A chocolatier, an iconoclast, a single mother, and a mysterious woman with an uncanny knack to fix people's life - Vianne Rocher has no tolerance for oppression, and authority. When she and her daughter settle down in a small town, they rewrite the fate of this little town.
The town is a sullen, repressed place where people have forgotten their individuality. Theirs is a life of meek adherence and painful obedience. All this changes the day they take a bite of Vianne's luscious chocolates. The town, once staid, deprived, banal and ascetic, is plunged into the throes of passion, happiness, freedom and love. The clergy is appalled and wants to rid people of Vianne's heretical influence and her decadent chocolates.
I like the main theme of this book. It builds a charming tale that powerfully illustrates: how things like calling, passion, individuality and sensuality have their own kind of power and magic, and how shying away from them can lead to a dull, bitter and stagnant life; that being skilled at fighting your own battles need not make you condescending and does not exempt you from fighting for others; that we can add meaning to life with every choice we make; that we can use our calling to make someone's life better; that it’s important to make our own decisions and to think and reason; that it is possible to start from zero and invent a new life.
The writing is beautiful, vivid, and mystical. This book had me fascinated with baking, and stirred me into a baking frenzy for three whole months, which was only broken once the luxury of abundant free time became a thing of past.
So many terrifying things happen in this book that at some point it all felt like fiction. A misjudgment on the pilot's part crashes a plane in the remote Andes leaving a trail of dead, severely injured, and traumatized survivors. What follows is a harrowing account that feels like a surreal dream or a nightmare. There is a lot of gruesomeness, suffering and tragedy in this tale. The end grants respite to a few odd men who live to tell the tale.
Trapped by the biting cold, treacherous and unfamiliar terrain, and paralyzed by the shock of all the horror, they hope to be rescued soon. But when their food supply dwindles, and they take to eating their dead companions and, as days pass, they decide to send the strongest among them to look for a way out. After trekking for days, the two men, who had set out to reach civilization, make it to their goal, guaranteeing the safe return of all the other stranded men.
This book was a brutal reminder that the instinct to survive can be a great force, the young and the strong among us can be rendered helpless and non-functional, life can change for worse in no time and a slight error can bring it all down.
The love for books & a hunger for stories was programmed into my DNA. And, sooner than later, life experiences sealed the deal. Books have saved me, transformed my life, enlightened me and have shown me the path I must walk. In a way, far too many books have played the role of kindred spirits and guides, leading the seeker in me to answers and paving a way for a new way of life. Books have helped me keep my wits, my sense of wonder, my sense of mystery and curiosity & my sanity in a life that has been anything but predictable and normal.