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Eleven Minutes: A Novel (P.S.)
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on February 16, 2017
I don't recall what I was expecting before I read this book but whatever it was the book wasn't what I expected. There was quite a lot of philosophy around sex and prostitution that some will call rationalization. I often felt as if the protagonist was observing herself but not quite participating in her life most of the time. I suspect that there were points made that went right past me, or at least I hope that there were.
I did enjoy some of her inner monologue and her growth and intelligence. She was a bright woman caught up in a foreign world, often just going with the flow, being trusting, and for the most part her trust was not misplaced. That is if you accept her points of view about being poor and being a prostitute. If reading about that life is likely to repel you then don't read this book. And if you're expecting lots of explicit sex you'll be disappointed, though there is a little of it.
In the end you'll likely have mixed feelings about Maria, if you have any thoughts at all.
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on November 3, 2015
While there are enjoyable passages in Eleven Minutes, there are also superficial passages about female anatomy, the history of prostitution, and forms of sexual pleasure. I sensed that some of the research was lifted from Wikipedia.

The role of sex in a person's life is a principal theme. The book treats of desire, sexual arousal, and orgasm. Arousal and trance-like pleasure proceed from mere closeness and gentle touch; orgasm is achieved through gentle lovemaking, as well as from spontaneous, uninhibited forceful sex, and BDSM. Discovery of the clitoris and manipulation thereof are treated as revelation.

Eleven Minutes is, at heart, a love story. The reader is reminded (and not very subtly) that finding true love is a journey.

I really enjoyed The Alchemist. Eleven Minutes is not on the same level.
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on March 7, 2018
This is the first Paulo Coelho book I have read (I know, right? Not even The Alchemist). As such I didn't know what to expect. I found myself caught up in Maria's story right away though. The allegorical angles came at me much later in the book. That's when I had to slow down - to step back and think about what the story meant; it began to have deeper meanings, layer upon layer.

The author's statements about the background to the book are fascinating! Gives a real sense of the genius who wrote this book, and had to courageously look within to do so.
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on April 1, 2017
I bought this book to get a different cultural perspective, and it fulfilled that well. The content of the book does describe the reality of being desperately, poor, rural, and third world, and finding a way to "succeed" in an urban capitalist society. Not the best writing in the world, but that could be the translator, not the original author. I don't read Portugese.
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on January 3, 2013
I guess I just don't "get" Paulo Coelho's books. This was recommended to me by a friend. I tried to read The Alchemist and just couldn't get through it. Eleven Minutes was a descriptive read with a fairly unique storyline: a young country woman is attracted to adventure in the "big city" and is drawn into prostitution. The main character is somewhat annoying: she has an attitude and considers herself quite worldly for someone who had never left the town she was born in until she leaves for the Big City. She has many justifications for her new profession. But her haughty persona does not make her particularly likeable. And some of the story line and her train of thought was laugh-out-loud ridiculous in places. I think some of the storyline seemed to be lost in translation along the way: simplified and dumbed down but because of that the original meaning was lost along the way. I read the book, liked it up to a certain point, but I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone else. I could see where it would be recommended reading for a bookclub or and English Literature course but if you are looking for an engaging, fun, light read this is NOT it.
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on May 6, 2017
If you are interested at all in understanding the true nature of human sexuality, you should read this story of a young Brazilian woman who chooses a life of prostitution in Europe while she seeks the meaning of true love and its connection to sacred sex.
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on October 17, 2017
Amazing book with similar principles as The Alchemist, but from the insight of a motivated prostitute. Wonderful hearing how a young girl ends up in such a profession, the thoughts on it from a worldly view, and an overall good read. I would recommend!
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Exceptionally powerful story - well told. Coelho explores the elements of physical, emotional and sacred sensuality - pain and pleasure, love and lust, joy and despair. In exploring herself, starting as a teen and up through her 23rd year, the protagonist, Maria, gains, loses and regains the ability to love both emotionally and physically. The gains and losees, pains and experiences are those of every person, just with greater emphasis and intensity in the story. She meets the librarian, the professional, those that truly feel, those that act, and those for whom the act itself has little depth or meaning. The vulnerability of all people is exposed, and the psychology of physical intimacy takes on new meaning as Maria plays each part as part of her profession.

The book isn't fully uplifting, and the end is as predictable as Coelho indicates it will be. Nevertheless, the discussion of the sacred and secular elements of love, lust and the physical nature of relationships really resonate as profound. Coelho probably spends a bit too much time on the anatomy, but it doesn't detract from the power of the message.
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on April 22, 2017
I rated this 4 stars because it kept me interested through the end. However, in the middle it got ... Well, no spoilers here. You will have to read it and see for yourself.
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on March 26, 2013
I love this book so much that I've literally given it to all of my friends.

Sure, at first glance, it's a book about sex, but once you dig a bit deeper you'll find a book about the complexities of love. From love of self to romantic love.

Coelho bravely attempts to tackle questions such as: what is love? how do I love? how do I receive love? how do I not confuse sex with love? how do I use sex to show love? Each answer left me pondering my own ability to love.

I found this book moving and filled with moments that required a highlighter and some prayer. At it's conclusion, I found that it really changed my young views on love for the better.

I dare you to give it a try.
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