Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate


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The bestselling phenomenon and inspiration for the award-winning film.

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico blends poignant romance and bittersweet wit.

This classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef, using cooking to express herself and sharing recipes with readers along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385420174
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/28/1995
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 18,021
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 1030L (what's this?)

About the Author

Originally published in 1990, Like Water for Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate) won Laura Esquivel international acclaim. The film based on the book, with a screenplay by Laura Esquivel, swept the Ariel awards of the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures, winning eleven in all, and went on to become the largest grossing foreign film ever released in the United States. In 1994 Like Water for Chocolate won the prestigious ABBY award, which is given annually by the American Booksellers Association. The book has been translated into thirty languages and there are over three million copies in print worldwide. Ms. Esquivel lives in Mexico.


Mexico City, Mexico

Date of Birth:

September 30, 1951

Place of Birth:

Mexico City, Mexico

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Like Water for Chocolate 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 350 reviews.
Author_DB_Pacini More than 1 year ago
A friend recommended this book and eventually loaned me her copy because I had it on my "to buy" list for so long. I read it and was delighted. A family tradition forbids Tita from marrying her beloved Pedro. Well, he wants to stay close to her---so he marries Tita's sister Rosaura and the entire family lives under the same roof. Tita is the family cook and she reveals her love for Pedro though her extraordinary cooking. Author Laura Esquirel combines mouth-watering recipes, Mexico during the Revolution, forbidden love, romance, tears, and laughter in this scrumptious "Mexican Cinderella" story. I love this book.
LLCool More than 1 year ago
Like Water Chocolate is a great read for anybody wanting to learn about Mexican culture. It starts off with some background information on the birth of a Mexican girl named Tita during one of the revolutions against the wealthy land owners. Tita at a young age falls in love with Pedro, a boy from her village, and they swear to love each other for ever. When Pedro finds out that Tita cannot marry do to the Mexican tradition of the youngest daughter having to care for her mother until her death, Pedro decides to marry Tita's sister Rosaura so he can be close to Tita. Throughout the story Tita and Pedro find different ways to share their love while life goes on around him. By the end Rosaura dies and Tita's other sister Gertrudis joins the revolution and throughout the story provides Tita with advice and tips on Tita's secret relationship with Pedro. The story has many more climactic events and leads on to the climax of the story and its resolution. The book provides very good insight to the Mexican culture and lets you imagine what it would be like to live in that society. It is laced with many home remedies and recipes that show the way the Mexican people lived back then and make the book a very interesting and give the book a eye-opening power that some books provide on topics of very little knowledge. The book has its downs as well as its ups as parts of the book can go very slowly and some repetition of ideas previously expanded upon can be omitted. This book contains ideas that are considered wrong in our society and can be considered offensive to some woman's rights activist as the youngest daughter has no choice but to live her life in servitude of her mother. A theme that reoccurs throughout the book is to never set aside your love for someone for anything and never let anything stand in your way of love. This book can relate to many Mexicans through the culture of the society and many of the remedies, recipes, and ways of life of the Mexican culture if you account for the changes in the culture that have come through the culture being modernized. All in all this book is a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about Mexican culture or just those who want to read a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Like water for Chocolate, by laura Esquivel, is a story about enchanted love, family, and homemade recipes. It takes place in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. It's about a young girl named Tita who wishes to marry her love of her dreams, but her mother and a Mexican tradtition is holding her back. The tradition indicates that the youngest daughter must not marry and stay at home to take care of their mother until she passes. Tita's mother, Mama Elena, doesnt make the exception to Tita and arranges her other daughter Rosaura to marry Pedro. Pedro accepts to marry Rosaura but only to get closer to Tita. Punishment for Tita's willfulness, Mama Elena makes Tita make their wedding cake. Tita has such passion for cooking that the wedding guests were overcome with sadness as they ate the cake because Tita was sad while baking the cake. This is when she first deiscovers her culinary talents and unique tecniques. As I read the book, I really liked how the chapters begin with recipes because it gives you a sence of whats comming and it also gives you new ideas for dinner. I also like how the elements of the story compliment eachother. There are sad times, and happy times and it all blends well together. I would reccomend this book to mostley girls who like cooking and love stories, although it is acceptable for all women. With Laura Esquival's desciptions, you are able to picture them in your mind. This book is very good and a novel worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this novel for my summer english class. I probably would of never read this book otherwise. It was an entertaining read and is better than the adapted film version.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recomend this book to anybody I used to hate reading but after I read this book it changed me
