** 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
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?
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?