Two Washington, D.C., siblings, disillusioned with life and love, join forces to realize a sweetly successful venture.
In the early 1980s, a time the Park sisters recognized as one of “luxury and excess,” Frances (“Francie”) and Ginger (“Ginge”) opened their dream boutique sweetshop mere blocks from the White House. Though life became bittersweet since their beloved father passed away a few years prior, both women write of a steely resolve, a dedication to family and a passion for chocolate they’d inherited from their hardworking Korean parents. Becoming chocoholics “long before it was a diagnosis,” the sisters parlayed this lifelong adoration into a joint business plan, agreed on a name (based on a delectable double-chocolate brownie recipe) and set forth making “Chocolate Chocolate” thrive in the nation’s capital. But the road to profitability proved arduous as mouthwatering taste-tests failed to buffer a series of dilemmas including tedious location scouting, a contractor’s shoddy workmanship, bomb threats, a near-disastrous grand-opening party and months of flagging sales. With patience and diligence, Francie, Ginge and their doting mother eventually began to develop a steady, eccentric clientele of chocolate lovers. Sales flourished, bolstered by whimsical holidays and a flood of media attention, and the girls even managed a few dating adventures. Despite the experience of a string of Korean-inspired children’s books (The Have a Good Day Café, 2005, etc.) and a novel between them, their memoir develops a surprisingly rambling quality and boasts a generic narrative voice lacking the intimacy of a first-person perspective. Still, the Park sisters’ cheery adage remains the definitive take-away: “There are times when only chocolate can make a bad day better.”
Smooth, soft-centered confection that goes down with a smile.