Chocolat has been on my TBR for quite a while and, as I'm behind on my reading from my shelves tally for the year (only at 20 of a desired 50 right now), I needed to get through some of the shorter books to try and catch up. Not only is this a short book but it was also a quick read, with some simple but powerful ideas and an interesting cast of characters.
Vianne Rocher is a wanderer, born of a wanderer. She decides to make a stay in Lansquenet, a French village, where she might not be entirely welcome. Her specialty is chocolate but her timing couldn't be worse as it's the start of Lent. The local priest sees her as a temptress who must be forced out of town but some of the villagers find that she supplies exactly what they've been missing in their lives.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel -- up until the last few pages.
SPOILERISH MOMENT (skip if you plan on reading the book)
If you have read the novel, you know that something happens that Vianne acts like is no big deal but which will obviously cause problems once the truth gets out. She seems so intelligent and sensitive up until that point and then all of a sudden she is just incredibly self-centered. It almost ruined her entire character for me. Luckily, though, after some time now, it is the larger picture of the story that stands out and not the ending.
But until the end, I really loved the characters -- from children to old women, gypsies to retirees. Even the narrow-minded and boorish characters were well written. And the discussion of chocolates and flowers made me want to pick up and move to France as soon as possible. Instead, I will have to borrow the film and settle on an evening with Johnny Depp instead.
Dreaming of confections,
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