liketoread92 More than 1 year ago
The prose is deceptively simple, the story also appears to be simple. But the author packs a great deal into the short novel. Good starter for those interested in magical realism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book captures you imagination. it's a great example of mexican/ hispanic culture and traditions
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. It tells a great story about love and life and keeps you intrigued till the very end. With wonderful characters, you can't go wrong with this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tita may be the protagonist, but John's the one I feel sorriest for in this story.
SarahCortez More than 1 year ago
Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquirel. Translated by Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen. Published by Doubleday in New York. it came out in 1989 by Laura Esquivel and the english translation came out in 1992. The theme of the book is family values.
The main character of this book is Tita. Her role in the book is to show how the youngest daughter of the family was treated. She had to obey all of her family rules from her mother. And do everything her mother told her to do. Tita struggles throughout the book to find her own identity.
The book starts off with the birth of Tita. It then tells how Tita grew up learning how to cook from Nacha. Nacha was like her mother because she took more care of her than Mama Elena did. As Tita grows she starts to cook more and more, it becomes her passion. Then Nacha sadly dies. It breaks Tita's heart. Nacha was there for her whenever Tita needed her, but now she was gone. Soon after Tita falls deeply in love with Pedro. And he too falls deeply in love with Tita. But Mama Elena won't allow this. But Mama Elena does allow Tita's older sister Rosaura to marry Pedro. Pedro only did it to be closer to Tita. Rosaura then became prgnant and gave birth to a little boy. Tita then began to take care of him when Rosaura wasn't able to breast feed him. Sadly he died. Things then started to go downhill with Tita's family. Pedro wasn't paying attention to Rosaura anymore. Tita's other sister Gertrudis ran off with a soldier. And Mama Elena died. And after Pedro cheated on Rosaura with Titas Mama Elena's ghost started coming back and haunting Tita. Tita then thought she has become pregnant with Pedro's child. The ending is surpring to say the least.
I thought the book was okay. Some parts of it were very boring and didn't have a lot going on. But i did like how at the beginning of every chapter started with a family recipe and it related to what was going on in that chapter. I also thought that there was too many characters going on in the book. I got confused trying to keep up with everyone's names and new people coming and going. Overall it was good.
From this book I learned the traditons of a Mexican family. I would recommend this book to people who like to cook. Or who like a romantic novel.But if you don't like either of those things I don't think you would enjoy reading this book.
sheilaCA More than 1 year ago
Like Water for Chocolate is a fun, quick read. It is about a girl named Tita, who is unable to marry because being the youngest daughter, it is family tradition that she spend her life taking care of her mother. She falls in love with a man named Pedro, who marrys her sister in order to stay close to her. The book is filled with recipes and home remedies. The book is part cookbook, love story, and soap opera. If you want a fun quick read this is the book for you. I am now going to go watch the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the book Like Water for Chocolate a young woman is prohibited to marry her true love all because of a stupid tradition her mother is trying to endure. Her mother suggested the man to marry her other daughter. The man accepted just to be near his true love. As the years pass by they still feel love for each other but with her mother by her side they can¿t be together. The mother will do anything just to prevent them from being near to each other. If you want to know what will happen between the two lovers find out by reading the book Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Will they be together at the end of the book? Will something make their heart change? Will the mother let them be happy? Will the sister try to help them be together? Hmm¿ very interesting right don¿t wait go buy the book or take it out from your local library. This book is so fascinating that you¿ll be done in no time. You¿ll be reading and you won¿t want to stop. Oh and the book even has a few cooking recipes of how to make mole and some other delicious food.