Exploring the art of storytelling.
Before traveling to Europe, I decided to prepare myself by reading a book that takes place on the enchanting continent. I was glancing on my mother’s bookshelf when I found the deliciously titled “Chocolat” by Joanne Harris. “Chocolate” is about a nomadic woman, Vianne, and her daughter who arrive to a rural French town and open up a chocolate shop, much to the priest’s disapproval. Her chocolates entice the community during Lent, and she brings joy into the townspeople’s lives. Sounds sweet like chocolate, and it was. I would dare to say it was too sweet.
“Chocolat” was told by the point of view of two different narrators, Vianne and the priest, Reynaud. They alternated between telling their individual stories. This was indicated by different font types used for each character. And each font fit its character’s personality perfectly. Vianne’s font was larger and more curved compared to Reynauld’s darker and more angular font.
Throughout the novel, Vianne would recall memories of her mother. Each flashback would provide small bits of information about Vianne’s childhood of traveling, her mother’s death, and the black man who confronted her mother. Because of these flashbacks, I assumed that Vianne’s mother was going to play a pivotal role throughout the book. However, in the end of “Chocolat,” Vianne didn’t get any type of internal resolution regarding her mother. If anything, Vianne made peace with her mother’s death, but it was very vague. It made me wonder why she kept bringing her up in the first place.
Unfortunately, I found “Chocolat” to be very boring. It took me while to get through. Vianne didn’t have any specific super objective other than creating a chocolate festival on Easter and making people happy. There wasn’t enough at stake and nothing pulled me forward. “Chocolat” just wasn’t the right flavor.