Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: Hungry Woman in Paris

Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez

A journalist and activist, Canela believes passion is essential to life; but lately passion seems to be in short supply. It has disappeared from her relationship with her fiancé, who is more interested in controlling her than encouraging her. It's absent from her work, where censorship and politics keep important stories from being published. And while her family is full of outspoken individuals, the only one Canela can truly call passionate is her cousin and best friend Luna, who just took her own life.

Canela can't recover from Luna's death. She is haunted by her ghost and feels acute pain for the dreams that went unrealized. Canela breaks off her engagement and uses her now un-necessary honeymoon ticket, to escape to Paris. Impulsively, she sublets a small apartment and enrolls at Le Coq Rouge, Paris's most prestigious culinary institute.

Cooking school is a sensual and spiritual reawakening that brings back Canela's hunger for life. With a series of new friends and lovers, she learns to once again savor the world around her. Finally able to cope with Luna's death, Canela returns home to her family, and to the kind of life she thought she had lost forever.

Reviewed by: Bela M.

Let me start off by stating what little I liked about this book. First of all, the main character's name was Canela. What a fun name! Canela, which means "cinnamon" (Brown and sweet). The story started out with Canela at her favorite cousin's funeral. I liked how the whole family function turned into an all-out brawl right in the middle of it. Lopez brought out an authentic Mexican flavor to her charcters in this scene. It was funny and witty.

The story started taking a slow turn when Canela decides to go to Paris because she called off her engagement. At first, her reason for leaving was to use the tickets she bought for her honeymoon; but, then, her decision to stay was a little anti-American with the following quote: "I hate my life. I hate the war. I hate what is happening to the U.S., and I just can't go back." (pg. 25) Okay, take a chill pill, girl! Sometimes this story got way too political for my taste.

And sometimes Canela was just a coward to me. I mean, fleeing the country because you don't want to face your mother with the truth? C'mon! Although we all can understand the desire to run away from work, family, life--the world! But, sooner or later, you're going to have to come back and face what you ran away from.

The imagery of Paris was described beautifully and eloquently. However, this still did not compensate for the writer being too graphic with the sex scenes. I was so grossed out by most of them. I can't even tell you a little bit about it. Yuck! Also, she outlined the cooking so much that I often skipped these parts. I also thought that there were too many characters that you don't really care about. In all honesty, I didn't really care about Canela either.

All in all, this book was all about food and sex--no story whatsoever. It was a grave dissapointment. Lopez should really stick to screenplays.

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