2016 Reading Challenge: Book 29


Book 28: A book you can read in a day, Adultery by Paulo Coelho

It’s quite funny that I chose this for my ‘book I could read in a day’ because it took weeks for me to finish this novel. I renewed the book twice and still could not get through it, so I then returned the book and checked out the audiobook. I had to force myself to finish by listening to the story driving to and from work when I couldn’t escape–it was THAT bad.

Let me start by asking, did Paulo Coelho actually write this? Every single one of his other books have been beautifully written, had stunningly gorgeous plots, and delivered breathtaking lessons and revelations about life, love, and the world. This felt like…well it felt like falling into the horribly written diary of a Real Housewives cast member. The narrator is a wealthy Swiss woman who has the perfect life: literally the PERFECT husband, two beautiful children, so much money she doesn’t need to work but a fancy career that she loves (Journalism). She decides that she is desperately unhappy, depressed even. I know this is probably supposed to teach us that everyone, no matter how shiny their lives look on the outside, has their own demons and struggles from time to time. However, I could not spend an entire novel trying to sympathize with this lady and her non-problems. They were just too ridiculous that it became laughable and then I just got down right angry. We should have called this novel #FirstWorldProblemsSwitzerland. I hated the narrator to the point that I actually started trash talking back to her as I drove around listening to this awful garbage. In between ranting about how depressed and awful her life is and dispelling numbingly trite platitudes about life and love, she keeps discrediting herself and saying things like “but what do I know, I’m losing my mind!” Single White Female anyone? I won’t give away this INTRIGUING plot but homegirl does lose her mind a few times and almost makes the book interesting, but tends to burn out her crazy before she really accomplishes anything.

True to the title, there is indeed a handful of sex scenes in which adultery is committed, but they are the equivalent of watching truly awful low-budget porn and again Coelho misses the mark. I believe this is supposed to be shocking in its violent, animalistic portrayal of scandalous adulterous sex, but it was mostly sad and boring. The narrator rambles on for hundreds of pages about her “insights” on life and her “depression” and then in the next instance someone’s penis is in her mouth…because why not!? No reason needed. Not so much shocking as just really weirdly interrupting the narrative flow. If there is one. Don’t even get me started on the co-dependency issues…

If Coelho is trying to do something with this novel, I’m not sure what it is. I am saddened by it. I do not know if I will attempt to read anything else he writes after this for I fear he may have reached his pinnacle as a writer and now we’re navigating down the other side. If anyone has any insights to save my disappointment of this novel, I would be happy to hear it. Truly bummed about this reading experience.


About alycemsustko

Reader, writer, catmom extraordinaire
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