Like Water for Chocolate
by Laura Esquivel
Jackie B’s original book review is found here.
1. What did you think of the story? Did you like it? Love it? Hate it? What made you lean that way?
2. What did you expect before picking up this book? How were your expectations met or missed?
3. This book is in the genre of Magical Realism (Jackie’s favorite genre!). This is when fantastic elements are experienced in a real-world setting.
- Have you read this genre before? What do you think of it?
- This genre has its origins in Latin America. Why do you believe that is?
- What effect did the fantastic elements have on your experience reading this book?
4. Tita’s great-niece is introduced as the narrator of this story but vanishes once introduced until the end of the story. Why do you believe Esquivel chose this style of third-person narration? Why is this perspective important to our story? How would this novel have been different if Tita narrated?
5. Monthly family recipes introduce each chapter, and throughout the storytelling the text recurringly returns to the cooking of the dish. What do you think of this style of writing? Was it a distraction, or did it bind ideas together? Why?
6. Explain your thoughts on the title and what it means.
7. In what way is good a central metaphor in this novel? What does it represent? How does Tita use it, and is her use willing or purposeful?
8. What are your thoughts on the three de la Garza sisters – Gertudis, Rousara, and Tita? Who did you like the most? Dislike the most?
9. Do you consider Tita a strong female heroine? Why or why not?
10. What do you think of Pedro and John Brown? Do you agree with Tita’s choices?
11. How do all the women of the de la Garza family, Mama Elena included, represent what it means to be a woman in society? Which of the characters are most conforming to societal expectations, and which push boundaries?
12. The characters of this book are plagued with physical afflictions. What is the significance of the ailments in physical, psychological, spiritual, and symbolic ways?
13. What was your favorite recipe in this book? Why? Did you try out any of these recipes, or something similar in the past? If so, what did you think?
14. Did anyone identify any favorite quotes or passages? Would you be willing to share?
15. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?