If you’re wondering about the title, it took me a couple of days to finish the book.
Wow…..there have been stories that ignited my imagination, others that made the hair on my skin stand and then comes along a gem that simply consolidates and adds more colour to what I’ve already felt and thought of in my life.
I’ve heard much about “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and it’s been on my reading list for a long time. If you’re wondering why I’d have something on my reading list for a long time, it’s because I’m old fashioned. I love the feeling of the paper under my fingers as I turn the pages, the smell of new books, browsing the book shelves at local libraries and bookshops. There’s a whole world out there and all I need to do is to touch the spine of a book to make it part of mine. I digress.
On such a trip I saw the book “Eleven Minutes” and found the synopsis to be thoughtful, engaging and provocative. As many amazon reviewers have said, one needs to read this book with an open mind since that is the way “Eleven Minutes” can help you see beyond your horizons. Coming from a conservative background I’ve grown much and am glad of my evolved sense of non judgment which helped me appreciate the more hard to swallow parts of this book.
It’s a story of a young woman, Maria from the interiors of Brazil dreaming of larger than life experiences including love, fame, fortune and adventure. I could relate to her search of love and adventure but I could not quite wrap my head around the need to be famous. Perhaps it was her way of proving to her school mates of her small home town, that she had the last laugh.
If ever an author captures the explosion of thoughts and the myriad of feelings that we try so hard to contain, it’s Paulo Coelho.
Apart from the controversial nature of Maria’s profession, I could completely understand her hopes, frustrations, heartbreaks, disappointments and how she grows in maturity from a naive young girl purely by putting a positive spin to an otherwise demeaning existence and her perpetual need to learn. It is most of all a journey of self discovery: both of one’s limitations and excellence.
The transformation of how she views love from cynicism to one of absolute sacredness, completely resonated with me. I was in tears and am completely awestruck at how Paulo Coelho can most accurately describe the perceptions and different types of love we can feel.
But this is not a story about love alone. It deals with the making of it. How men and women have performed this dance since our beginnings. It’s beautifully put into context in the grand scheme of our lives and in this desensitized times of free porn and music video twerking(miley cyrus, blurred lines anyone?), how sex can be sacred and primal, soul baring and encapsulating all at the same time.
Until the last chapter of the book, there was a sense of bitter sweetness which was the perfect culmination of this book and if ever I had any complaints, it would be about the last couple of pages. Perhaps it was the cliched ending. I admit once I read the last page I’ve been slightly depressed since that kind of ending only exists in fairy tales in a land far away and only once upon a time.
In my experience, humanity does not seek such magic anymore which is quite sad. Another profound theme explored in this book, was the value of time and that hit me like a ton of bricks. Our lives are measured in time and we sell it to others. However we cannot buy it back. It really put certain things into perspective for me.
It will not be the magical book to help people understand why men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs still holds true and It is my humble opinion that men and women cannot be stereotyped when it comes to matters of the heart and body. Each person needs to be seen, heard and felt in order to understand how we can complement each other in this journey called life.