Christ and the Chocolaterie: a Lent Course
Author Hilary Brand
Publisher DLT £6.99
When this book appeared in its first edition it was one of the very first Lent courses to be based upon a film. The movie in question is Chocolat, based on the work of British author Joanne Harris. Hilary Brand takes key scenes from the story and then develops links with Bible passages as well as setting questions for reflection that would work well either for special home groups or for individual reflection and study.
It looks at the following topics – Giving out: the prelude to change; Giving out: The power of a gift; Getting wise: the possibility of change; Getting real: the power of acceptance; and Growing up: the process of change. The book includes some appendices which look at what the author describes as ‘the curious history of chocolate.’ But it lacks an account of how Quaker Christians were instrumental in the development of the sweet as a means for working people to have a special treat on Sundays, or the link between people like the Fry family with Christians pursuing social justice.
It was a good idea to look at how the chocolate trade has often been right at the centre of the movement for fair trade in the developing world. The author also includes some ideas as to how chocolate can be part of celebration by including some recipes. This is therefore a very diverse book for it includes history, spiritual development, social justice as well as prayers and suggestions for worship.
I must confess that I did not particularly enjoy the original novel or the film, but this is a thoughtful approach to the material which makes me think that I might need to re-engage with the source.
Reviewed by CAVAN WOOD