Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho
Eleven Minutes was touted as Paulo Coelho's second international best seller next to The Alchemist. According to the author, it was his boldest story ever made. Must agree, I would. It's a story about a woman who lived a life full of emotional and physical struggles in the pursuit of her dream. It's a plot enriched with love, lust, melancholy, sacrifice and hope. Maria (the protagonist), an innocent girl turned into a prostitute, instinctively took the winding road in realizing her dream. Unfortunately, her journey didn't happen the way she expected it to be. It didn't provide her a smooth run but a tougher and highly pebbled one. It even came to a point of almost losing her true self in exchange of awakening, sexual experiences.
When I bought this book, I didn’t have a slightest idea of what eleven minutes exactly means. My impulse just trusted the name Paulo Coelho in having it. Half way through the pages (more or less), I learned that it’s how Maria coined her work as a prostitute. Perhaps to mollify the guilt that's resting inside her, she made herself believe that she only loses her pride, experiences humiliation and abuse, in eleven minutes. Tolerant that afterall, she submissively performs her work only in a matter of eleven minutes. Then, she can redeem her self again.
This novel is about self-discovery and how human life normally faces the battle between free-will and determinism. In Maria’s case, she was able to endure the battle and came out victorious in the end. She was able to transform her eleven minutes into a lifetime. Whenever we face such life’s conflict we were always left with different choices. One, we allow ourselves to be taken by the flow and let destiny gets its toll on us. The other, we take full control and drive our lives to whichever way we want. But is it always more fruitful to have the later choice? Yes, for some may be not for others. At any rate, the choice is always ours.