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Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

The Witch of Portobello by: Paulo Coelho

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This book is the account of the life of Sherine Khalil, also known as Athena. The daughter of a gypsy, Athena finds herself traveling the world to try to find the meaning in her life when the Catholic God is denied her after years of devotion. Through her trials she discovers the power to live and embrace life fully and to live through suffering and compassion in grace and to touch many people with a message of love and emotion. She discovers the feminine face of God and the love it compels, not through strict dogma, but through emotion and living life out instead of restricting it. Her travels take her many places and she finds herself with many teachers to help her find the path that is hers physically and spiritually. Her enigmatic life and personality enthrall all those around her, and her spiritual practices create animosity between her and her neighbors, who coin the term Witch to her instead of trying to understand. This book is the trials and perseverance Athena went through to find the one path all her own; and the battles she fought against a bitter and ignorant society that wished to take everything from her.

This book was very interesting, it is told, not from Athena’s perspective, but from all the people she met and dealt with, it is a chronicle of interviews from people that help create the story and fully shape the complex and confusing character of Athena. It is a push and pull process, with stories being built up, and torn down, with the good mixed with the bad so that you can understand fully Athena and her vision of a free spirituality based on compassion and love instead of strict rules and hate.


One thought on “The Witch of Portobello by: Paulo Coelho

  1. It may be inspiring to note that Athena, known as Minerva by the Romans, is represented in a larger than life painting in the central staircase to the Library of Congress.

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