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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chocolat...Review

About the book:
Try me...Test me...Taste me. When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as instruments of murder. Suddenly, Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a 'Church not Chocolate' battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate eclair? For the first time, here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as a moral issue, as an agent of transformation - as well as a pleasure bordering on obsession. Rich, clever and mischievous, this is a triumphant read.

I adored the film. It's one of my favorites. So, when I discovered that it was based on a book, I had to read it. And, it's not a bad book. The film adaptation is quite different, although many of the characters are the same. For instance, in the book, Reynaud is the priest not the mayor and Caroline Clairmont is not a widow working for him. Armande is still feisty and Guillaume sweet. Josephine also appears prominently. Roux was far more appealing on screen: I wonder why? ;)

There is more depth the the story and it's very much a story about family: a story about mothers and daughters. Vianne also managed to connect with the villagers, despite their priest's disapproval. She's unusual and an outsider and sells chocolate. There is a lot of mysteriousness in the narration: is Vianne really a witch? Is Armande a witch? Will the pagan win out against the church?

I didn't find this story as charming or as magical as the film. I liked the changes made in the film adaptation and I thought Vianne was much more likable in the film, than in the book. I didn't connect with her voice. I suppose the book's ending was more true to Vianne's character, but I loved the film's ending more.

So, I don't normally say this but I prefer the film. This novel was hard for me to get into. It was one of those that I needed to force myself to finish.

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/08


1/5 Stars

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