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Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly…

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes,… (original 1989; edition 1994)

by Laura Esquivel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,668214465 (3.85)489
Title:Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
Authors:Laura Esquivel
Info:Anchor (1994), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (1989)

  1. 50
    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (krizia_lazaro)
  2. 10
    Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai (MaidMeri)
    MaidMeri: Desai's book is a much, much lighter read, but like Esquivel's, full of trivial yet delightful details and sub-plots. Other similarities include cooking, being repressed by one's family and eccentric, strong female characters.
  3. 10
    The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry (ReadHanded)
    ReadHanded: Food, recipes, and magic realism
  4. 21
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    The Flamenco Academy: A Novel by Sarah Bird (persky)
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    Becchanalia: A breathtakingly rich masterpiece following 7 generations of the Buendía family in a fictional Colombian town bursting with magical realism.

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» See also 489 mentions

English (190)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (5)  Norwegian (1)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
When her mother marries Tita's sister off to Tita's own crush Pedro on the grounds that Tita, as the youngest daughter, can never marry because it is her duty to care for her mother until her dying days, she is understandably devastated. Thereafter, she takes refuge in the kitchen, preparing all of the traditional family recipes passed down over the years (and also shared here with the reader).

Although I've read a handful which I've enjoyed, I'm not a fan of magical realism generally. I selected this title for the #ownvoices Mexico category in the Read Harder challenge, as it is well-known and highly-rated. I was somewhat appalled to discover how unlikable (even ghastly) many of the characters were -- poor Tita. On the other hand, the recipes sounded delicious, though I'm not sure I have the culinary skills to execute them successfully. I'd be curious to learn whether other readers have tried their hands and how they turned out. ( )
  ryner | Feb 14, 2019 |
I'm not a fan of magical realism, but this was pretty tolerable thanks to a sympathetic main character, Tita, and the integration of recipes into the actual story structure. I could have finished this in just a day or two due to the fact that it is a quick read with lots of blank or nearly blank pages between chapters, but I limited myself to a one or two of its "monthly installments" per day just to let myself relish it.

I might have liked this better if Tita's love interest, Pedro, weren't so unworthy of her years-long obsession with him. Total loser. She should have kicked him to the curb ASAP and spent the rest of the book allowing herself to seek out a better life.

p.s., Does anyone else find it odd that as famous as this book is, it has two sequels that don't seem to have been translated to English? ( )
  villemezbrown | Dec 14, 2018 |
As I was reading the book, I kept thinking that I should have watched the movie first.... Now I know I will be disappointed, because the book is always better!

This book reminded me a lot of Joanne Harris. I loved it. It was a bit of a fisherman's tale... but it was written so charmingly that it added to the appeal of the story. ( )
  Emmie217 | Jun 27, 2018 |
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel; (4 1/2*)

What a wonderful, magical story. This is a tale of women in Mexico at the turn of the century and how they lived their lives. Tita is the strong central character. The story is told in 12 month chapters though time moves along much faster. I loved that each chapter began with an authentic recipe. The kitchen and food is central to this story. You get the details of the recipe and how to make it and it's woven perfectly into the story.
Tita is the youngest of three girls. They live on their ranch with their mother, Mama Elena. Tita is in love with Pedro, a local boy, but custom dictates that the youngest child is not allowed to marry and must care for her mother until the day her mother dies. 'Care for' really means being a slave to her and her abusive ways. Mama Elena is so cruel that she has Tita's sister marry Pedro and makes Tita cook the meal for their wedding. Tita can infuse her emotions into the food that she is cooking. As she cries and pours her tears of sorrow into the cake for her sister's wedding, something happens. Everyone at the wedding becomes sorrowful and is sick. Naturally she is accused of destroying the wedding. There are other tales of Tita's emotions being put into the food she makes. I especially loved the story of passion in the food that her older sister ate and the passion just exploded in her.

There is a great deal of magical realism in this story and I just loved it! I hope Esquivel has more out there of a similar nature. ( )
  rainpebble | Jun 2, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book, although in read it in one sitting, so I slogged a bit through the end. The magical realism was very accessible, which is a first for me because I'm usually not into that Gabriel Garcia Marquez stuff. This had just enough, though, on a level that I understood. Maybe because it was about food. It was a light read. Good for the beach, airport, doctor's office. Enjoyable. The recipes made me want Mexican food. ( )
  MsKathleen | Jan 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 190 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laura Esquivelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Arau, Alfonsomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, CarolTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christensen, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mendelaar, FrancineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pernu, SannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peteri, HarriëtTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toelke, CathleenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
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Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
To the table or to bed
You must come when you are bid.
First words
Take care to chop the onion fine.
"The truth! The truth! Look, Tita, the simple truth is that the truth does not exist; it all depends on a person's point of view."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The original Spanish title was “Como agua para chocolate”.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary
Tita can't marry
Pedro, so she cooks dishes
that tell of her love.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038542017X, Paperback)

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in tum-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:28 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

With more than two million copies in print, this beloved novel has become a treasured part of America's literary memory. Now, for the first time, this "tall-tale, fairy-tale, soap opera romance, Mexican cookbook, and home-remedy handbook all rolled into one" (San Francisco Chronicle) is available in trade paper with the original art from the hardcover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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