Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

love-in-the-time-of-cholera1I’ve tried reading Love in the Time of Cholera at least seven times — thanks in large part to the movie — and each time I wind up putting the book back on the shelf and moving on to something else. This time, however, I told myself I was going to finish the book and knock it off my to-be-read list.

*spoilers abound*

Love in the Time of Cholera is supposed to be a love story; I say supposed to be because of the fact that Florentino creeps me out. He sleeps with 622 women, but we’re supposed to like him and feel sorry for him because he can’t have Fermina? Um, no way. He sleeps with a fifteen-year-old girl at the age of sixty-plus because her braid, her scrapped knees, and her school uniform all remind him of Fermina as he remembers her, never mind the fact that in the eyes of the law, he’s her legal guardian. Florentino is not romantic; he’s a creeper. And one that rationalizes his behavior whatever way he can, so he never feels that he is doing anything wrong at that.

Juvenal is the only character I truly liked and he, of course, dies in the first chapter. Yes, he has an affair, but I think this makes him an imperfect, genuine human being rather than someone who tries to see how much he can get. And while Florentino is in love with the idea of Fermina, Juvenal actually loves her unconditionally {and doesn’t give me the willies while he woos her}.

The book is not only long, but the chapters are ridiculously long. Forty pages in one chapter doesn’t make for reader-friendly reading; I guess you could make the case that the length is for those who get swept away in the narrative. I was not.

Some of Márquez’s narrative was beautiful, and in the beginning, I could really imagine the Caribbean towns. I also enjoyed his exploration of love and the elderly — the fact that their is still life towards the end for everyone. But in the end, I was just annoyed with the single sentence paragraphs, drawn out story, and the constant use of the characters’ first and last names.

One review on GoodReads said “there’s a lot of waste in this book: wasted life, wasted words, wasted sentimentality,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Márquez, Gabriel García. Love in the Time of Cholera. Translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman. New York: Vintage, 2003. Originally published 1985. Print. 348 pgs. ISBN: 140003468X. Source: Borrowed from my aunt.
Book Cover © Vintage. Retrieved: April 18, 2009.


  1. I agree with you on some parts…Florentino is a total creeper. And I’m sorry, but he’s wrong if he considers himself faithful to Fermina because he never let his heart get involved in those 622 affairs!

    I am one of those who gets swept away in the narrative. Garcia Marquez is my favorite writer, but this is not his best book. If you’re up for giving him another try, I highly recommend “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” You may not like it, but I consider it the best book I’ve ever read.


  2. I 100% agree with you about everything you’ve said in this review. I’ve never seen the movie but after reading the book, I had no interest in watching it. I have to force myself to finish this book and I found the ending to be really strange and not really in keeping with the feel of the rest of the book, if that makes sense?
    Anyway, I enjoyed your review!


  3. You gave it seven tries? Wow. I never go back to a book if my third attempt falls flat. I gave this one a go and didn’t get very far, so I’m very impressed you made it all the way through!


    • I usually don’t try a book after the first try! But I kept hearing all these wonderful things about this book and really felt like I had to finish it. Won’t be making that mistake again.


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