(Book) “The Alchemist” Review

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


Considering the fact that the book was seen with Bill Clinton, it must be a fairly amazing work, right? Well, some of you may agree that Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” is an inspirational and motivating masterpiece, but some of you may just view it as an overly-idealistic book of chasing your dreams. To be frank, I believe the book is nice, but nowhere near the prestige it has been commented to possess.

“The Alchemist” tells the story of an Andalusian young man named Santiago, who decides that he would like to explore about the world, and his father gives him enough money to buy him a flock of sheep, all in order to prove to him that he will come to believe that his village is the best place in the entire continent. Sadly, Santiago never goes back home, and his parents do not seem to care; during his travel, he dreams about finding a treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. After much thought, he decides to work his way to gain some money and make it to Egypt to discover the treasure in his dreams.

The book is basically about Santiago’s misfortunes of encountering con-artists and bandits, also including his impressive persistence and wit to be successful enough to be able to cross the desert and reach Egypt. The primary focus of the book is Santiago’s self-doubt, decision making, and his faith; believing on the words that the entire universe will conspire to help him achieving the thing that he really wants, Santiago manages to be extraordinarily insistent in finding his treasures, although naturally, there are times when he decides to abandon his quest, and this happens for quite a few times throughout the book.


We are going to the Pyramids! Source: http://www.thelawofattraction.org/the-alchemist/

The fact that Santiago’s endeavor to pursue his dream wavers from time to time is certainly able to interpreted as one’s constant indecisiveness over the choices they have to make in life; be it in deciding which school to go, what kind of job to take, or even relationship dilemmas. Santiago’s flow of thought is realistic enough most of the time, considering his status and the era he lives in, and that is certainly a good thing because it does not create a notion of complete irrationality for the readers.

However, the main problem of “The Alchemist” in my opinion is the fact that there are fantasy elements in the book; the book starts out in a rather realistic manner, and even during the development towards the later story-segments, the amount of realism is still more dominant compared with the fantasy ones. Sure, there are dream-readings and omens which come true, but we can still find those things accurate from time to time (I’m not an avid believer of those, by the way :|); but, things like s******g to the sun and wind and actually have them t**k back to you? That’s just too overwhelming for me (I won’t directly type those ‘censored’ words to avoid major spoilers). No, I am not condemning that, but when things are solved all of sudden because of that, it makes the ‘problem-building’ segments somehow pointless as it results in an unsatisfactory resolution, at least for me.

Aside from that, though, I find “The Alchemist” worth the read, considering its short length, except if you are not an individual believing in spiritual things such as omen and many more abstract concepts that can guide you in life. If you are a person who believes those to a certain degree, though, “The Alchemist” may probably be the book that makes you keep on chasing your dream and make it a reality.

Rating from me: 3/5

This is a book with numerous mixed opinions; what do you think of it?


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