The Alchemist

Spoilers Ahead! 

I heard about a beautiful and spiritual book by Paulo Coelho called The Alchemist, so I decided to pick it and read it. It was a short read which I got from the library, and I’m really happy I decided to get it at the library because I would’ve regretted paying any amount of money for such a horrible book.

To start, the style of writing is trying way too hard to make this book what it’s definitely not. The writing is one which resembles an epic, simply calling the protagonist ‘the boy’ instead of his name or anything else. It felt almost condescending as if referring to the readers as stupid while spouting an idiotic moral. The message of the novel is that the world will help you out if you listen to your heart and follow your dreams. A message that would certainly appeal to young kids, it makes for a boring and uneventful story for anyone else. This wannabe self-help book is not worth the time to read. There’s much better and much more inspirational books out there.

The story begins with this oh-so-awesome boy who is a shepherd and he wants to go to Egypt because something other worldly is calling him there. So after listening to a fortune-teller he does what anyone sane would do: sell everything, leave his entire family, not make any plans, and go. While wanderlust is a perfectly fine trait, his lack of planning and belief the universe will help him out regardless of any problem he faces is utterly stupid. Though, that’s exactly what happens: “the heart/soul of the world” gives him supernatural powers when he faces adversity and everything works out for him just because he knew if his heart wanted it, it would come. He conjured up a sandstorm to fight off bandits in the middle of the desert! But didn’t those bandits really want those treasures? Maybe for one of them it would be his big break to leave the life of robbery behind. Looks like the “heart of the world” picks teams.

Also there is only one woman character in the book that he meets while traveling in the desert. She loves him, he loves her, how perfect. However, he leaves her because he needs to go to Egypt to find the treasure in his dreams. What does she do? Apparently her destiny that the universe set out for her is to be a loyal wife and stay behind to wait for him in the desert! Wow, how great for him to find such a subservient woman. Why can’t she have other dreams? I mean, if she really wants anything else she’ll get it according to the main message in the book. She might as well dream of traveling too. But no, it’s the woman’s destiny to do chores, cook, and wait patiently for her man. She even says her place is in the tent they live in. Ugh… In the end of the book he doesn’t even go back to her, he returns to being a shepherd in his original home. He never writes her a letter or anything. So much love right there, eh? I guess his heart didn’t want it anymore. Too bad.

I consider myself spiritual, but the message of spirituality within this book was utter nonsense. Alongside a terrible writing style makes this book not even worthy of reading. It was very cliché with the ending being the treasure was within him all along, making his whole journey pretty pointless.

I’m so angry this book has so much praise. But hey, whatever floats your boat.


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