Review: Men, Money and Chocolate by Menna Van Praag

Men, Money and Chocolate is the story of Maya a comfort-eating coffee shop owner who is struggling to keep her sinking business afloat. She has been unhappy with her life since her mother died leaving her the coffee shop, when what she really wants is to be a writer. She knows that one day she can be truly happy, but doesn’t know how. Not only is she in love with a man she can barely speak to, she has an addiction for all things sweet that feeds her unhappiness.

When a little old lady walks into the shop she is finally convinced to change her path in life to one of pure happiness. Then a phone call from her cousin leads her to a psychic, Sophie, and her journey to happiness truly begins. The days spent dreaming of men, money and chocolate are over. Although Maya does experience a hiccup along the way her adventure is an exhilarating one.

Menna Van Praag created Maya as a truly believable character who starts off pretty helpless, and grows into a strong woman. This touching book inspires adventure and self-exploration, but makes you feel warm inside at the same time. As Praag states at the beginning of the story, parts can be uncomfortable to read, maybe because they are true to life.

There’s a quote at the beginning of this book:

Go to that place of silence within.
You’ll feel the vastness of the world
And its limitless possibilities.
You’ll know you can do anything,
And have everything.
You will see that right now
You are perfect exactly as you are.

This describes exactly how this book makes you feel. It is written brilliantly. There are some extraordinary descriptions of feelings, memories and places. Another great thing about this book is that it talks about religion and spirituality, but doesn’t try to force the reader to believe in either. But it encourages them to believe in something.

My only criticism of this book is the ending. The whole story has a nice flow to it that seems to become rushed in the last few chapters. We’ve followed Maya through an enormous life change, then at the vital part, the happy ending, we lose some of the details and time passes a lot more quickly. We do get the happy ending we were waiting for. Although, depending on whether you’re a romantic or a realist it may or may not be the ending you were looking for.

This is a book you can read over and over again, recommended for romantics, pessimists and those feeling a bit lost in life.

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