Monday, November 1, 2010


ChocolatChocolat by Joanne Harris

On the library stacks: Adult fiction
Series: Book 1 of 2

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I saw this movie years ago, but I can tell you that I definitely liked the movie much more than the book. The movie was warm and feel-good, but the book was dark and cold. Plus, it took me over 10 days to read, and that is never a good thing.

Vianne is a single mother who is constantly on the move. She is carried by the wind from one town to the next, where she sets up her chocolate shop and makes friends with the locals until it is time to move on. When she and her daughter Anouk arrive in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, Vianne confronts the demon of her tarot cards, the "Black Man." He is the town's Catholic priest, Reynaud, and he is determined to drive Vianne out of town. 

This book is told in the alternating voices of Vianne and Reynaud. I found Vianne to be selfish, self-centered and disrespectful. Reynaud is just disgusting and despicable. I really hated to see all the religious characters in the novel to be portrayed as ridiculously pathetic and out-of-touch individuals.

I will say that Harris has a lovely way with words and imagery, and certainly the magical realism elements added to the aura I think she was trying to create. But the romance element was a total let-down, I didn't like the anti-religious sentiment, and I thought the whole book was kind of depressing. Opinions on this book are many and varied, so check out some other reviews:

Becky's Book ReviewsBook Nut ~ So Many Books, So Little Time ~ A Life in Books ~ Your link here?

Book 99 of 100 for the 100+ Reading Challenge, Book 43 of 50 for the RYOB Challenge
Source: BookMooch


Emilia said...

Agreed agreed agreed!!! It was one of the few books I've read where it made me appreciate the screenwriters all the more for coming up with a charming story out of this mess. I will say, though, that I read the sequel several years later, and enjoyed it much more...possibly because I went into it with such low expectations.

bermudaonion said...

Too bad the book's a stinker, because I loved the movie too.

Veens said...

I will have to give it a try because I love magic realism!

Nina said...

oh no, that does sounds pretty bad. I loved the movie too. I have seen it more then two times and I'm looking forward watching it a couple more times. :)

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I felt the same way about the book. It was such a disappointment. It's so rare that a movie is better than the book, but in this case it's true!