Book Review: The 40 Rules of Love

Author: Elif Shafak


This book isn’t a story, it’s a journey. It isn’t a sermon but a path laid with roses and thorns. This is how I felt as a reader who doesn’t fancy this genre. The book came as a recommendation and didn’t disappoint.

The narrative is about a woman a homemaker and a mother of 3 and how she struggles with the mundane motions of life. Nothing around her excites her anymore and the family too doesn’t seem to value her presence or contribution to the house. In the emptiness filling her heart, she begins her part-time work of reviewing manuscripts and is handed over one that changes her outlook toward life itself.

Ella reads the manuscript about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, and his forty rules of life and love, her world is turned upside down. She connects with the author who is actually a vagabond photographer and soon feels like she has a tete-a-tete with her soulmate. She feels her life brightening up and eventually gives up everything to be with him. That she feels is seeking meaning to her life.

While the content appears dry and filled with Sufi teachings mainly Sham’s 40 rules interspersed throughout the narrative, Overall it has a special charm. There area couple of edit errors like Ella’s POV going to the third person in the last two chapters and also the ending appears rushed with the revelation of everything together.

Yet its an interesting read.

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