Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, is one of those books you’ve seen a million times – in airport bookstores, on the subway, on your own shelves… At least, that’s how it seemed to me and yet, it took me until now to finally get around to reading it. Naturally, my expectations were high because of the book’s overwhelming popularity and longevity.

But to be honest, I was a little bit disappointed with this read. I anticipated a philosophical book with insightful or enlightening messages. And while certainly the book feels philosophical throughout, it’s primary message seems to be nothing more than the age-old “listen to your heart” (along with a few secondary messages that feel equally uninspired for me, like “follow your dreams”, “money isn’t everything”, and “love conquers all”).

I will say that I appreciated the accessibility of the language and the natural flow of the story, which combine to make the narrative fable-like in tone. It occurs to me that this might just be a book that found me at the wrong time in my life or in my reading journey, and I am at least glad that it seems to have resonated with so many readers who found it more inspiring than I.

What did you think of The Alchemist? Am I totally missing something? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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