Reading Joanne Harris' Chocolat was doing the unthinkable: I was reading the book after I saw the movie, which is one of my all-time favorites, and I was reading a book David Abrams panned, and I have almost always agreed with his take on books. Like most reviewers, I found reading the book to be an entirely different experience than watching the movie. The book feels less like magical realism and more like a magically modified version of The Scarlet Letter. Take an overly conservative priest who believes the more he sacrifices the closer to God he will be and add in an atheist/agnostic candymaker who moves to his small French village and begins to sway the residents with her magic-imbued sweets. The narrative switches between candymaker Vianne's POV and that of he priest, Father Reynaud, in a seesaw between good and evil that at times seems overly simplified. Even the most oblivious reader will probably see where this story is heading long before the ending.Where Chocolat shines, however, is in the descriptions. While the plot may seem too simple, the lush imagery of the village and its eccentric residents as well as the mouth-watering treats Vianne makes in her shop leave the reader feeling as if the story is real and happening all around. Not since Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate have I been so hungry while reading a book.If you are hoping for a repeat of the movie, or a book that will keep you guessing, this will undoubtedly disappoint. However, if you are willing to look past the plot for vivid writing that makes you feel part of the action, Chocolat is well worth the time.