Book Review: By Mariela Reiss
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
It is hard to believe that The Alchemist was originally published in 1988, the year I graduated high school. But this timeless book as sold 65 million copies, and with good reason. The subtitle is “A Fable about Following Your Dream” and it is just that. A fable about listening to your heart and following your dreams.
It is a quick read at 161 pages. It is a deceptively simple story about a Spanish shepherd boy named Santiago, who decides to leave his comfortable life in Andalucía and to risk all to achieve his dreams. His journey takes him across sea and desert, where he meets several characters, including the mysterious Alchemist. The characters he meets all have dreams of their own, and either pursue their dreams or don’t. But the central question is: will the boy keep pursuing his dream and find the treasure he seeks? And will the universe support him in his quest?
Long after I had finished this book, the point that struck me was this: the boy had to go on the journey of a lifetime in order to find the treasure under his own nose. But without the journey, the treasure would have meant nothing. And what he gained from the journey was so much more than he had been looking for. I believe life is like that, which is why Paulo Coelho (a Brazilian author who originally wrote this book in Portuguese) has struck a chord with so many across 61 languages and 27 years.
In my opinion, it is a book worth reading because it will make you think about your own dreams and your life’s journey.