Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Review: Like Water For Chocolate

I picked this book off my shelf, and ended up reading it in a day. That being said, I came away from this novel with mixed feelings. I love Chicana literature, and the storytelling in this book was superb. Esquivel weaves the story around a twelve month cookbook, and you will be craving all kinds of flavors before the book is done. The connection between recipes and life is something I thought was fantastic--as different dishes really do conjure up specific memories for me. For example, homemade pickles reminds me of one summer my parents decided to try their hand at them in a house we lived on Logan St. in Portland when I was about twelve. Baked beans always remind me of my Grandmother Weatherspoon, as does Peppermint icecream . . . but back to the book. While the storytelling is beautiful, the language is rich, the characters believable . . . there is one reason that I have misgivings about the book. One of the main plot points has to do with infidelity. The main character is not allowed to marry her sweetheart, who then marries her sister just to be near her. Stupid plan if you ask me. They just should have eloped. But I didn't write the story. It isn't graphic, but the mere subject matter kind of made my stomache turn a bit.

One thing I did find very enjoyable and highly interesting was the matriarchy of the novel. Women dominate the book, and shape the comings and goings. It was interesting considering the machismo element of Mexican culture that the story comes completely from a woman-centered household. The main character first embraces, fights against, and ultimately reshapes this matriarchy, which is a very cool cycle. One reason this works is that the focul point of the text is the kitchen, which is one of the great symbols of domesticity.

Overall--I recommend the book. It isn't like Lolita where I felt that the author was a bit soulless . . . there is a moral center to the novel in spite of the infidelity. If you are a fan or a student of Chicana literature, you should definitely pick it up. I think there are some cultural mores that should be recognized going into the reading which make the book more enjoyable and worthwhile, especially as relating to machismo and Mexican Patriarchy. If you enjoy Sandra Cisneros, you would like this novel as well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nine Months and Scooting . . .

Yesterday our boy turned 9 months. Today he had his nine-month check up. Here are the stats:

Weight: 17.99 lbs ( 12.22 %tile)
Height: 28.5 in. (59.85 %tile)
Head: 18.3 cm. (82.24 %tile)

Our little guy has finally decided to start chunking out! He jumped ten percentile points in weight alone in the last three months, while continuing to grow in height and (of course) head.

New tricks: scooting everywhere! He army crawls, and is pretty darn quick when he wants to be. This has opened up whole new possibilities for mischief, as everything goes into the mouth. It is nice because he is happier being able to go places on his own. Another not so fun new trick he showed Mom the other day--pulling off his diaper and peeing all over his crib. Yuck.

He is getting more and more independent, although strangers are now not cool and he doesn't like for us to be out of sight. As long as we are there to watch him play, everything is fine. He really likes to have an audience apparently! He likes to read and look at pictures, and most of all--play games with Dad!

He is also a big fan of his older cousin Sam. He'll just watch Sam, fascinated at the cool things Sam can do. I swear he learned to crawl after watching Sam up and around. That was the turning point when he decided he didn't hate tummy time! Wes is so lucky to have such nice, cute cousins to look up to as he grows.
I still take play time very seriously.

My boy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Collateral Damage

We now have a new roof on our apartment, which is great.

I now have only one tomato on my precious little plant, which is not great.

I was so proud of my little garden, which I have babied all summer. I feel very much like my adorable nephew William, with all his little kid excitement that things grow! And now I am in mourning for my little babies that are lost.