[The Alchemist]: A Review

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all! I took an unplanned blogging hiatus while visiting family the last few weeks, so it’s been a while. It was unplanned but just what I needed!

Luckily, I caught up on my reviews just before leaving on vacation. There’s something wonderful about catching up on reviews–I was so proud! And here we are again with a few more. That’s what I get for a never ending reading list, right? 🙂

Today I am really excited to share my thoughts on The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. This book has been on my TBR for a while now. I have heard so many great things about it. And I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself.

I was blown away by this book! It wasn’t what I expected, and I think I could read it 100 more times and get something new out of it each time. The story is simple–the journey of Santiago to find his personal mission. But the depths of meaning in his experiences and the people he interacts with are endless. Wow, so much depth and so much simplicity!

Initial Thoughts:

  • I love that this is a translation. I didn’t know that Coelho was Brazilian, but I love that reading this book widened the scope of my reading on a global level.
  • The edition I read from my library included a introduction from the author about the writing process and publication history of The Alchemist. I enjoyed hearing about Coelho’s journey to success with this novel. Also, I appreciated that he rereads this book because it continues to have personal meaning for him.
  • This is a quick read. The story is simple and easy to follow. I think it would also be a great book to read out loud.
  • You better believe this novel jumped to the top of my list to find at Half Price Books the next time we are there. Definitely a novel I want to own!

the-alchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho chronicles the journey of Santiago, a shepherd who seeks treasure in the pyramids of Egypt. Goodreads summarizes, “Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.”

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

One of the highlights of this book is the beautiful language. Coelho creates a gorgeous tapestry through his words. This isn’t just a novel about what is happening in the plot. It is also about the words, the emotions. It’s about finding yourself and your purpose within the world. The lyrical, descriptive language gives readers an experience, not just a story. It makes you think deeply and broadly about your own life. In fact, I believe the language transports readers into a similar story, a similar journey of self discovery and seeking our own personal missions.

For me, it’s hard to talk about the plot of this novel because it seems secondary to the beautiful moral. Yes, there is a plot. There are even some surprising plot twists. But what seems more important are the words and the language. It’s more about the potential for greatness and finding meaning in life. It’s about personal missions and connecting with the universe and with God. Those beautiful themes come through in the language. I wanted to underline every word in the book. So many captivating and complex quotes that really resonated with me. 

Santiago goes on a truly compelling spiritual and physical journey. The scope of this novel is impressive–going over several years in several places. I appreciated the ways Santiago gained knowledge and experience in the crystal shop, as a shepherd, at the oasis, and traveling with the Alchemist. Every place, time, and person were intentional. Every detail felt important. Again, I want to reread it again and again to contemplate how more of those details fit together. I loved the way things connected and linked through the story. And I loved the multiple layers of connection.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

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

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

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Best of all, I loved the beautiful message of hope and discovery in this novel. I can’t claim to completely understand the intricacies of the language of the world or how to interact with the soul of the world or even just the wind. But the essence of the novel really touched me. The focus on finding personal missions and fulfilling them is so simple and also so meaningful. Following his personal mission changes Santiago’s life in important ways. He learns more about the world, matures as a man, develops his talents, finds love and fulfillment in his life. The same can happen for any reader of this book.

 This book can truly change your life like I feel it changing mine. It’s a book that shares a message that shifts for each reader, and even for the same reader each time it’s read. It’s a story of hope, understanding, love, sacrifice, self discovery, and change. A gorgeous book that I look forward to reading again!

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Have you read The Alchemist? What do you think?

3 thoughts on “[The Alchemist]: A Review

  1. Pingback: March Wrap-Up and April TBR – greenish bookshelf

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