Customer Reviews


190 Reviews
5 star:
 (120)
4 star:
 (41)
3 star:
 (14)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (7)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deft weaving of two complex stories
Shafak's third novel is an emotional, thoughtful journey. First we meet Ella, a suburban housewife whose "normal" is changed forever by her encounter with a book and a book's author. Then, as we read the book with Ella, we meet the wandering dervish Shams and the scholar Rumi.
The story of Rumi and Shams is told from multiple viewpoints; the chapter title tells you...
Published on March 11, 2010 by Andrea C. Mueller

versus
52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about this book
I am conflicted about this book. On one hand, I enjoyed the story of Rumi and Shams quite a bit and I liked the style of the author in this part. On the other hand, the story of Ella and Aziz is so unbelievable and annoying that I almost stopped reading the book.

Ella is simply not believable in how she relates to Aziz. She is incredibly boring, has by her...
Published on March 26, 2011 by opinionorama


‹ Previous | 1 219 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

76 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deft weaving of two complex stories, March 11, 2010
Shafak's third novel is an emotional, thoughtful journey. First we meet Ella, a suburban housewife whose "normal" is changed forever by her encounter with a book and a book's author. Then, as we read the book with Ella, we meet the wandering dervish Shams and the scholar Rumi.
The story of Rumi and Shams is told from multiple viewpoints; the chapter title tells you who is speaking. Rumi, Shams, Desert Rose the Harlot, Kerra the wife of Rumi, Suleiman the Drunk, Kimya the girl who falls in love with Shams... and others. The multiple viewpoints give depth and layering to an already complex structure, but Shafak maintains clarity throughout.
Spirituality, more specifically the question "What is true spiritual love?" is the theme throughout the book. Some of the answers are predictable: compassion, oneness. But some are surprising, and for that reason alone the book is worth reading.
It's more than a spiritual quest, though; "The Forty Rules of Love" is just a great story. Get caught up in the characters and it will make you feel, question, wonder, and walk away thoughtfully, with a little more love and compassion of your own.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about this book, March 26, 2011
I am conflicted about this book. On one hand, I enjoyed the story of Rumi and Shams quite a bit and I liked the style of the author in this part. On the other hand, the story of Ella and Aziz is so unbelievable and annoying that I almost stopped reading the book.

Ella is simply not believable in how she relates to Aziz. She is incredibly boring, has by her own admission led an empty life thus far, and yet we are supposed to believe that she can suddenly awaken to life and spirit so wholly that she would be a match for Aziz? I certainly believe that awakening is possible and happens often, but it is a journey that takes time. I have a hard time believing that someone like Aziz, who has put much of his life's effort into his spiritual path and is an insightful character, would be interested in such an in-depth e-mail dialog, let alone more of a relationship, with someone like Ella.

In all honesty, I think that Ella pushes my buttons. I am bothered by how she is supposedly opening her eyes to what is important in life, yet she does not give any thought to her daughter's newly diagnosed eating disorder. I think her process offends my belief that as you grow, you clean up your own back yard rather than become so holier than thou that you think you can just transcend that back yard.

Overall, I like the author's style. I hope that her other books represent more interesting and believable women as much so as she is able to represent the male characters.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transformational, Inspirational and Humbling, March 20, 2010
By 
Maverick (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
I picked up this book at Elliot Bay Bookstore in Seattle after attending a book reading where the author herself was present and discussed the book based on various questions from audience members. I was familiar with Rumi, but after reading this book, I am in love with Shams. The author writes this book in a unique style - going from the present to the past (centuries away) and from one first person to many - thereby introducing many characters that we get familiar with and quite intimately.

This book is not just about a housewife encountering love, but truly understanding what love is - in all its forms and the most divine kind - spiritual love, which only a few of us can aspire to, and this is why I absolutely loved each page of this book. If only we can make this mandatory reading for all men, perhaps we would have more compassionate society.

