Love in the Time of Cholera
By Gabriel Garcia-Marquez
Reviewed by Eden
Before I start the official review, I’ll add my thoughts to the overall experience that I had while reading Love in the Time of Cholera together with the cups of coffee I consumed. I finished the book over ten cups of coffee (mostly dark mocha frappe) to become victorious in my Starbucks planner goals (by the way, I got mine already). I bought the book November second and was only able to finish it today the November the 21st. HAHAHA. I couldn’t figure out why it took me so long to finish it. It’s not that I was busy or anything, but maybe no one can really fast track someone’s lifelong hardships. It took plenty of years for Florentino Ariza to get to where he is now and maybe the book won’t allow you to dwindle the decades into seven days of reading in your most comfortable chair.
The book would always be in my peripheral vision when I stand in front of a shelf inside a bookstore and I never bother buying it right away (shame). First, I don’t approve the only edition available in the nearest bookstore at my place: bared body of a woman’s back covered at the lower part by a petal of red rose. It’s nice in a way but reading in public is a reputation. HAHAHA. It will also not help that the definition of nice these days can be deciphered as something not particularly remarkable but is generally accepted for unknowable reasons. Forgive me, because I have become a critic of book covers. Second, I don’t like impossible love stories. Plots with ingratiating passion sour my already bitter life. HAHAHA. Third, I don’t usually believe the majority. So if they all say this one is good or this one is bad, I normally challenge it (stubborn). In this case, since everybody is rooting for the book’s genuine greatness, there’s no way I’ll ever read it. My tastes have always been kind of off and odd. I gave it a try because the book is cheap. It caused me three hundred and fifteen pesos (in Philippine peso) only. This is less than seven dollars and compared to most books, this one is a really good deal. I also got tired of contemporary novels (for now). I want something classic for a change (for now).
“Fermina, he said, I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.”
The title itself tells everything you need to know in the surface. It is about love at first sight for a poor young man when he saw the daughter of a mule-trader one afternoon, that he was asked to deliver a telegraph. The young man felt great love for the young woman and the symptoms of cholera is sometimes if not mostly present during the nights that he feels his love is strong for the girl. It wasn’t a typical book that talks about young couples who become inseparable, have resorted to running away together or branding tree after tree with their initials and eventually growing old and meeting death’s final kiss. It’s not an easy kind of love. There are more complications than pleasures. There are more letters made than letters sent back. There’s conservativeness and innocence that spices up the very idea of falling in love. It’s when you haven’t even touched each other but your souls already connect. The sad thing is that it’s like Alice tumbling inside Wonderland, falling deeply in the beginning and never wanting to leave. Then as time goes by and the cold truth sets her free, she will realize that everything is an illusion. When the young girl accepted the fact that their togetherness will not do well, she told the boy to forget about her. The girl growing into a fine lady married a rich doctor. The boy worked hard to have some major role in the society so that he could deserve the girl. After fifty-one years, nine months and four days and the lady who is now an old woman was left widowed after the doctor she married died trying to save a parrot he didn’t even like, the young boy who is now an old man came to the funeral to profess his devotion once again. Even with their wrinkled bodies, the story went on as if it has only started.
(In order of appearance)
Dr. Juvenal Urbino
There are more than a few instances that I became impatient with the Fermina Daza. Florentino and Fermina who were engaged then, got separated when Fermina’s father decided to take her away. They have not seen each other for a long time. During the years they were apart, they held on to their love which only foundation relies on letters with memories and tears with longing. When fate decided that they should meet again, Fermina told Florentino that their love is no more than an illusion. She made Florentino forget whatsoever little they have. This broke the boy’s heart and at that time, I suspected that Fermina didn’t love Florentino that much. I feel all kinds of resentment for Fermina and I got bored with her too reserved personality.There are things we turn to when we are sad and broken. Some turn to alcohol and drugs while others resort to eating a lot or not eating at all. Drum rolls please, Florentino turned to fornication. HAHAHA. The book stated that he got involved with over six hundred affairs but only notable women were named in the novel. I had discussed this with my colleague who has also read the book. I told him that Florentino’s love for Fermina is not entirely what I would call loyal. My colleague told me that Florentino’s affairs are nothing but carnal. I would argue that some of his relationships are emotional as well because Florentino remained friends with some of the women who became a part of his solitary life. I call it solitary given the fact that Florentino never chooses any of these women to spend his whole life with even with the likes of Leona Cassiani. He preferred the life of a lone man, hopelessly in love and sometimes, just hopeless. But it never came to his mind that he can’t have Fermina Daza. Never. In his mind, Dr. Juvenal Urbino has to die in order for him to be happy. Tough guy.
I would recommend the book to all romantic muggles around the globe. This is not your average cheesy novel. This is a story that debunks all theories we know about love. After all, there is a guy here who waited more than fifty years to claim the woman he loved all his life. Yeah, I doubt you would find his kind around the corner these days but I want everyone to think about this statement I’ve read in Pinterest: “Know your worth and add tax.” Love in the Time of Cholera will teach you that love is far deeper than the butterflies you feel when a guy send you a text message. Come on, did he ever work a telegram just to reach you? Four out of five stars for this novel.
Another thing is that I suddenly feel that true love is possible again. When you’re young and stupid you would feel that love is real more than a hundred times until you get your heart massacred. There should more of these books written because the kind of love that we have today is very limiting. You should achieve this state of completeness when you fall in love and even if you need to suffer to be able to get to that point, it’s all going to be worth it. This book, more than anything made me think about what most people led us to believe: about how love is waiting for the right person when it is actually waiting for the right moment that we can achieve our happy ever after. Fudge! Scratch that. Love is doing something with the waiting time you have until the right moment comes. There you go. 🙂
Ps. Watch Love in the Time of Cholera movie starring Javier Bardem, Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Benjamin Bratt.