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was my first romantic novel and I enjoyed it a lot. I really liked the drama between Tita and her sister Rosaura. Each chapter has a different recipe. Throughout the chapters, I found out stories behind each recipe and why they are so special. Tita's mother will not let her marry her true love. So all through the story, there is conflict between Tita and Mama Elena. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading romantic stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book & have bought many copies to give away to my friends. Every time the movie comes on TV, I watch it. It is such a beautiful story interspersed with recipes made with love. This story has everything you could ever want in a book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Horse Whisperer' was this way and so was 'The Piano' What, you get tired of someone and then decide you can hurt others by paying attention to your own selfish desires? Since when is that adult? Now, on the good side, the recipes were good, and I empathize with Tita and her problems with her witchy and nasty mother (who could benefit with a good slap and maybe some intensive therapy) and the plight of women in turn of the century Mexico. Also, I feel sorry For Rosura, who was brought up to be the 'good' girl. She was way too shy and reserved. Not her fault. Tita and Pedro shouldn't have sneeked around on her. That was totally unfair, period.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Like Water for Chocolate' is an amazing book if one likes a bit of folklore and magic with one's romance. Laura Esquirel does a marvelous job spicing things up with love that has no equal in passion or longevity, the transfer of emotions through cooking, and a thousand other fairy-tale details. Her book explores love shunned by society, the mother-daughter dynamic, and the pros and cons of tradition. I was disappointed that I was unable to try even the simplest of the recipes due to their exotic ingredients, but what's exotic in New England may not be so hard to find in areas in and around Mexico. Another disappointment was the organization- Esquirel falls into the writing trap of using countless flashbacks-within-flashbacks, which can confuse the reader. Add to that the ghosts and delusions, and the reader may often find him or herself lost. Still, this book is worth a look by fans of romance and folklore.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to pick a book for one of my classes for whne I was a senior. Out of all the books I had to choose, I picked "Like Water for Chocolate." It sounded interested and learned that is was the BEST book I have ever read. I couldn't put it down. I finished it in like 3 hours, but kept re-reading it until my report was due. The book is over-whelming. I have recommend it to everyone I know and they too have loved it. BEST BOOK EVER!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wonderfully told story of Tita, repressed by her mother for her eternal love of Pedro, as the caretaker of her family. She expresses her innermost desires and feelings through miraculous and sensuous recipies. If you love a story with heart and passion, this is an excellent book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a mixture of truth, magic and passion. A brilliant story. I have recommeded this book to many and it never disappoints. It is original and fresh and ignites a new way of looking at love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is such a wonderful way of introducing the different and harsh cultures of hispanic cultures that once were. I was very excited to see that it was also in spanish, it's a wonderful 'crossover' book and I couldn't put it down for a second!
Anonymous 9 months ago
It reminded me of the fantastical fairy tales of my childhood. Suspend reality when reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Luc cavalier Like water for chocolate book review This novel is about a girl named Tita this tale of heart,love,passion and lust is both heartwarming. THis text enthroals you into her life and shows her desires and wants besides being a wiz in the kitchen she is very destrout due to the fact that she loves a man that she can’t be with this is because she is the youngest and has to be with her mother and take care of her as she gets old. This family tradition is the bane of Tita’s whole existence making her cooped up like a bird in a cage just waiting to break out and play and become her own person not just a cook for her family even though she pours her heart and soul into her dishes some would say quit literally. Tita is becoming a women and faces similar challenges for every women love , loss and heartache this is detrimental because she has found her perfect match born from a burning lust and as he asks for her hand in marriage she is turned down by her mother and the man of her dreams becomes a nightmare when her mother gives up Titas sister for marriage instead of her. THis book is filled with metaphor and simile for life the whole nature of this masterpiece of text is how she is driven by her love and how her cooking reflects how she is feeling whether it’s making people cry from itor burning people with her passion. Besides this crescendoh of beauty flowing on to the page the syntax diction enthroled be encouraging me to read on and dig deeper into the amount of twists and turns and life lessons learned by this young girl becoming a women. Even though it’s description is so vast and plentiful this magical piece of literature is over shined by the authors powerful ability of metaphor and true meaning of the