Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I thought it was time to try a different type of book for my book reviews. The idea of the book reviews came from the virtual book club that we had last year during quarantine.  The Alchemist was brought up several times as we were discussing other books and as it was a book I had never heard of, I had to look it up. As I was learning about the book, I was somewhat shocked that I had never heard of it because it seemed just like my kind of book.  The book was written in 1988 and became popular in the early 90’s. This was right after I graduated from college and in my pursuit to start my teaching career, I wasn’t doing a lot of recreational reading.  Which looking back is unfortunate for me, I think reading this book at that time of my life would have been very helpful. 

The Alchemist is a fable about a shepherd boy named Santiago. He has a dream that takes him on a journey from Spain to the pyramids of Egypt, in search of treasure and to find his “personal legend”. On his journey he encounters a gypsy, a king, a thief, an Englishman, a woman “of the desert” and an alchemist. These encounters help him to continue his journey even when he wants to give up.  

The Alchemist is a story about perseverance and following your dreams.  Santiago reminds us to listen to our hearts and helps one realize that difficult things are not always bad things. Personally, I loved Santiago’s spirit.  He encountered so many different people and all without judgement, even when they wanted to do him harm. He was able to read life’s omens to help him make decisions that lead him to fulfill his “personal legend” and find his treasure.  

When I finished the book, I posted a quick review on Goodreads and then started reading some of the review’s others had posted. It seems that this book is quite polarizing. You either love it or you hate it.  Which I guess is not surprising but honestly, I can’t find a reason not to like this book.  It is a short book and I am pretty sure it is a book that I will read again. I liked the book. I think if I had read it when I was in my 20’s or 30’s I would have loved it.   It reminds us that there are going to be ups and downs in life but above all we need to keep moving forward. It’s a book that reminds us not to give up and to pursue our dreams. It is a book that gives one hope and that, in my opinion, is a book worth reading.

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