Now a journalist and activist, Canela is engaged to a Chicano doctor and has reached the milestone of her thirtieth birthday when tragedy strikes. Her cousin and best friend Luna, living the American dream according to Mexican culture, commits suicide and reminds Canela of all in which she truly believes. Breaking off her engagement, Canela uses her honeymoon trip to Paris as a chance to escape and breathe. Impulsively, she decides to stay and enrolls in the prestigious Le Coq Rouge cooking school.
The people Canela meets in her classes help to reawaken her passions and hungers. The experience of learning to cook brings back many memories of her childhood. Returning to Los Angeles after nearly a year, Canela has a stronger perspective on who she is and the life she wants to lead.
I really enjoyed Canela's story and wanted to see how her experiences changed her or re-awakened parts of her. Her take on yet again being an immigrant, as well as having the French question her status as an American was interesting and enlightening. The descriptions of life in Paris were great, making me feel I was experiencing it with Canela and meeting so many interesting people in this international city. Of course, being a huge Top Chef fan I loved all of the cooking school scenes!
Like most good stories, this novel is not just one thing. It is emotional, educational, romantic in a non-sexual way, and amusing. The chapters have witty titles such as Like Water for Canela, Eat Woman Drink Man, and Last Mango in Paris. There are funny and interesting little side stories, such as shopping at the Louis Vuitton flagship store, and the rules for living in what is a servant's apartment. I look forward to Ms. Lopez's second book, A Girl and a Ball, which she is currently writing. Hungry Woman in Parisis scheduled for publication on March 9, but can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Also, if you've never seen the film Real Women Have Curves, I strongly encourage you buy it or get it through Netflix. It has an all-star Latino cast including America Ferrera, George Lopez and Lupe Ontiveros.