The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

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Well, I finally did it.

I finished The Alchemist. It was one of the longest reads I’ve experienced… and the most boring. I don’t know why people love this book. Is it because the public loves being told that the world will do everything in its power to help them achieve their dreams? Of course it is. People want to believe in personal legends and dreams. I sound cynical, don’t I? Well, I am.

I didn’t want this post to be like that though, so I’m going to change my tone. I’m not against dreams. Actually, I’m one of the biggest proponents of dreams, and I urge everyone to follow theirs – within reason. In The Alchemist, a shepherd boy sells all his sheep to see the Pyramids in Egypt (much like you see many people doing these days). Along the way, he runs into all kinds of good and bad omens. Will he find what he’s looking for?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo Review

You should read this book.

If you don’t, you’ll wander through life believing what most people have already said about it – “This book inspires me. It’s so motivating – a beautiful, well-written story.” It really isn’t. I mean, yes, it’s well-written, but I’ve read plenty of books that have inspired me, and this is not one of them. I’ll be honest, the first hundred pages or so are like trudging through slog. It took three years to make my way to the end!

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

By far the most famous quote from Coelho, I feel it fits my life in regards to this little book. I wanted to finish it, so the universe conspired to help me achieve it.

There were good parts.

I loved the biblical references. There were several throughout the entirety of the book. I connected with those tidbits because they were seen as truth by the characters and I am a Christian.

The ending was good, though it couldn’t come fast enough. I am glad it ended the way it did – with a bit of a twist. Yet by the end of the story, I was tired of it all. Let’s move on with our lives! I have other books to read in 2016. 

I guess when it all comes down to it, this is a simple read with one job. Make people believe in their dreams – or personal legends. Live life to the fullest! Here are some quotes I know people will love because they are wonderful and exactly what people in a mid/quarter-life crisis need and want to hear.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”

“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

“When someone leaves, it’s because someone else is about to arrive.”

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

I think you get the point. These aren’t groundbreaking ideas. We’ve heard all of this a million times, but I digress. Maybe people love it because it’s expressed through a simple, everyday shepherd versus those who have already succeeded.

Anyways, read the book. See what you think. You’ll probably love it like everyone else. Who knows, right? I didn’t love it. I didn’t enjoy the first half at all. You might, though. Maybe I was in the wrong state of mind. I don’t know. I’m glad to have it off my 2016 reading list.

If you’ve read it, or are planning on reading it, please tell me what you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

2 thoughts on “The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

  1. Hahaha! I’m glad you were able to make it through this long and challenging book. :) It’s been many years since I’ve read it, but maybe I need to go check it out. If I recall, I was one of those people who loved it. Great blog – I enjoy your writing style!

    1. Oh thank you! Glad you enjoyed the review. I wanted to love it. I initially bought the book during my own quarter-life crisis and was disappointed. I don’t think I ever shook that original feeling when I picked it back up again last month.

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