LatinaLista — Josefina Lopez, the acclaimed playwright of the hit play-turned-into-movie “Real Women have Curves,” does it again with her debut novel published in 2009 titled “Hungry Woman in Paris.”
It’s a tale of a woman discovering ‘herself.’ Everyone who reads this book will rock with laughter as twenty-nine-year-old, Canela, relates her family’s opinions about her status as a single woman. Her mother, especially, continuously expands on all the ways Canela refuses to do what her mother knows is right.
After breaking her engagement to the answer to every mother’s dream of a perfect catch, and the death of her best friend, Canela travels to Paris and attends Le Croq Rouge, a fame cooking school popular among foreigners.
In a midst of dealing with loneliness, depression, feelings of guilt, and learning a new language, Canela once again experiences the taint of being foreign-borned that she had encounter in her childhood growing up in the U.S.
The book and the cooking course last nine months and is divided into three parts: Basic, Intermediate, and Superior.
The reader journeys with Canela through many adventures of her feminist and activist activities, yet the multiple themes explored throughout this novel never bogs down or bores due to the deft hand of the author.
Canela’s insightful and witty remarks about life and the world she sees keeps the reader bouncing between riotous laughter and serious observance.
‘Hungry’ in the title reflects Canela’s desire to be accepted by her mother as a person of her own means, and by the world as a creator of her own existence. The ‘hungry’ is more than a wish to lose twenty pounds; it is a craving for the sense of fulfillment in all levels of her life.
It is a study of womanhood in the making entwined with a hilarious view of the world. This is a must-read if only for the sheer enjoyment of a brilliantly written work by an author who dares to explore what is not allowed.
Jo Ann HernÃ¡ndez is assistant Bookshelf editor and author of the award-winning “White Bread Competition” and “The Throwaway Piece,” as well as, creator and publisher of the BronzeWord Latino Authors web site.