wilderthan: ((Books) Stack)
[personal profile] wilderthan
The Lollipop Shoes is Joanne Harris' sequel to Chocolat. I don't remember why I read Chocolat in the first place -- I think we might have studied a snippet of it, or the film script: something like that. I remember assuming it wouldn't be my thing and then getting caught up in it, finding that it 'tasted' good. Not that that's surprising, considering that the two books centre around chocolate and there's so much description of taste and food, but that doesn't always mean a book will taste nice. Both of the books have some bright images that genuinely do seem to leap off the page and become pictures in your mind -- like Zozie's shoes in the window, filled with chocolates. With both books, I had to wonder if Joanne had a little of Vianne's magic herself, tempting you into the book, knowing your favourites...

On the whole, I think I prefer Chocolat. It seemed fine on its own, and the relationship between Roux and Vianne reminds me of some lines from one of my favourite songs, Gypsy, by Suzanne Vega. We'll blow away forever soon and go on to different lands, and please do not ever look for me, but with me you will stay, and you will hear yourself in song, blowing by one day...

But it's good to see Vianne again, and good to see Roux, and good to see what became of the baby she was going to have. There are things I didn't like about the book -- the way Vianne gave up her magic, content to live a normal life, for her children, and the way Anouk was so easily led astray... but it does make sense, for the characters and because of the other things going on.

One thing I definitely didn't like, stylistically, was the switching point of view. Sometimes I had to actually go back and check which little sign was on the chapter, to see who it was supposed to be. It does give us an immediate and intrinsic view on each of the three characters, but it felt clumsy, and the voices weren't quite distinct enough.

The plot revolves around the use of magic, which Zozie embraces and Vianne has locked away. I liked this, the magic in Chocolat is intriguing, tempting, and I wanted to know more about it. I thought the names of the spells and so on were a little over-dramatic -- but then, that's like Zozie herself, isn't it? It seemed a little too easy, at the end, for Vianne to unravel everything. And of course, there's the picture-perfect happy ending, the one we always hoped for.

I liked it quite a lot, but not quite as much as Chocolat. I felt like Chocolat was good on its own, tantalising, a little mysterious. There's something addictive about Joanne Harris' writing, though, something that makes me wonder if maybe I should look for some more of her books.


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October 2013

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