Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Alchemist

I was predisposed to dislike The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was so overhyped a few years ago, and I new it had to do with alchemy and the Philosopher's Stone and I honestly thought it was some sort of adult Harry Potter rip off. So why I picked it up at a library book sale, I don't know. But I had a nice surprise once I started reading!

The Alchemist

First of all, the book was actually written in 1988 and first pubilshed in English in 1993. So I was clearly way off base with the Harry Potter comment! Oops. And while it received newfound popularity here in the U.S. just a few years ago, he was doing fine before then.

It's also not really about alchemy. The whole book is more of an allegory than a novel, and alchemy represents using your dream to turn a regular life into a great one. I did feel the book was inspirational, and I loved the first half of it. But, then I got bored. I don't really enjoy allegory, and I got really annoyed by the words Personal Legend. They appeared approximately 298 times in the slight 167 pages.

There was a quote I thought was awesome though: "[E]very day was the same, and when each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."

How great of a quote is that? And it relates to what I did like about the book - the idea of pursuing your dreams and valuing your opportunities. And yet overall it just fell flat. Part of it may have been the overly simplified writing style, which was very monotonous. That may be a translator issue, but it still bothered me.
So, overall, it wasn't a terrible book, but it didn't really grab me either. I'm glad I read it, but it's going in the sell to Half-Priced Books pile.

1 comment:

  1. Theoretically I own this book, but it has been missing since I moved almost two years ago. . . based on your review, I won't rush out and get another copy from the library. Liked your comment about the 168 mentions of "Personal Legend." Hmpf!