By: Paulo Coelho
Paige’s Rating: (2) of 5
Recommended for: Spiritual- Fiction Readers
Brida, a young Irish girl, has long been interested in various aspects of magic but is searching for something more. Her search leads her to people of great wisdom. She meets a wise man who dwells in a forest, who teaches her to trust in the goodness of the world, and a woman who teaches her how to dance to the music of the world. As Brida seeks her destiny, she struggles to find a balance between her relationships and her desire to become a witch.
Lately, I feel as if I am in a real bad relationship with the books I am reading. It seems like there is a lot of hype about these books, and my heart quickens when they are described to me. “Oh yes, this one is a best-seller and this other one very smart and deep. Paige, you need to read them.” Wow, that sounds good, and so I can’t wait to meet these books. And while we should never judge a book by the cover, I see that these books have potential; they are attractive and I can dig them. But then, oh, then I read them and get to know them. It is somewhere around page 20 where I find that I am already bored with them but like all my past lovers, I stick it out in case something good does end up coming out of it. *sigh* Oh the hopeful masochist that I am.
I had a few friends, both American and Turkish, recommend this book to me. When I noticed that it was written by the same author of The Alchemist, which also came highly praised, I thought that it would be a good buy. While The Alchemist was good, Brida was barely redeemable.
The character of Brida is a young Irish girl, going to University in the 1980s. Brida begins that journey we all take in order to search for ourselves. Maybe it was due to the translation, but I felt that her character was unchanging from start to finish, even though the words in the book were trying desperately to convince me that she was in a great spiritual transition. In the end, the reader is told that Brida has this new-found knowledge of life and of herself, but when I looked at the actions in the book, I just wasn’t buying it because those actions wouldn’t have personally developed my spirituality.
So let’s talk about that, the actions in the storyline. There was action that occurred that moved the plot forward, but it was in a way that seemed detached from the progress of the character and naturally, to the reader. Let me give you an example from the book, without spoiling the plot too much. There were two love-making scenes that were to be pivotal in Brida’s journey toward spiritual understanding. Now, I have had some good sex in my day, but hardly anything so good that I hit a new level of enlightenment. So I get it, and yet I don’t. Consequently, I have had sex so bad, that it brought a new level of knowledge to me, the knowledge of dead fish whoppie, but I digress. In this way I think Coelho is trying to connect with his reader but failing miserably because the actions in which he chooses to show Brida’s spiritual journey aren’t likely to be the same actions the reader would take, as I stated early. It’s like a lover trying desperately to make you understand that he loves you, but he shows his love for you by making you pay for dinner. You get it and yet you don’t. It’s not bad action, but it’s just not normal actions that would prove the point.
Again, maybe this is due to the translation or maybe the context of these books is so deep that its true meaning is lost to… herm… people like me. Read it if you wish to read about a nice girl who becomes a woman through actions unrelated to the progress, but don’t expect to find your spiritual answer here. After all, real love and real answers comes from within. And that is what Coelho tried to convey ironically, without connecting to the reader.