Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Gracia Maquez
Grade: N/A (but I did give it 1 star on GoodReads)
And welcome to the second round of mandatory school books I had to read: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I am always reluctant on school readings because every page required an analysis for a character, a mantra, a symbol or even the choice of color. Reading novels for school suck away any sense of enjoyment and the ones I’ve actually come to like are readings assigned by teachers who just chuck the book at you and tell you to have a blast: no quiz, no written assignment, no homework, just a due date to finish it by and a formal test. For Love in the Time of Cholera I had every one of those homework, quizzes, and written papers.
While delivering a message to her father, Florentino Ariza spots the barely pubescent Fermina Daza and immediately falls in love. What follows is the story of a passion that extends over 50 years, as Fermina is courted solely by letter, decisively rejects her suitor when he first speaks, and then joins the urbane Dr. Juvenal Urbino, much above her station, in a marriage initially loveless but ultimately remarkable in its strength. Florentino remains faithful in his fashion; paralleling the tale of the marriage is that of his numerous liaisons, all ultimately without the depth of love he again declares at Urbino's death.--from Amazon
One of my biggest peeves is how historically inaccurate the novel is and yet it seems to be praised for it! Why does one book get condemned for having anachronisms and another gets a set of bravo!
As for the symbolism I am constantly weary of them. Here’s a short little anecdote: Our teacher announced that a published poet will be stopping by the following week. She then passed out 5 sheets of paper of his work and asked us to analyze them…in depth. We spent a large portion of class time that week combing through each line and thought the theme of one poem was about social stratification. When the poet finally arrived we complimented him about the symbolism of the poem to which he replied he had no idea what we were talking about, it was just a dream. Teacher sputtered and laughed; all I could say was WTF. In my opinion how can we pass judgment of a novel or poem when we really are not sure if the author has a significant meaning behind each word? So maybe Garcia Marquez just really liked parrots; let’s not over-analyze anything!
Pass the literary merit one may accompany Love in the Time of Cholera with lays this huge disdain for the characters. Not one character has a positive attribute grand enough to outcast the negatives:
they are all disgusting loathsome beings. I apologize; the majority of the characters just live in this delusional world where primitive feelings are acute—particularly the sexual kind. Fermina, the main female lead, is just the only disgusting loathsome being. She’s want you might call today a gold-digger. And a whore. She marries Urbino because of his good reputation and good fortune completely ignoring Florentino even after 3 years of courting and love letter writing. And once Urbino tragically dies she ‘falls in love’ with Florentino again who remains a freaking virgin for her even after 622 affairs! Ha. Ha. Ha! But seriously Urbino and Florentino fell in love with her why? Because she's pretty. Gracia Marquez mentions that plenty enough.
What did I get from the story? Have an affair—everyone’s doing it! Sailors, captains, doctors, photographers, grandmothers, mothers, wives, CEOs—everyfreakingone.
I wanted to quit every chapter of the way, but alas I was not allowed to. Grrr.