"Tita thought of the many times she had germinated kernels or seeds of rice, beans, or alfalfa, without giving any thought to how it felt for them to grow and change form so radically. Now she admired the way they opened their skin and allowed the water to penetrate them fully, until they were split asunder to make way for new life. She imagined the pride they felt as the tip of the first root emerged from inside of them, the humility with which they accepted the loss of their previous form, the bravery with which they showed the world their new leaves. Tita would love to be a simple seed, not to have to explain to anyone what was growing inside her, to show her fertile belly to the world without laying herself open to society's disapproval. Seeds didn't have that kind of problem, they didn't have a mother to be afraid of or a fear of those who would judge them."
(from page 198, Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, translated by Carl and Thomas Christensen, Doubleday 1992).
Many years ago, I saw and loved the movie, which I'm sure most readers have seen too. On these hot lazy summer afternoons I've been reading some light fiction, including Like Water for Chocolate. Usually I like the book better than the movie, but not this time. I did enjoy reading the traditional Mexican recipes, but they were oddly popped into passages. The writing seems rather stiff, perhaps because it's written by a screenwriter, or is it the translation? As a lover of folk and fairy tales, I enjoyed the magical realism, as well as the love story and glimpses into Mexican culture at the time of the revolution. Frida Kahlo's paintings came to mind. The quoted passage above, for me, was one of the more inspired and intriguing ones, making me pause several times to savour the words and meaning.