Saturday, July 7, 2012


Time for honesty once again.  I would not have considered reading this, but it looks like I'll be teaching 9th and 10th grade next year and it is part of the 10th grade curriculum. 

Two thoughts after finishing it - 1) It wasn't bad.  In fact, I can imagine some teen readers (girls) enjoying it.  2) Why is it on the recommended list for 10th graders?

LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE is an interesting combination of Mexican history and tradition, love story, and recipes.  Tita spends her childhood beside the cook in the family kitchen.  She gleans amazing family recipes and all the secrets involved in excellent cooking. 

Tita is the youngest girl in the family and grows up knowing her fate is to never marry but instead be the one to care for her mother until her eventual death.  It is an old custom Tita wishes had died with earlier generations.  Tita experiences a forbidden love when she falls for Pedro.  Her older sister is also smitten by Pedro, and she becomes the lucky bride instead of Tita.  Tita tries to put her energy into cooking for her family and even caring for her sister's child, but there is always a bitter pain lurking beneath her outer shell of contentment.

Author Laura Esquivel organized the novel in monthly installments suggesting the timeline would be a year in the life of Tita, however, the timeline actually takes readers from Tita's childhood to her eventual death and the heritage she passes on to future generations.  Tita's story will keep readers' attention with frequent surprising twists, vivid and sometimes disturbing depictions of life in turn of the 20th century Mexico, romance, and also a touch of Mexican folklore and fairy tale.  It should be an interesting book to teach.

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