ELEVEN MINUTES If taken literally, this book is nothing more than a Cinderella story. To really understand what the author is trying to say, you must read beyond the words. The main character, Maria, is a prostitute – earning money, doing something that she doesn’t like, thinking all the while she’d rather be somewhere else, all to meet her goal of going home and impressing her friends and family with the entrapment the perfect life. Wouldn’t that describe most of us? Don’t we all sell a piece of ourselves – whether literally or figuratively – to get the “good life”?
What foils Maria’s plans is love. A love so great, so whole, that it is beyond her control. It stirs her to her very core and shakes the very foundation of her idea of a perfect life. She spends a great deal of time trying to keep herself on her life plan, but is continually drawn to this man who “has seen her light”. Her anguish over whether to do what is expected or to follow her soul, is described so subtly by Coelho, that those readers just skimming the surface of the book, will miss it.
Any reader who had experienced the mystical power of this type of love, will recognize him or herself immediately. What’s truly amazing is that the author has managed to describe this complex union of souls, minds and bodies, so simply that it’s beautiful.
Read it once. Put it away for a month. Read it again – but really read it this time. It’s worth it.
Read: March 2012