Book #11 (February) – Like Water for Chocolate


** I’ve started a new Facebook-based book club! Learn more HERE.**

This month’s book is: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel


Summary (from GoodReads):

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. For the next twenty-two years, 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





Discussion Questions


Before you Read: 

1. What are your expectations for this book?

2. Explain your thoughts on the title and what it might mean. How might water and chocolate be similar?

3. What feeling(s) are conveyed by the cover?





January to June:

4. Do you agree with the tradition that the youngest must take care of her mother?

5. Does incorporating recipes into the novel add to or take away from the overall story? If it adds to it, in what way?

6. Is it possible for emotions to be infused into food? Is it possible to feel these emotions when eating?

7. Nacha’s time in the story is short. What role does she play in regards to Tita?

8. Is it fair of Pedro to still have feelings for Tita although he is married?

9. Consider Gutrudis’ encounter with Juan. Is this scene a symbol of Pedro’s and Tita’s love for each other and why or why not?

10. Explain Tita’s love for her newborn nephew. Why does she feel connected to him though he is not hers?

11. Based on Dr. Brown’s sudden attraction to Tita, what role might he play later on?

12. What might Tita’s bedspread symbolize in the story?

13. A few things Tita cares about in these chapters die. Who or what are they and what is the relationship between them and Tita?

14. Do you agree that Tita belongs in an asylum? Why or why not?

15. Do you agree that we have inner matches that can be extinguished? Do you think Tita will experience this?





July to December:

16. Does time away from Mama Elena do Tita good? Who suffers more from this separation, if anyone, and why?

17. Is Tita’s love for Dr. Brown true like her love for Pedro? If not, why does she believe that she loves him?

18. Did Mama Elena die by accident, or did she secretly poison herself to death on purpose? Why do you believe so?

19. Do the letters that Tita finds change her mind about Mama Elena, or will she still hold a grudge? Do you have sympathy for Mama Elena after knowing about her past?

20. What is the purpose of naming Rosaura’s child “Esperanza”?

21. Do you consider Rosaura’s surgery to be a symbol of her dying marriage? Why or why not?

22. Is it fair of Rosaura to continue the tradition that Mama Elena held Tita to?

23. Who do you wish Tita would marry, Pedro or John? Why?

24. How does (or how might) the idea that Tita could be pregnant change the relationship between her and Pedro? Rosaura and Pedro?

25. Will the possibility of a pregnancy change John’s mind in marrying Tita? Should Tita still marry him despite losing her virginity to Pedro?

26. What do you think of the life Gertrudis has chosen? Does she fit the role she now plays?

27. Are you surprised by the death of Rosaura? The marriage of Esperanza and Alex?

28. Tita’s inner matches are extinguished while she is with Pedro. Why is this?

29. Why does Pedro die first? (I’m not sure there is a deeper meaning here, but it will be curious to hear your answers.)

30. Pedro dies without getting married to Tita. Do you think this matters to either of them?

31. Esperanza is the teller of this story. Does her point of view change anything? Can you tell from this book who Esperanza considers more as her mother?



Other Questions:

32. Which character did you feel most sorry for and why?

33. What is the overall message of this story?

34. What was your favorite recipe in the book and why?

35. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Book Club Dare: Find a recipe that is meaningful to you in some way and post a link to it here. Why did you choose this recipe?

Book Club Dare #2: Watch the movie of the same title. Do you notice any differences between the book and the movie? Which do you prefer and why?


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3 responses to “Book #11 (February) – Like Water for Chocolate

  1. 1. That I’ll enjoy it. I’ve had it on my to be read list for so long.

    2. I hope it has some recipes. I love chocolate, so hopefully that plays a prominent role. Water and chocolate both nourish and satisfy you in some way…

    3. I’m not sure. They look like it’s a chore to do the baking, not a fun task.

  2. 1. I hope it’s not too much of a soap opera, but I fear it still can be. 😛
    2. In Estonia the title is a bit clearer, it could be translated “Like water for boiling chocolate”. So I think that is a kind of metaphore: water is necessary for boiling chocolate, it can experience something sweet and special near it, but finally it is taken away and leaves only sweet memories… That’s the way I see it.
    2. I like the original cover more. The girl looks sad, but there’s still some kind of strength and power in her. The cover of Estonian version is sexier, more mdern and eclectic, but it looks like a cheap and light romance not a modern classic. I find it quite ugly, to be honest.

  3. 4. Do you agree with the tradition that the youngest must take care of her mother? It’s nice when somebody can take care of the mother, but it shouln’t be so strict. The responsibility could be shared between all children. And this shouldn’t ban them from marrying.
    5. Does incorporating recipes into the novel add to or take away from the overall story? If it adds to it, in what way? I think it adds by making it more lively, adding tastes and smells…
    6. Is it possible for emotions to be infused into food? Is it possible to feel these emotions when eating? Well, definitely it’s not possible so dramatically as in this book! But in a way I believe that when we put our heart in cooking, crafts or whatever we do, others can feel the positive influence.
    7. Nacha’s time in the story is short. What role does she play in regards to Tita? She teaches Tita cooking and it is the only way of living Tita knows for a long time. Actually she is a real motherly figure for Tita, as Mama Elena doesn’t seem to love her much.
    8. Is it fair of Pedro to still have feelings for Tita although he is married? We can also ask, is it fair of Pedro to marry another woman although he loves Tita? But Pedro sees it as his own possibility to be close to Tita. And although his body might belong to Rosaura now, he keeps his feelings for Tita only.
    9. Consider Gutrudis’ encounter with Juan. Is this scene a symbol of Pedro’s and Tita’s love for each other and why or why not? This was one of the looniest scenes in the book in my opinion. I just can’t understand it. I think that love shouldn’t begin with sex… But yes, the author explains that Tita was the Sander, Pedro was the receiver and they were united in Gertrudis.

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