Five words from the blurb: chocolate, boutique, French, town, church
Chocolat is one of those books that everyone seems to have read, but I hadn’t even seen the film. This meant I was pleased when someone from my book group selected it for our next discussion. Chocolat tells the story of Vianne Rocher, a newcomer who decides to open a chocolate shop in a small French town.
Everyone else in my book group enjoyed Chocolat, but unfortunately it didn’t really work for me. It was a fast paced read, but it lacked depth. The characters were difficult to distinguish from one another and the setting was so vague that it was hard to tell where/when it was set.
The book also seemed to wage a war on the church, hinting that religion was evil and chocolate good. I’m not religious so wasn’t offended by these sections, but I struggled with the simplicity of the arguments. The best stories don’t pit good against evil, but instead show that there are shades of grey in everything. This was all too black and white for me.
Much of the plot was also a bit far fetched. I often struggle with magical realism and although this book didn’t venture far into this genre I still found the implausibility of some scenes difficult.
On a positive note – the description of chocolate manufacture were wonderful – they made me so hungry!
I’m interested to see how the film handles these subjects, but it seems as though I’m in the minority in not loving this one.