To tell the truth this was one of the few books that I entirely disliked the style they were written in. It was not the magical qualities of the story that made it bad, the story was nice, but the style was distracting and scatter-brained. It felt like I was reading a normal book and every other paragraph I looked at a line from a cookbook. In most areas the recipes were not even seamlessly brought into the story, instead they were just stuck in a few sentences here and there. Overall I think the book’s style reflects the way a person with severe attention deficit disorder thinks. The story itself was nice but parts made no sense at all, and if anybody handed in a paper with the same lack of coherency it would receive a nice big red F. However the lack of a coherent style does not make the feelings it tries to portray any less pronounced, it just makes it a little harder to read.
In several belief systems (voodoo in particular) the idea that the feelings of an individual can be transmitted through objects are prevalent. In Tia’s case the emotions range from sadness, to joy, to anger to desire, and food is used as the median. The idea that her emotions can have such a large effect on the people around them is by realist ideals silly at best, however the exaggeration does give the book its place in literature. It is not important that Tia’s tears could not have made the guests cry it is rather the idea that Tia’s emotions were so powerful as to affect the people around her. The same idea can be said of the quail dinner scene, the enormous blanket or the volcano at the end of the story.
This idea that realistic elements can have a magical, spiritual and fanciful elements is what makes magical realism different than other literary forms. The story is not all fantasy but at the same time it is not all realistic. Instead the story finds a happy medium between the two and as a result becomes a story ala Paul Bunyan or Davy Crockett. While it would be hard to argue that the events in any of these three stories are all true they have just the right balance of fantasy and reality to make the supreme decision rather difficult. This inability to define what is “real” and what is fantasy is what makes the genre enjoyable. Although I still think the book is scatter-brained.