“Eleven Minutes is the story of Maria, a 22-years old girl from an obscure village in the interior of Brazil. As a child, she falls in love with a boy next door who goes away without returning her love. This makes her insensitive towards love and sex with the opposite sex and finally turns her consciously into a prostitute in Geneva. In the span of a year she makes enough money to go back to Brazil and settle down there comfortably. A chance encounter with a painter changes her outlook on life, love and fulfillment and completely changes her plans.
The heroine, Maria, is portrayed as a strong and willful person, thinking for herself and deciding on the course of action to be taken about her life. She learns many things about human beings through her contacts as a prostitute and uses the knowledge to achieve what she wants. We get a glimpse of Paul Coelho’s philosophy of life through the daily diary kept by Maria. Some of the interesting aspects may be highlighted here.
1. Life moves very fast. It rushes us from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds
2. Making mistakes is just part of life. But sometimes you get no second chance.
3. No one owns anything, everything is an illusion- that applies to material as well as spiritual things
4. It is best to live as if today were the first (or last) day of my life.
5. 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.
6. If I can walk on my own, I can go wherever I like.
7. Life is a roller coaster, it is a fast dizzying game, it is a parachute jump, it’s taking chances, falling over and getting up again, it is mountaineering; it is wanting to get to the very top of yourself.
8. Love really could transform someone, but despair does the job more quickly.
9. The person who loves wholeheartedly feels free
10. In love, no one can harm anyone else
11. No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone
12. Having the most important thing in the world without owning it is the true experience of freedom.
13. Considering the way the world is, one happy day is almost a miracle.
14. Love is not to be found in someone else, but in ourselves; we simply awaken it.
15. The Universe only makes sense when we have someone to share our feelings with.
16. Every one knows how to love, because we are all born with that gift.
17. Any one, who believes that he can own another person, is just deceiving himself.
18. When I had nothing to lose, I had everything; when I stopped being who I am, I found myself.
19. What makes the world go round is not the search for pleasure, but the renunciation of all that is important.
These gems of wisdom, most akin to Hindu and other oriental thoughts make the reading of the book worth while. Paul Coelho leaves no choice for his readers but to admire and appreciate the courage and straight forwardness of Maria.
tkgn wrote this review Thursday, January 3, 2008.