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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  34,338 ratings  ·  2,289 reviews
Paula es el libro más conmovedor, más personal y más íntimo de Isabel Allende. Junto al lecho en que agonizaba su hija Paula, la gran narradora chilena escribió la historia de su familia y de sí misma con el propósito de regalársela a Paula cuando ésta superara el dramático trance. El resultado se convirtió en un autorretrato de insólita emotividad y en una exquisita recre ...more
Pasta blanda, 432 pages
Published June 30th 2004 by Nuevas Ediciones de Bolsillo (first published 1994)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) I've read it twice and each time it made me very angry. She knew her daughter suffered from a hereditary, little understood disorder, and yet when Pau…moreI've read it twice and each time it made me very angry. She knew her daughter suffered from a hereditary, little understood disorder, and yet when Paula says she feels unwell, her mother puts it down to her whiny nature and ignores it until it's too late. To me, the final dream-sequence scene with the slippers seemed like an attempt at an apology, but it didn't work. I gave up on Allende after The Infinite Plan, the book released after this one.(less)

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Isabel Allende has long been my favorite author since I read her House of the Spirits for the first time nearly twenty years ago. Since then, I have reread her opus three times, as well as a number of her novels and memoir The Sum of Our Days. Until now, however, I had been avoiding her first memoir Paula, which details the year and a half of her life where she dealt with her daughter's long illness that eventually lead to her death. Needing a book from the 1990s for my women's 20th century chal ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Paula, Isabel Allende

Paula is a 1992 memoir by Isabel Allende. She intended to write a straightforward narrative about the darkest experience of her own life. But the book is a tribute to her deceased daughter Paula Frías Allende, who fell into a porphyria-induced coma in 1991 and never recovered.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه ژانویه سال 1999 میلادی

عنوان: پائولا؛ نویسنده: ایزابل آلنده؛ مترجم: مریم بیات؛ تهران، علم، چاپ دوم 1378؛ در 438ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، سخن، 1380؛ شابک 9646961592؛ چاپ پنجم 1388؛ شابک 9
Paula by Isabel Allende is an autobiographical account of her family's experiences in Chile, writing feverishly at the bedside of her daughter, Paula, as she lay in a coma from a genetic neurological disease in Barcelona, Spain. At first it was written for Paula so that she will not be lost or afraid when she awoke; then as it became clearer that this wouldn't happen, Allende continued to write as a cathartic of the time her family was driven from their home in Chile following the military coup ...more
What could be more complicated than watching our daughter die? The insane hope of recovery than the long accompaniment until the end?

"Paula" therefore begins with a letter from Isabel Allende to her sick daughter. She tells him the story of her family, a saga full of legends and imagination. Still, this narrative of the past is interrupted by the events of the present, the deterioration of Paula's health, the distress, the treatments and the superstitions that try to overcome the evil and even t
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jinky
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, memoirs
"What do you want us to learn, Paula?

After reading up to her closing lines: Godspeed, Paula, woman. Welcome, Paula, spirit on page 330 of this amazing 1995-published memoir, still the question above is the one that reverberates inside my head. This is one of the questions the 49-y/o Chilean-American novelist, Isabel Allende asked her 29-y/o comatose daughter, Paula Frias Allende.

The reason is Bhang. My 29-y/o officemate who is currently comatose right after giving birth to a healthy baby boy
Book Concierge
When Isabel Allende’s daughter became gravely ill and fell into a coma, the author spent days at Paula’s bedside. At her own mother’s urging, Allende began to write the story of her family for Paula in an attempt to connect her child with her ancestors, “…so that when you wake up you will not feel so lost.”

Evocative, heart-rending, luminous, suspenseful, triumphant – I cannot think of enough adjectives to describe this beautifully written memoir. Allende lays her soul bare on the page. She brin
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The heartbreaking and heartwarming recount of the days (and years) that preceded the death of Paula, Isabel Allende's daughter. This is a story of hope and happiness, brought to the surface of a white page as the last letter of a grieving mother to her daughter.

