The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

3/5 stars.
ebook, 192 pages.
Read from September 15 to 25, 2014.

Well ten years after this book was first published, I finally got around to reading it. I can see why this book received a lot of hype as it was published at a time where people’s lives were evolving to reach a level of busyness that hadn’t been seen before and North America was also hit with some economical hardships. The book’s message hits home for anyone who has ever given up on a dream or has stopped dreaming. Most of us get caught up with money and time. We need money to have things and to pay our bills and to do so we often need to work in areas that may not satisfy us which, in turn takes up most of our time. This isn’t a fault and it’s nothing to feel guilty over but most of us will always wonder what would have happened if we had just taken the one massive risk to try and attain our dreams. The Alchemist is about the pursuit of dreams, a personal legend. Everyone has one and we all know what it is when we’re a child but we lose it as we age but we never forget the desire for it.  When someone is pursuing their personal legend, the universe will come to together to assist anyone that is in pursuit of their personal legend.

The story follows a young shepard boy named Santiago. who after having a reoccurring dream, in which he believes to be prophetic, consults a fortune teller. He is told that he will find treasure in Egypt. Soon afterwards he is visited by an old king called Melchizedek, who encourages Santiago to pursue the dream. The boy, through out his journey is met with several points in which he could have turned away from his personal legend, decisions that would have made him happy in the interim but would have still left him empty and full of yearning in his later years. The writing itself mimics a piece of philosophical or religious text and God is often brought up in the book. While the style worked, I cannot deny that, I didn’t always enjoy its preachy style.

This novel spoke to me not only because I am in the process of the pursuing my own personal legend but the book is also a reflection of the authors own experience of  becoming a writer so I felt that I could relate to the author’s own sacrifices as reflected through Santiago. What I also took from the book is the importance of ensuring that you don’t give up your dreams for anyone. Santiago meets two women on his journey, both which tempt him to settle and marry but it’s the second woman Fatima, who won’t be with him until he has pursued his personal legend. A loved one should support your dreams, not stop them.

I can see that this book may not speak to everyone just based on the way it’s written, but for those that it does, I think it’s important not to ignore its message. We have a set amount of time on this earth and we do have choice with how we spend it. It’s never too late to follow a dream. Anything worth having is going to have sacrifice, and often a lot of it but as this book shows, it’s the journey towards the dream that’s relevant and that’s what makes the rewards of success that much sweeter.


Author: thepluviophilewriter

I have an obsession with running, pole dancing, cats, video games, books and angry music. I also like to write. Read my book reviews.

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