shelved as: bestie-bookclub
January 10, 2019 – Finished Reading

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Emma Hear hear!

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