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crstarlette

crstarlette

Currently reading

Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Edith Grossman, Harold Bloom
Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version
Anonymous
The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance
Susan Wise Bauer, Jeff West
Final Harvest: Poems
Emily Dickinson, Thomas H. Johnson
The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms
Eavan Boland, Mark Strand
Tales from the Tao: The Wisdom of the Taoist Masters
Solala Towler, John Cleare
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja: Book Ten (Ranger's Apprentice)
John Flanagan
Chocolat - Joanne Harris There is a lot more going on in this novel than a simple "Catholics bad. Pagans good." theme that seems to offend readers so much that they miss everything else. Some subjects found in this story:

letting go - of children as they grow up and of loved ones who die

moving on - from bad relationships and harmful habits

nature/nurture

facing your fears

loving friends/family/strangers for who they are

the assumptions people make about each other

the right to die

heeding your own advice

tolerance/eradicating temptation

classism

feeling powerless

wanting to control people "for their own good"/letting people make their own decisions even when you disagree

Also, the priest in the book isn't so simple and evil as people want to believe. He suffers moments of doubt that his way is the best. I don't mean doubts about his faith/religion, but doubts about how he's decided to lead the members of his church and community. (Is religious tolerance really a slippery slope that they can't handle?)

Furthermore, he struggles with the desire to be moral and create what he considers the best environment for the members of his church and his belief that he'll have to do something immoral to rid the city of the temptation he feels the members of his church are too weak to handle. Should he let them fall into sin, lose faith and suffer damnation, or sacrifice his own morality to save theirs? If this were such an easy decision for him, as it would be if he were simply evil, he would do something awful right away and we'd have a completely different novel.