Monday, June 8, 2009

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of those books that you read when you are ready to read it. I was lucky enough to receive the book as a gift last year from my friend, Ren.

The story follows a Shepard who is told by a Gypsy to travel to the pyramids in order to find a great treasure. Along the way he meets a King, a Merchant, an Englishman and an Alchemist. He learns things from everyone he meets on his journey and yes, the smybolism is very blatantly intentional. At the center of all this is the message about finding your own personal legend. The question is: after you find it, are you willing to live it? Or simply dream about it.

The Alchemist is a hard review to do because on one hand the book is so blatently an allegory, but on the other that allegory speaks to everyone in a different way. I guess I would sum it up as a life lesson in book form. It could have been accomplished with a few sage words I'm sure, but its important to read the entire book so you can walk away with the full effect.

Another book which accomplishes the same task is Dan Millman's Peaceful Warrior. I feel like the two are brothers in the literary world. One being a little more formal and delicate in its message while the other sort of approaches you with a barrage of tiny stories and bits of advice jammed into one solid book.

All that being said, I really can't give this book a fair review, because in order to understand it you have to read it. And you have to be ready to read it. An excellent book, however, I would recommend it to anyone who is in search of their own personal legend.


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