It's also the story of Allende's days as she starts writing, as she survives poverty in a foreign country, as she finds the love of her life. It's an ode to perseverance, to love, to surviving and thriving even through the hardest traged
Nov 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This book has got to be one of the most heartfelt and soulful books I have ever read. Although the book is entitled Paula, it is very much about Isabel, her life and her relationship with her daughter. Paula. Paula has become very sick, went into a coma and that's where the book starts. The writing and the feelings of Isabelle are real, raw and relatable. I never realized the history of her home country, Chile and the devastating time of the dictatorship. I found her life's story to be on an ext ...more
very touching...
make you cry with isable allende
Mar 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
well written, but so tedious! i just can't get into this book. by no means am i belittling the very sad situation with her daughter, paula. since the author wants to express her spiritual gifts and insights, here's mine: spirits know everything once they have passed over. all the secrets of family, of you, of history are revealed to them. they don't read novels.

yeah, her childhood, etc, isn't the greatest and some crap things happen, but the family is part of the top-crust upper class. it couldn
Oct 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Several years ago I read Isabel Allende's fiction and remembered liking it, so enroute to the library checkout I grabbed her nonfiction book, "Paula," on impulse. I have mixed feelings about it. It is a definite page-turner, alternating between the true story of Allende's daughter Paula and her terrible health condition, and the flashbacks of Allende's own very eventful life. Allende wrote the personal history as a way of telling Paula her story and staying sane during the health ordeal. She is ...more
Isabel Allende starts this book as a collection of letters to her daughter who fell into a coma. She wrote this while caring for her in a Madrid hospital so that when Paula, the daughter who might be suffering from brain damage, woke up, she could read everything about her ancestry.

Isabel Allende is known for her story-telling but I've actually never read her fiction. Sorry, I lied. I read Daughter of Fortune a long time ago but I've forgotten everything about it. But I like her biography, My In
Denisa Arsene
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
What a wonderful epic story! An ode to life, to love, to the unique bond between mother and child.
I am so so sorry for the lost! It is hard even to imagine the hurt of a mother who accompanies his child to death.
I want to write about its beauty - but I am afraid I won't pay respect to a devastating hurt.
I've just "met" Allende in December, 2019 when I was reading "The House of Spirits". It just captivated me with her easy heart-breaking style, in parts filled with sorrows, in parts, with joy
Hoda Marmar
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Maybe a 3.5 stars rating? Not sure.
The idea behind this book is dramatic and beautiful: Isabel Allende's daughter Paula is sick, gets admitted to the hospital, slips into a coma and eventually dies. What would the storyteller and writer Isabel Allende do at her daughter's bedside for over a year? She would talk to her unconscious daughter, and would write her all the memories she has about her own life and family history to pass the cold waiting hours until Paula wakes up. That manuscript would
Isabel Allende wrote that her memoir was published despite reservations from her agents and some editors who felt that the topic, plus the fact that she had exposed herself to the "public gaze without holding anything back," could harm her. Thank goodness she went ahead with it.

Part of what makes this book so beautiful is the tone: she wrote it as a letter to her daughter who was lying in a coma in Madrid, Spain. Letter writing had been going on for years in this family. Isabel usually wrote a l
Discussion Guide:
(Questions compiled by Rihab Sebaaly)

1- Paula is the first nonfiction book written by Allende. Did you notice this? Did you feel that Paula was written by someone with no experience in nonfiction books?

2- Where Do you love Allende more: in nonfiction or in fiction books? And why?

3- Allende rewrote Chile’s history and her own history in this book. Do you think she was objective especially when she narrated the events surrounding Salvador Allende's life and politics?

4- Did you enj
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Full review at

In her wide-ranging memoir, Isabel Allende tells the story of a conversation she had with famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. As they talked, he said to her, “My dear child, you must be the worst journalist in the country. You are incapable of being objective, you place yourself at the center of everything you do, I suspect you’re not beyond fibbing, and when you don’t have news, you invent it. Why don’t you write novels instead? In literature, those defects are vi
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Isabel Allende’s novel Paula recounts the death of her daughter in 1992. Her daughter Paula had encountered the disorder Porphyria that affects the nervous system. In her case, through a variety of factors, she ended up in a coma, and after much intervention, she passed away at age 29. In short, this was not a pleasant read on the surface.

