11 Minutes (only)

Yes the title is as direct as they come. I picked up this book, for two reasons

  1. My unexplainable love for Paulo Coelho
  2. The title. sounded very catchy.

The reasons suffice right?

So the book is about Maria, and truthfully I fell in love with Maria, let me tell you why…

“Once upon a time, there was a prostitute called Maria. Like all prostitutes, she was born both innocent and a virgin, (So at this point, I must admit, I asked myself, if there is anyone who is never born a virgin.. however, Paulo is the writer, not me, so really, what do I know?)and, as an adolescent, she dreamed of meeting the man of her life (rich, handsome, intelligent), of getting married (in a wedding dress), having two children (who would grow up to be famous) and living in a lovely house (with a sea view). Her father was a traveling salesman, her mother a seamstress, and her hometown, in the interior of Brazil, had only one cinema, one nightclub and one bank, which was why Maria was always hoping that one day, without warning, her Prince Charming would arrive, sweep her off her feet and take her away with him so that they could conquer the world together.
While she was waiting for her Prince Charming to appear, all she could do was dream. 

Excerpt From: Paulo Coelho. “Eleven Minutes.” iBooks.

You see Maria reflects all of us, in one way or another, and for me, it was the simple quest for true love. For a prince charming, living in a fairy tale, yet stuck in reality. I see you nodding! I see you!

As we already know the end of Maria’s life, my curiosity was piqued. How did such innocence get so complicated then? and the story continues.

Like all stories (Fairy tales) Maria was very pretty. Eva Longoria had absolutely nothing on her. She was witty and sassy and incredibly talented her only flaw, which maybe indeed was a good thing, was that she did not have a handsome basketball player by her side, who eventually played her! (I Digress) Back to Maria, she falls in love when she was eleven, ah bliss! I thought this was the gist of the book, however like all first love’s the relationship came to an end. and why? because her first love (like all first loves worldwide) went somewhere far away! If you are not feeling Maria right now, there is something totally wrong with you!(Insert wry smile)

Maria’s story begins when she is spotted by an “agent” during a one week holiday, who offers her heaven, only to get there and find herself in Hell. she could have run away, she could have turned back, however this is what Maria told herself…

“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.
Maria chose to be an adventurer in search of treasure – she put aside her feelings, she stopped crying every night, and she forgot all about the person she used to be; she discovered that she had enough willpower to pretend that she had just been born and so had no reason to miss anyone. Feelings could wait, now ”

Excerpt From: Paulo Coelho. “Eleven Minutes.” iBooks.

and further along her journey …

“Maria, however, was struggling in the pages of her diary not to lose her soul. She discovered, to her surprise, that one in every five clients didn’t want her in order to have sex, but simply to talk a little. They paid for the bar tab and the hotel room, and when the moment came for them both to take off their clothes, the man would say, no, that won’t be necessary. They wanted to talk about the pressures of work, about their unfaithful wife, about how lonely they felt, how they had no one to talk to (something she knew about all too well).

Excerpt From: Paulo Coelho. “Eleven Minutes.” iBooks.

Maria’s adventure continues in the wild frenzy it is, leading her to her day prostitute job, and that is where she meets John Hamm – oops my apologies – she meets Rolf, a painter, He is dark and inexplicable.

“Would you like a drink?’
Before her stood a man in his thirties, wearing the uniform of some airline.
The world went into slow motion, and Maria had a sense of stepping out of her own body and observing herself from the outside. Deeply embarrassed, but struggling to control her blushes, she nodded and smiled, knowing that from that moment on her life had changed forever.”

Excerpt From: Paulo Coelho. “Eleven Minutes.” iBooks.

I will not tell you what happens from here, isn’t that the reason for book reviews? To whet your appetite enough to make you read the book? well that plus the fact that at this stage of the book I had widened my eyes, beyond the widening capacity (given my very innocent nature) and yet still there seemed to be another part of Maria’s journey that was dark, inexplicable, and eventually led her to this aww moment..

“We’ll always have Paris.’
The voice didn’t belong to a tourist guide or to a taxi driver. Her legs shook when she heard it.
“We’ll always have Paris?’
‘It’s a quote from one of my favorite films. Would you like to see the Eiffel Tower?’
Oh, yes, she would, she would love to. Ralf was holding a bunch of roses, and his eyes were full of light, the light she had seen on that first day, when he was painting her while the cold wind outside had made her feel awkward to be sitting there.”

Excerpt From: Paulo Coelho. “Eleven Minutes.” iBooks.

My take: Choose adventure, and who knows, you may end up always having Paris 🙂

I enjoyed the read, it got a little raunchy for me though, at some point, and well in conclusion, it is not the sort of book that I would recommend to a nun or Kanye West! Just Saying!

Your Turn

Did you enjoy the book?  and what were your thoughts? we would love to hear from you. Write to us at : thebookswag@gmail.com



10 thoughts on “11 Minutes (only)

Add yours

  1. Sounds like an interesting read. I have watched some documentaries lately about prostitution and how the women end up in the industry, they really are just regular women who do have that same fairy tail fantasy.


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