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text 2017-07-28 21:40
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
Like Water for Chocolate - Thomas Christensen,Carol Christensen,Laura Esquivel

My RL book club is meeting on Tuesday and this is their pick. I thought I'd have it as my final free friday read. I love how cooking is weaved throughout.

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review 2016-11-20 17:15
A Lupita le gustaba planchar by Laura Esquivel
A Lupita le gustaba planchar: [Lupita Always Liked to Iron] (Spanish Edition) - Laura Esquivel

I’m a little surprised that this book has as low a rating as it does – though only a little, since flawed female protagonists seem to draw a lot of hate. I definitely liked this one better than Esquivel’s major hit, Like Water for Chocolate; this book is much more grounded and contains very little romance (both the romance and the male lead in Like Water for Chocolate are incredibly unattractive).

This book makes no bones about being a parable for modern Mexico, with a broken woman representing a broken country. Lupita has had a hard life and coped poorly, and though she’s somehow become a police officer (an explanation would not have been out of place, since she previously served time), she struggles with addiction. Her fragile sobriety is shattered when she witnesses an at-first-inexplicable political assassination, which kicks off the novella.

I found this to be an entertaining book, with a good mix of action and forward momentum with introspection and backstory. Esquivel also brings the setting to life well; a reader would learn much more about Mexico from this book than Like Water for Chocolate. It is quite explicitly political, which isn’t in a fault in itself, as books should reflect life. Most Americans would probably be surprised to learn that Lupita’s opinions about the drug trade – that American consumers are largely to blame for generating demand in the first place – are commonly held in Mexico. However, the book’s solution for Lupita and for Mexico is simplistic, seeming to suggest that a reversion to indigenous beliefs (often explained in set-asides from the text) would bring instant healing of all wounds. An additional couple of chapters at the end could have done a much better job of wrapping up the story.

All told, then, an okay book, and the writing is better than I remember from Esquivel. Still not one I’ll recommend widely.

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review 2016-10-06 00:00
Like Water for Chocolate
Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel
It's funny, I have heard of this book through the years but never attempted to read it. Since I do really enjoy magical realism books, I probably should have read this before now, but ah well.

I think this may be a first for me that I did not like any character in this book, but still ended up enjoying it. Everyone was messed up from Tita to her mother, Mama Elena. Each part of the book is broken up into monthly installments with a recipe being the main focus of that chapter. I have to say that towards the end though, the book felt more hurried as if the author was in a rush. The flow at times was hampered a bit in my mind since we would often pass a huge length of time between chapters and there would maybe be a sentence or two of explanation of things that happened before.

The beginning of the story shows the birth of Tita de la Garza. Tita is the main focus of the book though we also have additional characters such as her mother Mama Elena, and her two older sisters Gertrudis and Rosaura. The family lives on a ranch somewhere near the Mexican and U.S. border. I assume that because later on in he story Rosaura and her family are forced to move to San Antonio and it seemed like this was not a long trip for them.

Tita unlike her sisters loves food and helps out in the kitchen. Tita falls in love at first sight (knew it was doomed then) with Pedro and hopes that her mother will accept his proposal for her hand in marriage. But, Tita, since she is the youngest, is forbidden to marry and instead has to live in order to care for her mother, until her mother's death.

I have no idea if this is a real tradition or not. Or if it is, it makes no sense to me at all. So what happens to the youngest daughter when she gets old? Is she supposed to go live with her other family members after not being allowed to marry or have children? I had a forget this noise look on my face for most of the story.

Mother Elena then tells Pedro that he should marry her daughter Rosaura instead and he agrees. Because in his head at least he will get to be close to the woman he loves (Tita) though he is still going to be married to the sister and have children with her.

So we have poor Tita being forced to cook for her sister's wedding and being slapped and verbally abused by her mother if she dares look sad. I was hoping in the end of the book Tita smothered her mother to death with a pillow, I am not going to lie.

Eventually through Tita's cooking everyone is affected by whatever emotion she is feeling as she makes meals. We have a wedding party that devolved into everyone throwing up for hours. We have one of Tita's meals causing her sister Gertrudis (seriously this name pained me to read every time) to have skin so hot it was causing water to evaporate as soon as it hit her skin and then caused her to run off with a man.

We only really get some insight into Tita and another character named Dr. Johh Brown. He ends up falling in love with Tita and caring for her for some time when things come to a head between Tita and her terrible mother.

I was really hoping that John would win the day, but Tita seems really focused on Pedro even though there is not one thing about the guy I would say that showed that he loved her even a little bit besides him stealing glances at her and being angry if she dared showed that she may love someone else.

The writing I thought was really good, though some of the food choices at times did not sound appetizing. I wonder if any other readers tried to cook the meals that are described in this book.

As I already said the flow was not as smooth as it could have been between chapters. And the ending I thought was too rushed. I read December's chapter over and over again since it felt like we skipped some big moments.

I thought the ending was sad since I didn't really see Tita and Pedro having some big consuming love. I thought it was selfish on both their parts, and neither one of them seemed to care that they were hurting other people.
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review 2016-07-01 04:43
Pierced by the Sun - Laura Esquivel
Pierced by the Sun - Jordi Castells,Laura Esquivel

Laura Esquivel is best known as the author of Like Water for Chocolate. In her new book,Pierced by the Sun, the magic realism is less overt, but it's there nonetheless.

Lupita is a Mexican policewoman who witnesses the murder of a local politician in broad daylight on a city street. His death throws her back into the self-abusive practices she had used before -- drinking and drugs. At the same time, the local political machine marks her for death. She inadvertently escapes into the succor of indigenous spirituality, and in so doing, finds a way out -- not just for her personal dilemmas, but maybe for her nation, too.

Esquivel does a fine job weaving together the various threads that make up the tapestry of modern Mexico -- Catholicism and indigenous religion, political corruption and the drug trade, and people just trying to live their lives. The trope of the modern woman who finds her way again by adopting ancient ways is somewhat hackneyed, but at least the author doesn't make it the focus of the book. She does, however, have an overt agenda, or at least a moral to her story; it's clear that Lupita is a stand-in for Mexico herself, as evidenced by the story's final sentence:


Most importantly, if Lupita -- who had collected so much pain, who had experienced so much anger -- could heal and connect to The Whole, so could Mexico.


I picked up Pierced by the Sun for free as part of Amazon's Kindle First program. If you're looking for another Like Water for Chocolate, you'll be disappointed. But if you can stand a little morality play with your magic realism, you may enjoy Pierced by the Sun.

Source: www.rursdayreads.com/2016/06/pierced-by-sun-laura-esquivel.html
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review 2015-08-05 00:00
Rode rozen en tortilla's
Rode rozen en tortilla's - Laura Esquivel,F. Mendelaar,H. Peteri 2.5 stars It was an entertainable read, but I just don't think that this type of magic realism suits me very well. It reminded me a lot of [b:Of Bees and Mist|6240758|Of Bees and Mist|Erick Setiawan|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1260978142s/6240758.jpg|6423549], which annoyed me to no end. Maybe it was because I read the Dutch translation of both books and the use of language was just horrid at times.

There was a lot of sadness and profanity in [b:Like Water for Chocolate|6952|Like Water for Chocolate|Laura Esquivel|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1430241812s/6952.jpg|1172473]; two things I didn't really expect. It also involved a lot of plot twists, most of which were unsatisfactory for me. Then again, I might've had the wrong expectations in thinking this was going to be a light and fluffy read.

Positive things for me were the recipes and the unique way they were being used for writing the storyline!
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