Sunday, December 6, 2009

Book Review: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

I just finished my reread of this book in preparation for my food and lit. class next semester. I read it several years ago . . . and was disappointed by the movie despite its featuring Johnny Depp (how that went wrong, I'll never know). I feel that the book is more powerfully magical, more epicurean in its philosophy than the film attempts to be. The book takes aim not only at the priggishness that can dominate small town life, but also at the "cold comforts" of the church and the fundamentalism and/or classism that can distort one's view of natural desires. The book's alignment of epicureanism with an appreciation of a gypsy lifestyle (although somewhat tempered by Vianne's desire to stay put in one place and not get bandied about by the winds of change) advocates for enjoyment of all of life's pleasures -- culinary and carnal.
If this book does not make you yearn for chocolate, there is no hope for you. Get thee to a nunnery.

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