Hungry Woman in Paris is a wonderful book of discovery, both cultural and internal.
The heroine, Canela, believes that she is close to the brink. Her cousin Luna, who was as a
sister to her, committed suicide instead of coming to her for help. Add to that the fact she
has just broken up with her perfect doctor fiancé, and her mom is waging a no holds barred
emotional war to force her back to him; things couldn‘t be worse. At her lowest point,
Canela takes the ticket that was to fly her and her fiance to Paris for their honeymoon. and
runs away. Unable to go back home once her three months are up, she signs up for a cooking
school that will give her the papers to stay. Broken and listless, she forces herself into
the life of the cooking school, and that life forces itself on her.
While this book is about a girl and cooking, it is so much more than the mere plot. It
is a story of the painful breaking down then rebuilding of Canela’s essence. As she chops,
sautés, and burns her way through the class, she is forced to realize the devastating lies
in her life. It’s not just food, but the key to unlock the misery of the past that colors
her future. It makes her realize that she feels like a failure for not being a Chicana
woman who cooks and for not taking her expected role in society. She was always just a girl,
never loved and fed the most, always misunderstood, until she felt she must fight for her
right to anything—the right to live as she wants, to love, and to enjoy sex. In Paris,
everything breaks away, leaving Canela only two choices: death or rebirth.
While this might be chick lit, the deeper undertone of loss, dejection, and rebirth can be
understood by anyone. Rich, lush, and earthy, it takes the reader on a joy ride of the senses
that anyone will want to taste. It is very sexual, but the sex is not just added to tease, it
fits into the cycle of breaking through repression.