“Chocolat” by Joanne Harris

15107Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk, arrive in the French village of Lansquenet after having traveled in many places. They open a chocolate boutique directly opposite the village’s church and they intent to stay. They are as exotic as any stranger can be to the villagers, not accustomed to tourists or visitors. Father Reynaud denounces Vianne as a serious danger to his flock and chocolate as a sin, especially as Easter is approaching and people should be abstinent. War is declared between church and chocolate,Father Reynaud and Vianne.

The book is about many things that feed our minds with thoughts. It is about making new friends and fitting in to a new environment, so different than you. It is about embracing new things and different cultures. It is about racism. It is about the right to live your own life, no matter what others say. It is about the strength needed to oppose to your people when what you believe is not what they want from you. it is about making new starts and be strong against old bad habits and even worse men. It is about believing in children and trusting them, allowing them fly away from the nest into the real world. It is about life and death, spiritual and human, Christianity and paganism, God and magic, right and wrong.

One of the fasinating things of this book is the chocolate itself. “La Celeste Praline”, the chocolaterie that Vianne Rocher opened in the French village, is somewhat extravagant. I don’t know if this is a characteristic of the French, but every little sweet thing had a name that would call for you to taste it. The descriptions of the brews and the candy in the store are so vivid, that the reader would easily imagine having one or two along with the book. This is not an easy task!


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