Saturday Read: The Alchemist
After plowing through “The Lost Symbol” last week, I was looking for something a tad shorter to read. Scanning my bookshelf, my eyes fell on a tiny sliver of a novel that my mom gave me years ago. She and many others have praised the book to me, so I decided that I would give it a go.
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho is already considered a classic. Despite the fact that it was only published in 1988 (1994 in English!), many readers have been captivated by “The Alchemist” and it has somewhat of a cult following. You don’t know how many times I have heard “Everyone should read this!” when a customer stumbles upon it at my bookstore. And you know what? They are absolutely right.
Similarly to “The Little Prince” (one of my favs!), “The Alchemist” is a short, simple story with a deep, profound lesson. It begins with the main character, who is only ever referred to as “the boy” in Andalusia. He is a modest shepherd, but through a course of strange events, he decides to travel to Egypt to find treasure that he believes is buried at the pyramids. Along the way, this boy meets several people who influence his journey, including, but not limited to, a gypsy woman, a crystal salesman, a woman of the desert and, of course, an alchemist. The boy is also taught to listen to omens, which speak to him and help guide him to his treasure.
However, it is not the story that is of importance in “The Alchemist.” It is the beautiful lesson that Coelho teaches through this story. Coelho proclaims that everyone on Earth has a Personal Legend, but few ever discover what this legend is and fewer fulfill it. He urges readers to be aware and passionate, living life to the fullest, while working towards their Personal Legend. A charming twist at the end teaches yet another lesson (but I won’t spoil it!).
I found “The Alchemist” to be an extremely inspiring and eye-opening novel. Rarely can a book make you re-evalute your existence as a human being, but Coehlo has achieved this feat. I guarantee that “The Alchemist” will get you thinking about your purpose on this Earth and what you really want to do with your life. With so many college students confused about their life and their path, “The Alchemist” is the perfect read for this age. Some guidance from wise Coelho and some self-reflection are all you need to get yourself back on track!