The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist CoverThe Alchemist was a novel that I had been greatly anticipating for some time, given the glowing reviews it received from friends of mine, so it comes with heavy disappointment to say that I didn’t love this book. I will say that parts of the story really spoke to me, but those parts were few and rather far between.

It came as a surprise that this was the case, especially given the subject matter and themes introduced in this novel. I can completely relate to the notion of fate aligning to help you achieve your Personal Legend, as the author presents it. The trouble arose, for me, with the author’s extreme lack of subtlety in the presentation, inspiring as the message is. The author took a story that contains many mysterious elements and somehow stripped them of their intrigue, taking us by the hand as we attempt to explore the spiritual landscape. Things improved immensely to me when we finally get to meet the alchemist. (Yes, there is an alchemist and he does show up. Spoilers.) I feel that this was the only point of the story in which the mystical does occur and the reader is really given time to consider meanings and implications before those implications are explicitly presented.

All this being said, I can vividly see why The Alchemist has been appealing to so many, with its inspirational journey being presented in an unchallenging, but competent, manner. It just wasn’t for me.