Author: Laura Esquivel
“A sumptuous feast of a novel, it relates the bizarre history of the all-female De La Garza family. Tita, the youngest daughter of the house, has been forbidden to marry, condemned by Mexican tradition to look after her mother until she dies. But Tita falls in love with Pedro, and he is seduced by the magical food she cooks. In desperation, Pedro marries her sister Rosaura so that he can stay close to her, so that Tita and Pedro are forced to circle each other in unconsummated passion. Only a freakish chain of tragedies, bad luck and fate finally reunite them against all the odds.”
Oh man, this book. This was a book that gave me so many conflicting emotions. I both love and hate this book all at once. I love it for the writing that transported me into Tita’s world. I hate this book because Tita deserved so much more. All Tita wanted was to be happy and when the opportunity came, it was too late. Thinking about it still, makes me upset.
Like Water for Chocolate had such a unique, mystical writing style. The writing had a lot to do with the fantasy of the novel. It made it easy to have a sensory involvement in the novel. The way that Tita’s recipes were used to tell the story was something I had never read before.
On to the plot and the characters. I’m super sure that Tita and Pedro were supposed to be some sort of fated lovers but honestly, Pedro was a fuccboi. Pure and simple. I didn’t understand how he could be so shocked that the woman he was “in love” with was upset that he was marrying her sister. That excuse about keeping her close by any means possible was garbage. He was garbage.
In the moment I felt bad for Tita. By no fault of her own, she was destined to be single for the rest of her life because of some silly tradition but she fell in love anyway. But thinking about it, Tita’s character frustrated me. She should’ve ignored him and left him to rot in the house with his wife. Again, tragic love story and all but damn! I felt so bad for her.
After Tita’s nervous breakdown she was so close to finally being happy but her awful family ruined it again. I understand that Tita’s characteristics are inherently good. She’s loyal to her family and she’s true to her heart. But in the book that only brought her pain and heartbreak. I couldn’t stand it. She was the literal definition of setting yourself on fire to keep someone warm. Her martyrdom made me furious but her plight made me sad. It just wasn’t fair.
Even in the end, Tita was robbed of what she wanted most, after 20 years of waiting for something she should have left behind in her youth. I’ll never get over how Tita had to make everyone but herself happy.
As furious as this book made me, I would never take back the time I spent reading it. I don’t often have such dimensional reactions to novels so when I get big mad like this, I count it as a victory. I would absolutely recommend reading this book and maybe even trying to cook some of the recipes described so well. 4 stars.