Book reviews: Forty rules of love, The

Dec 17, 201823 comments

Do you ever feel so disappointed in yourself when you don’t fall in love with a book? I did as I read The Forty rules of love. When I was in a reading slump a while ago, a friend of mine nudged (read as: pushed) me towards this one as this was one of her favorite books.

I had had few others recommending this book earlier, and the time had finally come for me to pick The Forty rules of love. So let us see how that turned out for me right?

About the book

Forty rules of love Elif Shafak

Book Name: The Forty rules of love

Author: Elif Shafak

Genre: Fiction – Drama, Magical Realism, Historical

Characters: Ella, Rumi, Shams-i Tabrizi

Setting: The USA, Turkey

Plot

The Forty rules of love is a story within a story. Ella, a married woman is going through a mid life crisis with a loveless marriage, a husband who is cheating on her and kids who don’t need her anymore.

When her young daughter announces that she is getting married to her boyfriend, Ella finds it hard to believe that people (i.e. her daughter) wanted to marry for love

Ella is a beta reader who receives a manuscript from an author with whom she begins email conversation. She realizes that Aziz was so different from her and his beliefs and faith shock her as much as they enthuse her.

She continues to read his manuscript about two friends, Rumi and Sham and learns about their Dervish ways of life, which a part of Islam. Does the relationship between Ella and Aziz go any further? Does Ella’s perception of life change at all? Read The Forty rules of love to know further.

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My initial thoughts

As I was telling earlier, I tried so hard to like The Forty rules of love but I was left disappointed. And for once it was not because of my high expectations or the hype. I just failed to understand the whole point of the rules of love and completely disliked the preachy tone and wonder if it had anything to do with the translation or it was just the writing itself. 

I wish it had a little bit lightheartedness in it to make it more fun to read. There were too many small characters to remember but I can understand why they were needed, to educate every rule. I still wish the characters had more depth, while they were all card board cut – the non religious were all evil and the religious ones were all love and simple. 

Things that worked for me

  • I loved the way the author had mixed in Turkish culture and history to the story. 
  • The ideology behind the rules for the love to God and one another was novel and interesting (to a point).
  • Reading this story has increased my interest in reading the poems of Rumi which are well known. 

Things that didn’t work for me

  • I wish the characters were more complex and deeper.
  • I didn’t like the moral, preachy tones that made it difficult to like the characters. 
  • To be fair I have never had a thing for magical realism. Maybe I don’t get it well enough to appreciate it. 

Bottom-line

I am happy for all those for whom this book worked. But it didn’t for me, I understand why didn’t work for me. I might give the author another try, in a few years and maybe it will work then. Keeping my fingers crossed. 

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Forty rules of love Elif Shafak

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Have read this one? Did you like it? Which book that was recommended by
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23 Comments

  1. Dani Eide

    Sorry you were disappointed. Sometimes when I read a book recommended to me and I can’t get into it, I wonder if it was the timing or my mood. Glad your willing to give the author another chance. Happy New Year! 🎉

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      The writing was okay and many of my friends are raving about her. I think that warrants a second chance!

      Reply
  2. Olivia Roach

    Oh I am sorry you couldn’t like this one even though you wanted to! Sometimes that just happens and there isn’t much we can do about it. I think I will dodge this one because even though I like the sound of the culture represented and included in this one, I really don’t like it when books are too preachy.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I think the preachy tone was a hit or miss!

      Reply
  3. Megan | Ginger Mom and Company

    I’m sorry you were disappointed in this one 🙁 I have had a few books where I tried so hard to like it and it just wasn’t for me. You gave this one a very fair review, though. Great job!

    Reply
  4. Robin Taylor

    So sorry you were disappointed.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Thanks for saying that.

      Reply
  5. Heidi

    Too bad it didn’t turn out as expected. Great review though!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I wished it worked for me!

      Reply
  6. Kate

    I like the premise but I imagined it to be more light-hearted and fun. I’m sad it isn’t. ☹️

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I thought the same too, before reading it.

      Reply
  7. Karina

    It sounds like something I would immediately add on my tbr because it’s interesting for me. It’s sad it didn’t work for you though. Great review!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Many of my friends loved this one though.

      Reply
  8. Stormi

    Hopefully your next read is 5-Stars. I feel like I would have had very similar opinions to yours about this book. Magical realism has never been one of my favorite genres, but they do tend to have some very pretty covers like this one.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      That is what I hope too!

      Reply
  9. DJ Sakata

    I like the premise but I tend to avoid any and all religious themes, too much crazy was forced on me as a child.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I totally understand how this book cannot be for everyone.

      Reply
  10. Christina

    It’s always hard when you want more depth to characters – sorry this wasn’t a knock out for you but excellent review!

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      Yes thank you!

      Reply
  11. Jo Linsdell

    Shame this one left you disappointed. Hope your next read is better.

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I hope so too!

      Reply
  12. jennifer gaarder

    a lot of cultures think love of God is superior to everything in life,

    Reply
    • Gayathri

      I wish we were all as open minded when it came to religions and faiths.

      Reply

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Hello there!

Gayathri loves reading, recommending books and talking about bookish things in real life. Her blog is just an extension of that habit. When she is not reading books or creating online content, she freelances as a beta reader. She lives currently in Dubai.Head over to meet me

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