Off The Bookshelf: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho

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What would you do for love? It a question that seems impossible to answer. Coelho makes an great point when he says, “True love is an act of total surrender.” Sometimes it takes suffering and sacrifice to truly understand what it means to love. For Pilar, a young scholar and the protagonist, life wasn’t what she expected it to be. She was going to school, and living day by day without truly living…until she received a letter from her childhood friend. From that moment on, her life had been transformed in ways that even she couldn’t imagine. Over the course of a week, Pilar comes away with a renewed understanding of love, and what it means to sacrifice everything just to keep it.

By the River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept is a captivating story about love, suffering and surrender. Coehlo examines childhood love, and its potential to grow into something rich and meaningful. Of course, the relationship between the two characters isn’t easy, especially with Pilar closely guarding her heart. When he tells her of his love for her, she dismisses the admission, still hurting from the past. But, eventually, Pilar forgives and opens up her heart to the man who has loved since childhood. He changes her life, and she remains determined to stay by his side as he embarks on his spiritual path.

I picked up the book, not knowing what to expect. I connected immediately with Pilar because her journey is relatable. Recently, I’ve been trying to navigate through this journey called life, and I’ve tried to figure out my purpose in the world. In a week, Pilar is able to find her true love, while exploring her spirituality. For some, the journey to true love takes longer than a week. I’ve never been in love but , I hope to one day know what it feels like. Like Pilar, my heart remains guarded for fear of getting hurt because it’s not easy finding someone to trust. But, Pilar’s journey opened my eyes to the possibilities. It will happen one day but when I least expect it.

For those looking for forgiveness and understanding, Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down & Wept offers readers the opportunity to learn and grow with the main character. If you haven’t already, this book is worth putting on your reading list.


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