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'Eleven Minutes' by Paulo Coelho (1 Viewer)

I read this over a year ago, so I won’t give it a full review – just thought I’d ask what people thought of it as the authors most popular book (The Alchemist) is being discussed…

The book as written from the perspective of a young Brazilian woman who entered into prostitution in Europe. She was portrayed as someone in control of her own destiny rather than as a victim – she was shown as a thoughtful young woman rather than a morally depraved individual – which I thought was a good change from the stereotype prostitute.
 

Walkio

Senior Member
I actually really disliked the book. I read it after reading The Alchemist, and I have to say it put me off Paulo Coelho. I'm now reading The Zahir though, so I've given him another chance. I hated 11 minutes, because I thought it glamourized prostitution. It basically presented it as an easy way to make money - if I was a Brazilian girl reading it I'd think, "Yeah, being a prostitute sounds like a good idea". This is obviously not a good thing. I suppose I hate it because I believe that selling yourself is disrespecting yourself, and if you cannot respect yourself, you cannot respect over people. I didn't really get the message he was trying to put across. Prostitutes have feelings too? It shouldn't be frowned upon anymore?

And I also hated it because it said things like "It's better to be rich and unhappy than happy and poor," which nearly made me stop reading there and then. If a stupid phrase like that makes it into a book, I expect it to be denounced later on, though it wasn't.

I thought it was crap, to be honest.
 
Interesting…

I thought it glamourized prostitution.
I didn’t think so…but then again perhaps any portrayal of prostitution that has positive aspects to it some people would take to be glamorization?

if you cannot respect yourself, you cannot respect over people.

Sure. But you can respect yourself, and other people, and be a prostitute…not that this is a place for a debate on the matter - I merely mean to point that out as you didn't really get the message he was trying to put across – possibly that is the message? I suppose any book dealing with moral issues will be unconvincing to many people…

It's better to be rich and unhappy than happy and poor,
Was that the message of the book, or one character in it? I think it is fine to have characters in a book with poor/faulty opinions – maybe even to have a message that makes the reader object and consequently come to a more sound conclusion….I’d need to see the statement in context – but that really does not sound like an opinion the author would believe.

I don’t think it was a particularly well written book, but I thought it a good attempt at delving into a tricky issue without so many stereotypes.

The very fact that an older man would write from the perspective of a young female prostitute could be seen as a little suspect, but then again, why not?
Actually I have been trying to write about prostitution and it is frigging difficult to keep a balance perspective – especially as many of prostitute friends are happy, well balance women – like the character in Eleven Minutes they don’t all fall into the stereotype…
Admittedly I think it was all a little too easy for the character in Eleven Minutes…maybe he went too far and gave her none of the demons and pain which all people (not only prostitutes) suffer.

Anyhow, I don’t mean to debate you here, your opinion is your opinion! I just find it interesting to discuss…Thanks for your input!
 

Walkio

Senior Member
No problem Karl - I like debates just as long as they don't turn into arguments. But I really don't think any self-respecting person would want to sell themselves when there are other jobs available. Obviously, Maria made good money, but I'd argue that money isn't what people should be aiming for anyway. To be honest - in the Zahir, I am also questioning Coelho's idea on love. I have just finished reading the section on real love in The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck, and his psychological feelings (which I believe are quite factual) are almost opposed by Coelho.
 
I really don't think any self-respecting person would want to sell themselves when there are other jobs available.

Yes. but what about when there are no other jobs availabe (remember the girl in the book is not from America).

A real life example I am familiar with is North East Thailand - the reality is that the average wage in a factory or rice farm is under $3 a day (when one can get the work!) for a 10 to 14 hour day…that too is prostitution of sorts – and arguably as abusive as the physical kind…

Put your self in the shoes of someone working these hours for that money…It would be very tempting to consider the few other options available – one may find even more self-respect in being a free agent in a bar than an enslaved factory worker! I know many of my friends do.
Really, who are we to presume the respect others have for themselves without knowing their full story? It is impossible to make a statement on prostitution in the western world /economy/christen heritage and apply it equally everywhere.
Honestly it is a very complex issue, I cant get my head fully around it - I suppose I liked “Eleven Minutes” as successfully or not it tried to address some of these issues.

Obviously, Maria made good money, but I'd argue that money isn't what people should be aiming for anyway.

Freedom from enslavement is one thing people should aim for – which entails monetary security – which cannot be always be obtained in all places in the world through mainstream work. It is not for people from affluent regions of the world to tell the citizens of poor regions that they shouldn’t care for money!

I am also questioning Coelho's idea on love. I have just finished reading the section on real love in The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck, and his psychological feelings (which I believe are quite factual) are almost opposed by Coelho.

Yeah, I think some of Coelhos ideas are a bit simplistic and lean towards the mystic.
If you feel like trying to briefly summarize the ideas of love held by both authors I would be very interested to read that….No problem if you don’t want to!
 

Walkio

Senior Member
I agree with you there - obviously it's not like Maria could have said, "oh well, being a prozzy isn't for me, I'll go and work in Maccy D's." But then again I still disagree with the moral. It's the same with the Zahir (which I incidently have just given up on half way through) - he deals with love alot, though it's the 'wrong' kind of love in my book. It's not the love that makes someone risk his life to save his fellow man, or brings forgiveness or empathy or meditation or understanding - it's simply falling in love. Which is often very frustrating and unsuitable. And it annoys me how he talks about infidelity as if it's not a big deal. He annoys me often actually.

I can't really sum up what love is in The Road Less Travelled - it takes up a third of the book. But it deals with 'real' love as opposed to 'romantic' love. The important and life-svaouring kind (the love Jesus was talking about, if that makes sense). You'll just have to read it!
 

Walkio

Senior Member
Karl, have a look at Memoirs of a Geisha. I may be wrong, but I think Arthur Golden was trying to say the same thing as Paulo Coelho was in Eleven Minutes. Memoirs of a Geisha did it much better though. It was a terribly sad story, to be honest.
 
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