There are two types of readers: critics and mere readers. To know which one is you, pay attention to what you write in your book review; if you talked about how you felt while reading the book, brought all your culture, religion, race and norms and applied it on the story events, followed by likes and dislikes of the character/s behaviours, believes and thoughts, and went to the extreme by judging the writer for what the character had said. Then I must tell you that you are a mere reader.
But a critic, on the other hand, is the one who sheds light on the aesthetics of the written work or the lack of literary beauty and literary rules, without it being based on prior beliefs, and personal feelings, he’s the one who distinguishes the good from the bad and the ugly from the beautiful. What readers do in their so-called critiques is expressing disapproval of someone or something which is the definition of “Criticism” and that’s exactly what a real critic shouldn’t be doing on any level. We critic to bring interest on something, not to attack nor share hatred.
That’s what peeves me the most when I read people’s reviews on The Spy, especially who gave it 1-3 stars. There are fair number of people who decide whether to read a book or not based on readers review, so when your review is full of personal thoughts and hatred for the author or a specific matter in the book yet and most important, lacks proficiency, then that poor reader WILL NOT READ THE BOOK. So PLEASE, liberate him from the incompetence of your critique and let him read in peace.
As for the dropped subject in the book. Let this review be in “a reader way”. There are two things to point out: 1. Paulo Coelho. 2. Prostitution.
As for Paulo Coelho
I don’t really think that his reputation and way of writing is questionable. He’s a veteran writer, he hasn’t been born yesterday.
So, in this particular book which is based on A TRUE STORY under the genre of HISTORICAL FICTION (I’m sure who gave it 1-3 stars missed that) is not anything like his previous philosophical/romance fictions. It is very natural that the promised style of Paulo Coelho, is not appearing, because most of the events of the novel are taken from the memoirs of Mata Hari. What he did is to re-organize her memoirs and link the events together in smooth and beautiful way. This story is plotted by Mata Hari not Paulo Coelho.
However; I stumbled on a review that said “it was a boring read“. Will that’s exactly what historical readings supposed to make you feel, BORED. But it differs from one person to another, there are people fond of history and historical fictions (like me) and won’t find it boring on any level, and there are people quite the opposite.
This subject hits on my nerves every time I tend to discuss it. As I am absolutely interested in the life of prostitutes (I swear, this word and many others like it, will drive me insane one day). People usually say that prostitution is prostitution, regardless of what causes it. And I say that prostitution is a sheer resultant of a cruel society, bad parenting and poverty, because NO ONE on the god’s green earth (male or female) will accept to striptease or to have nil emotional sex for a group of people or one person out of their own will, unless if there was a personal gain behind it. And in 95% of cases it’s MONEY MONEY MONEY. People want to live, people want to eat and feed their families and they will do absolutely anything and everything for this purpose, and if it was prostitution, so be it.
People will say there must be another thing to do instead of becoming a prostitute. Well, you are absolutely right, but if there were any would they really go and sell themselves?
All this evokes in me what Charles Bukowski have said in his second novel Factotum: I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed.
Arabs, find it very difficult to seek an excuse for prostitutes. Whenever the lights are shed on this subject they sincerely pray so she/he is the one who want this for himself out of their own will.
So they no longer have to seek an excuse for them. But it’s quite contrary to what happens, they don’t want that. Ask any prostitute, read any kind of story you like about them, none of them ever mentioned that they have done it out of their own will. Few are those who want to believe that this is a “noble prostitution” I call it that way because of the nobility of abandoning your own body for a higher purpose, which rhymes very well with Machiavelli principle “The end justifies the means.” This saying is not as bad as it’s usually described, as if it were a way to justify any behavior. Let me give an example on that; try to apply it on prostitution:
When talking about rich people snapping souvenir pictures next to wild animals they have hunted, these behaviors get wide boos by most people, with many angry booed messages and comments because it’s acted without any aim except for having fun.
Interestingly, the same people who condemn these actions are often animal meat eaters! How can anyone who decries the killing of an animal somewhere to have the meat of animals at all? The answer is simple: the difference is only in the end. For example, in the case of lions hunting, the end here is just the pleasure of hunting, and that end is not noble or sufficiently important to justify the means, which include the killing of an animal by gunshot. While in the second case, the end is the food, which is important enough to overlook the means used to achieve it.
As for The Spy, all what I have to say about this well knitted novel and lovely woman is that the exotic dancer was shot for spying in World War I, although her guilt was never proven, “Between us, the evidence we had was so poor that it wouldn’t have been fit to punish a cat.” How many times governments have fabricated crimes against people who haven’t committed?
All that evoked sorrow and anger in me, as I remember the tragic death of Alan Turing, who did so much for the sake of humanity and evolution nevertheless; it did not intercede the homosexuality charge that had indicted against him. Poor people have died and will be dying for the greediness and mercilessness of governments and covering for the senior heads in the States. How cruel it is to witness all this without being able to lift a finger.
She must have been a talented dancer yet a very charming face and definitely an ardent spirit.
” instead of justice there was wickedness, instead of righteousness, there was yet more wickedness… but god will judge them all, both the righteous and the wicked, god will judge them both, for there is a time for every intention, a time for every deed.”
“Fearlessly paying the price she had to pay.”
“””IT IS A 4.5“””
The Spy by Paulo Coelho
February 26, 2017 – Started Reading
March 1, 2017 – Finished Reading