The Witch of Portobello, Paulo Coehlo

Oh, this started out so promisingly.  I loved the idea of a bunch of different people telling the story of this one women.  I loved how the book would create a space around her that would leave you wondering and wondering what she was thinking all along – like The Moonstone does with Rachel, you know?  There are several different narrators, and they all talk about the mysterious, recently-murdered Athena.  The witch of Portobello.

I was thrilled!  I thought Paulo Coehlo was my Next Big Thing!  However, the book ended up sort of preachy, and the dialogue fell prey to the translation problem.  I can’t stand preachy books, especially when I can glimpse behind the preaching a potentially cool and intriguing plotline.  And every time I started to get interested, someone would be all, Why do people love this male god of rules?  They should open themselves up, this and that, loving wisdom of the mother goddess, blah blah blah, sin does not exist, yadda yadda yadda.  It’s not that I disagreed with everything; I just didn’t care.  LET US GET BACK TO THE PLOT.  And Athena was supposed to be this bright vivid character but she wasn’t interesting at all.  Oh, and the surprising surprise at the end?  Totally saw it coming.  (Cause I read the end after five pages.)

So oh well.  Paulo Coehlo is not my Next Big Thing, and unless any of you wants my copy of The Witch of Portobello, I’m going to post it on PaperbackSwap.

(My Next Big Thing appears to be BBC films.  We’ll see how this goes.)

Other, possibly more thoughtful, reviews:

Book Nook Club
Ramya’s Bookshelf
The Bookling
Loud Latin Laughing
Lynda’s Book Blog
It’s All About Me

Let me know if I missed yours!

8 thoughts on “The Witch of Portobello, Paulo Coehlo

  1. I know what you mean by preachy. I used to have more tolerance for them, but not these days. I’ve only read one book by Coelho. I’m still not sure whether I should read more of his or not.

  2. I can take books that are slightly preachy as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the plot; but I really felt with this one, there was hardly time for the plot, in the midst of all the preachy.

    …And yes, I really read the end before I read the middle. I like knowing what’s going to happen. It is more fun to read that way.

  3. I haaaaaate Coelho. I can’t understand why his books are bestsellers; I like to imagine people buying them for the covers. I read “Brida” last spring, and had an awful time with it, though the cover was pretty.

  4. That’s exactly what I did do! The Witch of Portobello had a good cover and I was taken in by it. In a way it’s good – I am disappointed when I don’t like an author, but it does make my world simpler. No need to every worry about Paulo Coehlo again!

  5. Pingback: Wrapping up 2009 « Jenny's Books

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