Book reviews: Forty rules of love, The

Forty rules of love Elif Shafak

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.

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

Let us talk

Have read this one? Did you like it? Which book that was recommended by
everyone but left you disappointed? Let us talk

23 COMMENTS

  1. 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! 🎉

  2. 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.
    Olivia Roach recently posted…Blood’s Revolution [Book Review]My Profile

  3. 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.

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