I just finished reading my favorite author Paulo Coelho‘s latest novel, Adultery, and I must admit it wasn’t an easy read for me — or at least, not as easy as I thought it would be. His words are easy to understand, sure, but I guess I find them difficult to swallow whenever he speaks of insanity and depression (among Coelho’s books, Veronica Decides to Die, which also was about insanity and depression and a commentary on mental institutions, was my least favorite).
Aside from my compulsion to buy every single Coelho book to be released, what made me want to buy Adultery immediately, without waiting for the smaller paperback version I collect to come out, was the synopsis on the back cover:
“Adultery, the provocative new novel by internationally best-selling author Paulo Coelho, explores the question of what it really means to live fully and happily. How do we balance life’s routine with the desire for something new?”
It also included the quote in the book that became the turning-point for the main character, Linda: “‘I haven’t the slightest interest in being happy,’ he says defiantly, ‘I prefer to live life passionately, which is dangerous because you never know what might happen next.’”
The book seemed to speak to me and reach out to me because sometime this year, I also struggled with depression and the confusion it brought: I’m living a happy, fulfilled life. I have a great family, I was happily single at the time, I have a great job, I have a nice home, I am healthy, and I have lots of friends. So why was I feeling lonely?
It took a while for the feeling to pass, and I can honestly say I’m over that phase, but it was very real at the time, and so I waited for this book to arrive on Philippine shores. The feeling of depression was long gone when it finally did, but I still bought the book because the theme of wanting to know what it means “to live fully and happily” still resonated with me.
The book was nothing like I expected, and at certain points it was painful to read because it’s something you wouldn’t want to happen to you–whether you’re the offender or the victim. Still, I wanted to finish it (I hate not finishing books), and I can say that while it’s not my favorite Coelho book, it’s still filled with lessons I take to heart–just like every Coelho book I’ve read. In the end, the key message I got from it is all about LOVE. And I want to share with you some of the quotes from Coelho’s Adultery that really struck me most, so you can also decide for yourself if this book is something that deserves your time and space in your bedside table. (In no particular order:)
1. “True Love does not consist of exposing your weaknesses to others, but instead of being unafraid to show when you need help and rejoicing in finding that things are better than what others said.”
2. “Life offers us thousands of opportunities for learning. Every man and every woman, in every day of our lives, always has a good opportunity to surrender to Love. Life is not a long vacation, but a constant learning process. And the most important lesson is learning to love.”
3. “Let us first seek Love, and everything else will be added.”
4. “And that’s what allows me to get back my self-respect and regain my self-esteem. Because if a man like him wants to stay by my side, a man who would have no difficulty at all finding a new partner the day after separating, it’s because I’m worth something; I’m worth a lot.”
5. “I multiply 365 by 70. The answer is 25,550. That’s the average number of days a normal person lives. How many have I already wasted?”
6. “God would never be so unfair as to allow me to fall in love like that if there were not some possibility for that love being requited.”
7. “Write down a list of complaints… Every time I feel angry about something, I write it down. At the end of the day, when I read the list, I realize that I’ve been angry about nothing.”
8. “Smile, even if I feel like crying. That is the most difficult thing on the list, but you get used to it. Buddhists say that a fixed smile, however false, lights up the soul.”
9. “Everyone has days when they say, ‘Well, my life isn’t exactly lining up with my expectations.’ But if life asked you what you had done for it, what would you say?”
10. “When you love each other, you have to be ready for anything. Because love is a like a kaleidoscope, the kind we used to play with when we were kids. It’s in constant movement and never repeats itself. If you don’t understand this, you are condemned to suffer for something that really only exists to make us happy. And you know the worst thing? People like that woman, always worried about what others think of their marriage. That doesn’t matter to me. The only thing that counts is what you think.”