text this isn’t just a piece of literature this is a truly beautiful testament of its time of place in latin america how the past can haunt you and how life always goes on even if it’s in a twisted truth of faith.Not only was this one of my favorite books i’ve ever read it is a masterpiece of literary devices I am thankful I read this book because I would not have read it if I did manditoraly have to read it for class but I am happy that this was assigned to me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laura Esquivel creates a rich mix of emotions in each chapter of Like Water for Chocolate, a bestseller in Mexico. Full of alluring metaphors, rich figurative language, and magical realism, this book is centered around the kitchen, and all of the recipes and connections that are made there. These recipes carry us throughout the book, showing the turmoil and love between the characters. The powerful emotion that was felt when writing this book is evident when reading, following Tita’s journey of self discovery and love.Throughout the story, Esquivel uses the personification of food and the ingredients to show how Tita pours her emotions into everything she makes. Esquivel also uses quite a bit of symbolism to develop the story. The kitchen is not only Tita’s “realm” where she can truly be herself and create meals for the family, it also shows the reader how although Mama Elena exercises her power over Tita, in the kitchen Tita is really the one calling the shots. In the kitchen, we get to see Tita’s real thoughts and emotions. Just like Tita in the kitchen, the dark room is where we really see who Mama Elena is, where she is the most vulnerable. Tita makes a white sheet for Rosaura and Pedro’s wedding night, and making that sheet means she is accepting the fact that her sister will marry her true love. The themes of passion, family, and tradition. Esquivel uses magical realism by having characters come back from the dead and literally burning from the strength of their passion. She also uses it when the guests eat Rosaura and Pedro’s wedding cake and begin to cry uncontrollably because it contained the tears of a sorrowful Tita. Tita uses her cooking to communicate with others. Through a dish, she tells Pedro she still loves him, and tells the guests of his wedding how sad she is. Cooking is also a way that the history of the De la Garza family is passed on, with many recipes bringing back old memories for Tita and her sisters. In Spanish, the title says “Como agua para chocolate.” The phrase like water for chocolate refers to boiling water is on the brink of boiling over but hasn’t, just like someone's nerves that are on the verge of boiling over. While no turmoil can be seen on the outside of the pot, the inside is utter chaos. This is a metaphor to Tita’s life, always wanting to stand up to her mother and break free from her clutches, but never being brave enough to truly do it. Like Water for Chocolate is a beautiful book that tells a passionate yet confusing story that will make you feel a mix emotions you didn’t know was possible.
Louise_lee More than 1 year ago
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is a Latin American novel based on a large Spanish culture family living on a ranch. The book holds many exaggerations, metaphors, references, imagery, and of course the overall plot of the novel, recipes. Tita, the main character of the books, overcomes many challenges from her culture and family. Some of the obstacles overcome by the character are mainly romance and independence. Most of Tita’s life is surrounded by cooking thanks to her mother, Mama Elena. Her mother believes in the tradition that the youngest stays with the family to help take care of the family by doing chores which include cooking. Since most of Tita’s story is told with her cooking, many emotions and thoughts come from it. Such as the event when Tita’s heartbroken tears fall into her sister's wedding cake causing everyone at the wedding to become depressed and heartbroken after eating the cake. The amount of hyperbole and imagery Laura blended into this scene is spectacular. However, the novel may have too many motifs and imagery for some readers. Especially when Pedro gives his all while lovemaking with Tita, he passes away since there is nothing left in him. It seems a little too far out there for certain readers, but this is a fictional Latin American novel. Every chapter starts with the beginning of a new month. Each month, there's a new recipe introduced that is important to the following chapter. This is a unique way to use foreshadowing since it helps readers understand what the chapter might have in store for them. For example, with the February chapter, the recipe is for a gigantic wedding cake. Readers will then assume there will be a ceremony of some kind in this chapter which sparks interest, and they will continue to read. However, with only twelve chapters, the story is not very long. Instead, it mainly summarizes Tita’s life instead of going into depth of her life throughout the years instead of months. Possible a writing tactic the author used to shorten the book to become more straightforward to avoid using unnecessary events or facts. Like Water for Chocolate is an amazing book that will make you ponder about how uneventful your life is compared to Tita’s. The novel is truly an incredible story with many messages, references, and ideas that will most likely change your perspective on certain parts of life. A highly recommended book that will make you angry, laugh, cry, and fall in love with the characters.