Elif - thank you for this wonderful work - it is truly a gift to mankind.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rumi's (Mevlana's) philosophy, March 14, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you want to learn about mysticism and Rumi, this is a perfect book for you. In the essence, all religions and spiritual teachings are based on love. Only people changed them to use religion for their interests. This book successfully emphasizes LOVE..Unconditional love..Loving GOD, loving your friend,loving your lover, loving flowers, loving cats etc..There is no limit to LOVE..without criticism..do not offend people and never get offended in any case..These are few of Rumi's teachings that can make a person happy and peaceful.One of the readers talked about how he disliked the book because of the love story that is told throughout the book. But this is Rumi..Nothing is less important and no one kind of love is superior to another kind of love. But i will not criticize him as criticizing and judging is totally contrary to the Rumi's teachings.I respect him and i am sure he has some kind point that matters to himself.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wish it were better, May 27, 2011
Oh... I should have trusted the Publisher's Weekly Review and their calling it "hen lit." Mostly, I consider "chick lit" and other terminology knee jerk putdowns. But truly, at least 1/2 of this book (the part that takes place in the modern day) is someone's version of "chick lit for the midlife crisis crowd", and it's bad. Formulaic, unbelievable, flat stereotypical characters. When I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. That said, I DID like parts of the sections relating to Rumi and Shams of Tabriz and the world of the 13th century. Like many others, that is why I first chose the book, having an appreciation of Sufism, Rumi's poetry, and a curiosity about his times. Given the poor writing of the modern day section, I'm not sure there's much that I would trust in the historical portion, even acknowledging that this is historical fiction. It felt manipulative, designed to appeal to a target demographic of indiscriminate romantics and "new-agers". I had hoped for more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice introduction to Rumi, February 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book was a sensation in Turkey especially during 2007 when every beach goer seemed to have this book.
The novel provides a lovely introduction to Rumi and Shams-i-tabriz. It unravels itself nicely though I'm not too sure how successful the parallel story of Ella meeting a modern day Shams and discovering herself. Her story seemed annoying and distracting, hence the 3 star rating. I think Safak could have kept as good a story going telling it without Ella.
Chapters are told from the perspective of various characters, and this is interesting and works. It has aroused my curiosity about Rumi and Shams though, so for that it is successful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Take a powerful historical novel and a trite romance and shuffle, April 9, 2013
Forty Kinds of Love is a moderately imaginative telling of the Shams / Rumi story, which is interrupted regularly by a romance novelette that is horribly horribly written girly fiction. If the woman narrator of the romance segments were not so incompetent as a writer and unbelievable as a character that part of the book would have been merely pale in comparison to the sublime main story. But because it is so badly done, it renders the whole book nearly unreadable. In addition, the lack of effort even to run a spell checker makes the kindle version of the book a mess with run together words and half lines of broken text. For serious readers, if you want to have a lovely experience reading this book , just skip all the chapters that are titled Ella. Including those chapters makes it a one star book. By skipping those chapters, you can read a four star book. Even if you love romance novels, skip those chapters and read them all at the end. There is absolutely no relationship between the two stories. It seems that the author was short in words and had a deadline to meet. So she dusted off a romance novel she wrote when she was twelve, added some oriental traits to the male; and shuffled them together. There is language to suggest this may have happened. For example, "Apparently Shams thinks scholars talk the talk and Sufis walk the walk." Ugh.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars HISTORIALLY INTERESTING, MODERN DAY DUD, September 18, 2010
By 
A. Schaffer (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
For someone who didn't know anything about Rumi this was OK. I don't know how accurate it was, but it gave me a good perspective on the times. The modern day story was awful though which made the book difficult to get through.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More like a bible parable, August 4, 2010
I started to read with an open mind I thought it was an interesting approach to Rumi teachings. I only made it half way through at which point I started to feel I was reading some Bible parables (very cliché characters the drunk, the prostitute, the leper). Ella story is not very interesting either. There are some nice quotes and reaffirmation phrases but overall not an entertaining or enlightening read
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! Must enjoy :-), February 19, 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Read it. Enjoy it. More importantly, take it personally. It shall help you "Wake up!" to Life, if you are ready, that is. It will help you Rediscover the Life.

Some personal stuff, if needed: I have read the translation into Turkish about oh maybe three times. Quoted from it. Talked about it... I got it on my kindle yesterday and can't wait to read it in English now :-)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 219 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Forty Rules of Love
Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (Paperback - 2011)
Used & New from: $5.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.