Best Books Ever: A 'The Alchemist' Book Review
This book was given to me as a present two years before I even had the chance to dive into it. Yes, it took me that long before I even started on the book, and you must know I regret every second I wasted letting this book pass. I immensely love this book. And I am not kidding when I tell you all that this book, all of it, had been the ultimate reverser of my life. I inspired me truly to the degree that I feel guilty about doing this book review because I’m pretty sure this might appear very biased to some or I might not do the book justice if I describe it through my own words. However, a news about a good book must be spread regardless of what circumstances, so here I still am, reviewing this book.
The Alchemist is possibly Paulo Coelho’s most popular book. Originally written in Portuguese (as what is the case with every Paulo Coelho book), it’s now been translated into over 56 various languages and has sold over 65 million copies, making it one of the bestselling books in history.
The book follows the story of the Andalusian shepherd Santiago whose dreams have been recurring that, believing dreams behaving in this manner carry prophetic meanings, he consulted a gypsy fortuneteller to figure out their meaning. He finds out that this dream is telling him to pursue the Egyptian pyramids for the treasure within them he’s fated to possess. In his journey, he encounters the king Melchizedek who suggests he sell his sheep to get to Egypt. He was warned of good and bad omens he will encounter in his journey. The philosophy of Personal Legends was also conveyed to him by this king, which stands as the essential principle borne by the book. Upon reaching northern Africa, however, a thief robs him of all of his money, and having sold all of his sheep, he ha now to find a way to get back home. This employment allows him to carry on his journey to Egypt. Along the way, Santiago meets an Englishman who intends to learn alchemy from the esteemed alchemist. In the oasis where their caravan has to halt due to the warfare barring them from continuing their journey, Santiago strikes up a romance with a girl named Fatima. It wasn’t long ‘til he meets the alchemist, who offers to cross the desert with him to Egypt where his real treasures await him.
Paulo Coelho’s way of writing is simple that’s why his stories are almost at once engaging. Also, his books don’t require profound thinking that a reader finds himself instantly comprehending the events in the story and the wisdom it tries to communicate. The story stands as simple yet never fails to be interesting. No sophisticated literary devices bloat the book. Quotable quotes also swarm the book, so for those who are having consecutive bad days, this book must be bought at once. A lot of people had already owned to being changed by the book, including me. Now I live with an ounce more optimism than when I was still to read the book that, like what I said, I hate myself for not plunging into the book at once the instant I got it. It’s very enjoyable to read (the book will last only a couple of hours ‘til it’s done) and will definitely make you want more books from its author.
However, I think the field Coelho was yet to develop in his writing when he was constructing this book was how he forms his characters. The characters in the book were hard to picture, owing to the fact that Coelho doesn’t seem to focus on this aspect, and were also hard to empathize with. Also, with regards to the lesson that the book is packed of, Coelho’s wisdom is known to be superficial and lacks strong elaboration. The same wisdom is evident here that it won’t surprising for serious philosophers to just laugh this book off. It’s like the book just wants to motivate readers, and without even making sure the readers were already persuaded, just leaves some of them unconvinced. I also disapprove of the ending the book brought its readers. Others find it satisfying though, but I think it did need a grander ending considering it’s a grand book. Also, the title for me should not be the way it’s titled. Although the alchemist in the story did play a huge role in the character development of the protagonist, I felt that the alchemist didn’t really have enough “power” on the story (meaning he wasn’t that powerful that you’re convinced he stirs the happenings in the story) and it might have been better if the book was simply entitled “The Shepherd” or something else.
The Alchemist is one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read. Chances are you’ll find it hard to turn your attention away from it once you begin reading. And when that ending is reached, chances are too that you’ll find yourself joyful somehow that this sort of book crossed your path. Read it and you’ll never know disappointment. Read it and prepare to be changed for the rest of your life.