Published by HarperCollins on 1988
Genres/Lists: Classics, Diverse, Fiction
Read synopsis on Goodreads
Buy the book: Amazon/Audible (this post includes affiliate links)
This book has been on my to-read shelf for a good number of years and I finally got around to reading it at the recommendation of a classmate. Short and filled with life lessons, I can understand why The Alchemist is an international bestseller and has a worldwide following of its “teachings.” This type of book was probably pretty exciting back when it was published in 1988 but in today’s age of spiritual bestsellers (The Secret, Eat, Pray Love, etc.), the concept of a spiritual journey was a little tired.
The Alchemist is about a young shepherd named Santiago who meets a king and sets off to fulfill his personal legend. Armed with two stones and the money he made from selling his sheep, Santiago heads for the Pyramids. Of course, no spiritual journey would be complete without some roadblocks and interesting characters, and The Alchemist stays right on target. We learn about treasuring the moment and things coming full circle, both of which are tried and true life lessons central to any fictional book about a spiritual journey. Although the lessons were redundant, the writing was amazing. Lyrical and poetic, Coehlo makes the reader feel as if they are on the ground with Santiago, living and learning alongside him. His impeccable writing style, luckily, trumps the overused life lessons.
So, do I recommend this book? Yes. Take my review with a grain of salt, because I’m while I found myself saying, “blah, blah, blah,” to some of the life lessons, it’s also a great story that’s written really well. I can also appreciate that, at the time of its writing in 1988, the concept of seeking your personal legend in another country was not as popular as it is today. So, if you keep those two things in mind or love reading the tried and true journey of self-awareness, then you’ll probably love this book.