Now, for years I have been hearing about what a great book this is and the universal truths that it proclaims, so in 2011, I decided to read it and see what all the shouting was about. I read it, and I'm still wondering. In my estimation, the book was nothing but dreck. What am I missing? Did you read and love this book? What was it that you loved about it? Please explain it to me.
I wrote a review of the book for Goodreads when I read it in May 2011. Here is that review.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Just a few pages into this book, I thought, "Aha! The Celestine Prophecy all over again!" In other words, a bunch of pretentious claptrap masquerading as a path to spiritual enlightenment. My second thought was, "Why am I reading this?"
Well, it was curiosity really. I kept seeing references to the book, many of them reverential, and I wanted to see what all the clamor was about. Now that I have slogged my way through the book (at least it was short) I understand its popularity even less.
Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd, has a Dream which he interprets as a Vision of his Personal Legend in which he will contact the Soul of the World. (One of the most annoying things about the book is its capricious capitalization of words.) Anyway, this "boy" as he is referred to throughout the book sells his sheep and heads out on a quest to find a treasure buried near the pyramids in Egypt. In his travels, he meets several enigmatic characters who seem to know what he is about and who help him on his way. The last one that he meets is the alchemist who accompanies him on the last leg of his trip as he approaches the pyramids.
I realize that I read the book in translation and perhaps one should be careful of judging a book too harshly when that is the case, but this book is written in an extraordinarily simplistic "See Dick. See Jane. See Spot." style. Short sentences. Short words. Parables right out of the Bible. Truly, if I want to read those parables, why would I not go to the source?
I am afraid my Spirit remains Unenlightened.
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