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Book Review of the Alchemist

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho: Book Review

THE ALCHEMIST BOOK REVIEW:- Are you one of those who do not read much often but your friend recommended you to read “The Alchemist” and now you’re wondering whether you should or should not? How the book will be? Will you like it or not? Well, leave all your questions here because all of those will be answered soon. This post is the review of the book “The Alchemist”. Not just a review, but a lot more.

The Alchemist is one of the very few books that have spent over 300 weeks on the New York Times best seller book’s list. So it definitely has something about it which has compelled readers all over the world (about 65 million till now and counting) to find out what lies behind the pages of this book. The book has proven itself to be life changing for many while others think the book is a complete hokum.

Reading The Alchemist has been a life changing experience- not just for me but I’m sure for a lot of my fellows whom I don’t even know. And it had to be.

So, read this article till the end to know whether The Alchemist is the book you should be reading or not. Is The Alchemist worth your time or not? Here are all the things you need to know before you decide whether or not you want to read “The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho”. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers ahead!

The Alchemist [General Overview]

The Alchemist, published way back in 1988 is written by Mr. Paulo Coelho- the man who is ruling spiritual literature for quite a while now. The book was originally written in Portuguese but now holds the record for being translated into 80 languages while selling over 65 million copies!

Is it a secret that it took only 2 weeks for the author to write ‘The Alchemist’? The author made this revelation himself in 2009 saying-

“The book was already written in my soul.” – Paulo Coelho

I would not doubt him for even a second. Sometimes, somethings just come from within, The Alchemist being just one example.

The Alchemist- Basic Plot/Summary Of The Book

What does “The Alchemist” mean?

In a literal sense; An alchemist is a person who is capable of changing something from one form to another or creating something through a process which seems to be magical, in short a person who can perform the art of alchemy.

Coming to the book now.

The story of the book ‘The Alchemist‘ revolves around a Spaniard shepherd who’s name is Santiago, also referred to as “the boy” in the book. Santiago keeps getting a recurring dream about huge amount of treasures that are deep set in the pyramids of Egypt and like most of us, he decides to follow his dreams and look for the treasure that lie there and fulfil his personal legend-the purpose of his life but, after abandoning everything he had.

While describing his dream to a wanderer, or as the term used in the book- gypsy, in the beginning of the book, Santiago tells him that a child appears in his dream and asks him to come there, to the Egyptian pyramids in order to find the treasure. But as the child is about to tell him the exact location of the treasure, he wakes up, leaving a final destination a mystery for him.

Santiago begins his journey from Spain, crossing the Sahara and Mediterranean to find the treasure unaware of what other plans the fate already had for him. The Alchemist is a detailed description of Santiago’s journey from the beginning to where he wants to go and find his treasures.

The journey of the boy from Spain to the final point on its own, is complete. However, it plays a crucial role in helping the boy reach to his ‘treasure’.

And when I say journey, I don’t mean just moving across a few places and station and reaching up to a final place. I mean journey- as a whole. The journey which Santiago takes to Egypt in order to follow his dreams- both in literal and metaphorical senses.

Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up.

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The Alchemist – What do I feel about the book?

The book has a line that is also repeatedly used in the book and I quote-

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

The Alchemist

When you think about it, this quote is so much beyond its mere words. This is what the boy also kept reminding himself throughout the journey to find his treasure.

I personally feel when you actually want something very strongly, there is so much more to it than just wanting it. Sure, to want something with great desire and dedication do fills you up with motivation to achieve it, but just thinking about it is not going to do any good to it.

Coming to The Alchemist, the book is a very short read for what I call “binge readers” that can be completed in one sitting of around 4.5 to 7 hours or depending upon your pace.

The Alchemist is written in a very simple and peaceful manner not troubling the reader with fancy words and is a very simple read. Although, the thing to keep in mind while you read this book is to look beyond what is written by the author and printed on the pages.

There is a tinge of spirituality sprinkled on considerable pages of the book but to understand it deeply, one’s mind has to do a little exercise. Otherwise, the book would just remain some pages with meaningless text. The monk who sold his Ferrari is also one of these books that has a tinge of spirituality and has a lot to teach.

What to take away from “The Alchemist”?

Now this is tricky because everyone has their own interpretations of just a single thing and needless to say, the same goes with the book. You and I, both will perceive from the book, to the best of our abilities and what we want to- the most.

But to generalize, you can definitely take this away with you- What you want, what you need and what is meant to be is right there with you, at the same place where you stand and in that very moment. All you have to do is to make proper use of it to get the best out of it.

What would I rate the book?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I would give this overall book a solid 4/5 stars rating.

Should you read The Alchemist?

One word- Definitely!

I personally recommended this book to one of my friends who was struggling to pick out what book to read and guess what? The recommendation turned out to be a happy one.

The Alchemist is a spiritual, quest, magic realism, fantasy literature and (sort of) a self help book. So, if you liked “The Pilgrimage” by Paulo Coelho, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini or any other similar books, you will definitely be into this book too.

Also, you can thank me in the comments for not giving any SPOILERS!

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