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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chocolat: A Book Review

I just finished a great book and thought I'd share. "Chocolat", by Joanne Harris fits all my criteria for a "good read". I saw the movie with Johnny Depp (hard to go wrong there!)quite awhile ago. I think it also starred Juliette Binoche- sorry didn't see you behind Mr. Depp! I liked the movie, but I loved the book! In my opinion, there is much more depth of story, and rather a layered effect in the book that no movie could really capture.

As the title claims- there is a lot of chocolate in this novel! I don't recommend it if you are on a diet, or for some bizarre reason!, trying to avoid chocolate. There are chocolate drinks, chocolate cakes, and morsels of all descriptions throughout the story. And it's the really good pure dark chocolate stuff. The main character is a chocolataire extraordinaire. She also has some rather unusual talents and abilities that could, in some circles, label her a witch.

This is a story of magic, gypsies, women and food. Vianne is a single mother with unknown roots,that appears in a tightly knit small town and dares to open a chocolate shop. Not only that, she dares to open it across from the church and during the season of Lent. It becomes a story of "church versus chocolate" and "religion versus spirit". It's also a story of motherhood and heritage.

I really enjoyed Joanne Harris' writing style. She appeals to all the senses. You see, hear, taste, and smell along with the characters. Above all, you feel with them-at least I did. A check of Harris' website at reveals she writes from the heart. Ahh.. that's what makes this novel so good. "Chocolat" is a bit of her personal story woven into fiction. Apparently Joanne Harris grew up in the surroundings from which she writes. In her biography she claims to be the great-grand daughter of a Frenchwoman known locally as a witch and a healer. It is said you should always "write what you know", and Harris really knows this stuff!

I'm sure you could find deep morals and lessons to be derived from this novel, but you don't have to. It strikes me as just a really good read. I think it's a book best served while curled up with a hot chocolate on a rainy day.

And great news- there is a sequel!!


  1. I haven't seen the movie or read the book. But since you've mentioned it I like to buy the book right away.

  2. Enjoy! I've read all her books now and love each and every one!