Mexico: Old Traditions

I did not really know what I wanted to read from Mexico. I just knew that I did not want to read magical realism. There was however a book I have been meaning to read for a while, so why not now. Like water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel has gotten a lot of attention, but I had no expectations or actual clues what the book would even be about.

This is one of the fastest read ever. The book is divided into 12 chapters, for 12 months. It takes us back in time when an age-old Mexican tradition was still going strong. The youngest daughter’s duty is to take care of the mother until the end. This means that the youngest daughter cannot get married. A lot has changed since these days, but that does not make up for what these youngest girls of the families had to go through.

The problem arouses when Tita, the youngest daughter, falls in love with Pedro. Once he realizes what he is up against he marries Tita’s sister instead, so that he can be close to Tita. Now, this can only cause problems, right?! Tita is naturally suffering from the situation and she expresses herself through cooking.

Well, my hope for avoiding magical realism did not happen. It is absolutely the one genre I just cannot stand. The language was not to my liking. It was simple, too simple. The lack of rhythm did not convince me. Maybe it is better in the original Spanish. I do not want to blame the translation before I check it out though. The plot moves fast, too fast for the characters to fully bloom and grow.

What can I say? I love it when a book is equally loved and hated by readers. It must mean that it is a great piece of literature. It just was not a great piece of literature for me. At least it was a short book, which made it bearable to read. I like to read about old times and old traditions. This time I was familiar with the tradition, so it did not give me anything new.

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