Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review - Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho

Book Summary from Amazon

Eleven Minutes is the story of Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that "love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer. . . ." A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune. Maria's despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. In this odyssey of self-discovery, Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness -- sexual pleasure for its own sake -- or risking everything to find her own "inner light" and the possibility of sacred sex, sex in the context of love.

My Review - 3 1/2 More Sugar Please

I have had Eleven Minutes on my bookshelf for 2 years, one of the first books I brought after blogging.  The main thing I can say about this book is that it was thought provoking.  It was hard to decide what to rate this book, the beginning I was fascinated and as it went on I began losing interest but I enjoyed the ending of the journey and how it all came together with the understanding of the clever title Eleven Minutes. This book will not be for everyone, it is exploring sexuality with spirituality undertones and may make some feel uncomfortable.

What I enjoyed about this book was that it was like reading a thesis/dissertation paper, very literal with artfully contrived meanings but easy enough for you to understand and have your own opinion on.  Maria was looking for adventure, to become a star, find a husband and be happy, we went on the journey along with her.  I thought she gambled with her life, she took risks that many do when they are young but some of hers could have caused her her life.

Now that I have experienced reading a memoir when I read different novels I realise if it was a memoir I would have enjoyed it more, this is in that category.   The character was inspired by someone but Paulo Coelho still put his own interpretation on the choices and consequences.

If you want a thought provoking but easy read I say go for it.  This is the first book I have read that I can understand every rating, if someone DNF or rated it a 1 to 5 star, I get it but it has its place in the writing world for sure.  It seems like Paulo Coelho very much has a style of writing, that may seem formula like but I think it is more like a personal research paper that he allows the reader to experience and think about also.

Another favourite was the opening, I would like to share.

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria.  Wait as minute.  "Once upon a time" is how all the best children's stories begin and "prostitute" is a word for adults.  How can I start a book with this apparent contradiction?  But since, at every moment of our lives, we all have on foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss, let's keep that beginning........

More favourite "thought provoking" quotes

A writer once said that it is not time that changes man, nor knowledge; the only thing that can change someone's mind is love.  Page 53

"Does a soldier go to war in order to kill the enemy?  No, he goes in order to die for his country.  Does a wife want to show her husband how happy she is?  No, she wants him to see how devoted she is, how she suffers in order to make him happy.  Does the husband go to work thinking he will find personal fulfillment there?  No, he is giving his seat and tears for the good of the family.  And so it goes on:  sons give up their dreams to please their parents, parents give up their lives in order to please their children; pain and suffering are used to justify the one thing that should bring only joy: love."


  1. Hm, the fact that it reads like a thesis makes it unappealing for me.

  2. Oh wow. What seriously amazing quotes. Especially the last one. It's funny how that happens and yet it does.

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  4. Probably not one I'd read, due the sexuality and that it's written like a thesis.

  5. I believe I read Brida by Coelho and I was not crazy about it. this sounds similar so I'll pass. thanks for the review!

  6. Ha, I don't know if I want to read a thesis lol :) Though it's interesting you remark that you could totally understand if people rated it from DNF to 5. I love the two provoking quotes you posted!

  7. I really like that opening quote Marce, it would be enough to tempt me to read it. Thanks for sharing your review for the Eclectic Reader Challenge

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  8. I liked the book, philosophical, romantic, a bit on the thesis side, too, I have to agree with you. And yes, I feel like he does have a sort of formula for his books (I've also read The Alchemist, Brida, The Zahir) but for some reason I like them. The writing has a sort of soulful quality to it. The Alchemist is my favorite.


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