Friday, March 06, 2009


Harris, Joanne. 1999. Chocolat. Penguin. 306 pages.

So. I finished it. Finally. My thoughts? Well, I didn't hate it. But I sure was hoping to like it more than I did. With a name like Chocolat, I expected it to be, well, delicious. And perhaps other readers find it so. Told in alternating voices--a holier-than-thou-priest, Reynaud, and a wicked-worldly woman, a chocolate-maker, Vianne Rocher, the book--set in France--follows the Lenten season from its opening festivals (Fat Tuesday?) through Easter morn. A woman and her young child (complete with an invisible best friend who just happens to be a rabbit) are settling into a new town, a village. Vianne is a wanderer, ever-restless, following the wind. Is this new place the place she'll call home? Will her daughter ever make real friends? As she opens her chocolate shop, she begins to acquaint herself with the going ons of the town--its ins and outs. The reader is introduced to at least half-a-dozen village residents--some become Vianne's closest friends; others become her worst enemies. The book doesn't really have a plot per se unless you count the making, selling, and eating of chocolate to be an adventuresome plot. However, it is rich in characterization. So it's not without merit. Some of the sub-plots intrigued me more than others.

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Beth Fehlbaum, Author 8:02 AM  

1. Yeah, I tried to read the book, Chocolat, before, but I had already seen the movie and I think the movie spoiled me.
2. I like the new look of your site!
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of HOPE..
Ch. 1 is online!

Unknown 8:08 AM  

So, I'll ask the question everyone asked me: have you seen the movie? (I have, but it's been ages, and I wanted to rewatch it, which I haven't yet.) I'm glad I wasn't the only one who came away less-than-satisfied with the foodiness of the book.

Jennie 9:53 AM  

This is on my list of things to read, and I do *love* the movie...

I'll ask what everyone else is--have you seen the movie? How do they compare?!

Becky 10:37 AM  

I have seen the movie--but it was about nine years ago...and it was on VHS if that lets you know how long ago it was :) That plus it was a "new release" at blockbuster at the time...

I'd love to see the movie again to compare....but...based on memory alone...

I think the movie is better than the book. I think the movie does a better job capturing everything.

Wendy 11:43 AM  

Looks like you felt the way I did, Becky...I *would* like to see the movie, however. So many people seemed to enjoy it...and I can see where maybe the movie might intrigue me more than the book (that doesn't happen too often!)

Laura 12:25 PM  

I read this book recently, then I watched movie. I was surprised that I liked the book somewhat. Enough to read the sequel, which may have been better. At least it did a good job of tying up some of the plotlines left dangling in Chocolat.

Becky 8:13 PM  

Wendy, do see the movie.

Laura, I didn't know there was a sequel! Surprisingly enough, though I seem pretty ho-hum about the book in my review, I would so read the sequel if it came my way. I *don't* think my library has it. But if it did, I'd so read it.

Sandra 1:55 PM  

A number of people have said the book was boring compared to the film. I have always enjoyed a book for that any film that was made of it. So I must read the book now out of curiosity, I have seen the film but some years ago. I did read the sequel under the UK title The Lollpop Shoes (The Girl With No Shadow in the US)and enjoyed it very much.

Heather 10:11 PM  

The movie and the book are nothing alike. There's the same characters and same plot but the priest turns into the mayor and they may as well be two different things entirely. There's more that's different than there is in similarity.

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