This is a story of loss love. Florentino and Fermina were lovers separated at a young age because her father did not approve of the relationship. Fermina was soon married to a local doctor. Fifty years later, Fermina’s husband dies and Florentino decided that the flame of love had never completely been extinguished.
Our book club decided to read this book for the month of January and I was very excited. I thought I would like this book more than I did because, from the blurb, it seemed like a sweet romance.
I do think that the writing was very descriptive and sounded extremely romantic. The author painted a picture of every character that is mentioned with much detail. It made it very easy to visualize the setting and the people within.
When it comes to unrequited love, I have a few rules. One of those is that the hero and the heroine should save themselves for each other. Granted in this case, they had to wait 50 years before they actually got together. I tried to be a little lenient because a person, realistically, is probably not going to wait 50 years pining over lost love.
However in this book, I think the fact that Florentino slept with more than 600 women seemed excessive. Even when I tried to rationalize it by saying he was trying to re-create the love he had for Fermina, I still think he was a male whore. Many times, he seem to choose women who were emotionally unavailable. In the end, he chose a girl who was around the same age as Fermina was when he met her for the first time, making him a dirty old man.
I would have preferred if Fermina had been a more likable character. She seems so angry, haughty, and arrogant all of the time. When she had the choice to choose love over money, she chose money. Then it seems as if she was bitter because Florentino eventually had money and wealth that she wanted from the beginning.
I thought there was too much time spent talking about the 50 years that they were not together, especially since they were not pining for each other. They live their lives. While they have their moments where they wondered what could have been, it did not seem that they had a burning love. I would have preferred if the story had focused on them getting to know who they were after the fifty-year gap.
I also took issue with the way that rape was glossed over and even romanticized in the book. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that the author was male and probably could not adequately understand how that act of violence would traumatize a woman.
TOW Final Word: Buy, Borrow, Pass?
I say Borrow, but this was an Oprah book club pick. She liked it enough to encourage everyone to buy it. For me, even though the writing was extremely descriptive and beautiful, this was a difficult read because the story’s content fell short for me.
Print length: 357 pages
Heat Level: 🔥 🔥