Twisting the tale, Allende retells her own life story to her coma-induced daughter Paula while intermingling updates along the way. The book acts on many level
Jan 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
September Williams
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A gripping story of love and loss - Isabel's memoir to fiction's best moments. ...more
Valerie Hernandez
Sep 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Never has a book been written more from the heart...A cathartic story written from mother to daughter that brings you on an emotional journey.

When Allende's beautiful, 20-something daughter falls into a coma and is hospitalized in Madrid, Allende finds solace in documenting her own life story and family history in this moving novel.

Allende's talent for story telling made me fall in love with Paula and pray each night for her recovery (I know, what a sap!).

But as much as I love this book, I do
Mar 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: the dogs.
Shelves: compost-pile
I was hoping this memoir would be a better read than her formulaic, run-of-the-mill, dime-store magical realist "novels" but I was disappointed. I was also hoping to learn more about her daughter, for whom the book is named. On this count, I was also disappointed. What I got instead was a formulaic, run-of-the-mill, dime-store magical realist account of her life that tilted between the kitsch and the narcissistic and that only served to further convince me of Isabel Allende's powers of self-prom ...more
Jun 10, 2010 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first part of this book, as it gives a great insight into Isabel Allende and her childhood and her family life in Chile which I found so interesting, This books is really about Allende's daughter Paula and her illness which I feel was very badly explained, I had to google Paula's condition to understand it as it was not very clear from the book. I also felt that Paul's life was discussed very little and I would have like to have learned more about Paula as a person. This is ...more
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Written as if in a letter to a dying daughter, this gorgeously poetic and moving book tells stories of Allende's family, her own life, and even of Chile itself in language that is at times breathtaking, at others, heartbreaking. You can feel the breath of the gods, throbbing, absolute presences in this resplendent domain of precipices and high walls of black rock polished by the snow to the sensual perfection of marble... This memory is sacred to me; this memory is my country.
We can also cred
Mar 05, 2011 rated it liked it
It is an autobiography written during the watching over her dying daughter. But the book is not that gloomy due to the talented combination of dramatic moments, humour and wisdom. The writer tries to find out the sense of this suffering. The power of this book is probably created by the archetype that underlies it, rendered in the classical myth of goddess Demeter descending to the Underwold in search of her daughter Persephone. The book is thus structured on 2 story lines: Isabel Allende's tumu ...more
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Beautiful in delivery, exquisite in prose. This may not be a book for everyone because of the subject. This book is written as a letter to the authors' daughter while she lays in a fatal coma. The beauty of the book is in it’s communiqué of the authors’ life as the niece of an assassinated ruler in Chile and her exile from her home country. Because I am a fan of this author and her writing style, I lunged into this memoir with the intent of understanding the author a little bit more. I am in awe ...more
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful, haunting and strange. This is one of the best memoirs I've read. ...more
Ange H
Jun 19, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
This is my first attempt to read Isabel Allende, and it was not a success. "Paula" got universal raves, but I just can't get into it - I feel like I've been reading it for a month and I'm only on page 30. This may be mean-spirited, and I don't mean to discount this heartbreaking and life-altering tragedy in the author's life, but it also struck me as kind of mercenary to exploit it by turning it into a novel. ...more
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's the first book I read by Isabel Allende and it's a true testament to a mother's love, as well as to the turning points in life at any stage. To be honest, I found out about the book from the soap opera "Jane the Virgin", where Jane meets Isabel and tells her that "Paula" was the book that helped her to go through the loss of her husband. Allende has been on my to read list for a long time, but as at this stage I am reading lots of memoirs, diaries and even correspondence, Paula seemed like ...more
Alba Hasimja (Abaa)
Couldn't go on with this book. I found it boring, nothing remarkable, artificial flow of the story. Looks like Allende was trying hard to write something following the steps of Marquez but something messy came out. Interrupted reading. ...more
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Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean-American novelist. Allende, who writes in the "magic realism" tradition, is considered one of the first successful women novelists in Latin America. She has written novels based in part on her own experiences, often focusing on the experiences of women, weaving myth and realism together. She has lectured and done extensive book tours and has taught literature at s ...more

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