Book Review: The Alchemist
This book was handed to me by a mentor/friend of mine when I was at a low point in my life. I had just lost a job I loved and to make the situation worst, it was due to politics at work. I was young with my dreams crushed and downtrodden because I was so badly treated by people more experienced than me. Probably judging by my constant frowning and complaining, my mentor who was kind of a best friend at the time bought "The Alchemist" and gifted to me with a sweet card. I accepted it knowing I won’t read it because I was so angry.
After my summer abroad in Costa Rica that year, I felt better enough to reevaluate my life and take active steps to improve it. So, my journey began with reading this book.
There is no doubt that Paulo Coelho (the author) was influenced by "The Little Prince". My book review for that treasure is here. The plot is the same. A jaded, young man in need of some purpose and meaning meets mysterious individuals who teach him about the dichotomy and inconsistencies of the world. The writing is very simple but dazzles its readers with its inspiring wisdom. The protagonist is an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the pyramids. Along the way he meets many personalities, including a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist. All of them teach something about life and point Santiago in the direction of his not so noble quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles to reach it. But, what Coelho does is take his readers through a journey which starts with a purpose to find worldly goods then turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.
The readers can’t help but discover their own dreams and intentions as Santiago goes through his reflection periods. I remember cheering and praying for Santiago to find himself the whole time I was reading this book.
What it taught me:
After reading this novel, I was convinced that I don’t always know what is best for me and that God has other and better plans that are revealed only when we are ready to put in the work and accept them as blessings. I learned that to find one’s destiny is an obligation of that individual to lead a full and purposeful life.
This simply written book reaches into the core of human emotions as they wander and roam aimlessly to find meaning in life. It is when we live our life completely without fear and release all control and let the universe do its thing that we become one with the light of God. Now, in my thirties, this lesson taught has become tried and true numerous times.
I hope my readers, especially those who feel they want to start on a spiritual path should read this book. The Alchemist will offer them a new perspective that the new age self-help books (which so many believe in) try to inculcate in us. Except it’s not hard facts or prose, but prose written in a poetic manner. Happy Reading!