As I sat here during a 2 hour power outage tonight, I managed to wrap up Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera. As the title suggests, this book is an epic love story following two people from the beginning of their love affair and spanning 52+ years.
Florentino Ariza first notices Fermina Daza when he delivers a telegraph to her house. She is 14 and he is 18 and he begins to pursue her, leaving love notes and serenading her from the street with his violin at night. Eventually they begin a timid love affair, leaving notes hidden in various places throughout the town for the other to find. Her single father is understandably upset by this and takes her away for a time in hopes she'll 'move on' or forget him.
The plan is successful and Fermina rejects him soon after her return home. She eventually marries a successful and eligible doctor whom she lives happily with for 5 decades. Florentino pines after Fermina for that entire period of time, never marrying and drowning his sorrows in his many love affairs. On the eve of her husband's funeral, Florentino arrives to repeat his vow of everlasting love.
I found it to be a very sweet and touching story but I'm not sure if it's the epic romance that so many claim it to be. They aren't separated by great events, distance or any other tragedy. Point blank, Fermina grew up and just fell out of love, changed her mind, the old "it's not you, it's me" bit. Florentino is devastated and never fully gets over the breakup. Yes, it's romantic that he waits for her, pines for her, pleads for her but it's also a tad bit pathetic.
I feel his pain, I really do, a lot of people have that big 'one who got away', and I've been there. It totally sucks for a long time but at some point you have to pick up the pieces of heart, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and get on with your life. There were several parts int he book where I just wanted to shake Florentino and scream "Grow a pair already!"
So, I enjoyed the book. I thought it was a sweet, sad little story but don't that's about all. It was OK, but there wasn't much reaction outside of that, just OK.
Prisoner B-3087 - Alan Gratz
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