I saw this book in Waterstones a couple of weeks back and fell in with the cover. Once I read the synopsis I had a feeling that I would love the book.
The main character Ella reads a book about 13th Sufi mystic and poet Rumi and his companion Shams of Tabrizi who essentially helped him discover his inner poet and become the poet he is today. Through this Ella discovers her inner Sufi and falls in love with a poet.
My first thoughts were like Ella’s during the beginning how could I relate or connect with a 13th-century poet in Turkey. It seemed so distant.
My perception slowly changed as I read and I realised how timeless and relevant Sham’s words were to me the reader as well every one of us in general.
To some, this book may seem cliche another love book and about discovering yourself. Let me ask you this? Aren’t cliches; so used because they are accurate? They accurately portray reality. I mean like Rumi we all have that emptiness within that feeling that something is missing within our lives.
I love the character of Shams, in particular, his daringness, the idea that he did not care what people around him thought of him. He didn't care what people thought of him. The only thing he was concerned with was his love of Allah.
I feel that saints and people of stature are often portrayed in such a saintly way. In a way that they don’t react to peoples anger, they don’t react to anything. They remain patient and steadfast. They are saints and friends of Allah so they don’t react like us.
Shams was just an ordinary man and despite his extraordinary gifts and love for Allah, he was human.
Sham’s forty rules of love also make an appearance through the novel one of my favourites is;
Instead of resisting to changes, surrender. Let life be with you, not against you. If you think ‘My life will be upside down’ don’t worry. How do you know down is not better than upside?
Both Ella’s story and Sham’s story is interwoven within the book. I have to be honest I preferred Rumi and Sham’s story more than Ella but I understand why the author interwove the two. The book needed a grounding in reliability for the reader.