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Review: THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho

By Appraisingpages @appraisjngpages

Although I have read Paulo Coelho before (see my review of his book VERONICA DECIDES TO DIE here), I had really only read him because the goddess Sarah Michelle Gellar (or SMG, as she’s reverently known in our house) was in the movie adaptation.  I really enjoyed his beautiful writing so when THE ALCHEMIST was recommended to me by my second husband, Jeremy, I didn’t hesitate to purchase it when I found it at a local used bookstore (bam!)
alchemist 3Here is the synopsis from its Goodreads page:

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is such a book With over a million and a half copies sold in Latin America and Europe, The Alchemist has already achieved the status of a modern classic. Now this charming fable has been translated into English to enchant and inspire an even wider audience for years to come.

Here is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers into the Egyptian desert where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him.

This is a story that teaches us, as only few stories can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above, all follow our dreams.

This book is beautiful from cover to cover.  It was very different from Veronika Decides to Die which I actually really like.  There are some authors (*cough cough* Gayle Forman *cough cough*) who fail to impress when you read many of their works because you discover that everything is the same, only the characters and and setting change. Veronika Decides to Die was a vivid story told with rich detail while The Alchemist was much more simple in nature because it was the themes that stood out.


The simple nature of the storytelling allowed for some great stand-out quotes.  I’ve found many sources that compare The Alchemist to The Little Prince by Saint-Exupery and they are not wrong.  The quotes are sometimes poignant, always concise, and very inspiring.  alchemist 2

If you are open to storylines that serve the purpose of a lesson (like a fable) then this book is for you, if you only enjoy novels that are the other way around, I wouldn’t suggest this book.  It’s not very long, it could probably be read in an afternoon or evening.  It’s a lovely read, one that doesn’t take much commitment but sticks with you and feels very “good” to read.

Have you read The Alchemist or The Little Prince?  Do you enjoy books that are more fable or lesson than story?

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