Book Review: The Alchemist

When people tell me that a book changed their life, I have to admit I’m always a little skeptical. But this time, the words came from a good friend, a friend whose judgment in books I absolutely trust. So when she suggested that I pick it up and give it a read, I decided to give it a chance. Besides, it’s an older book, and it’s tough to argue with something you can pick up off Amazon for a penny.

The Alchemist is a weird book.
It’s a whole lot of philosophy and a whole lot of self-help wrapped up in the guise of being fiction. But the characters all speak with the same voice, sharing the same universal wisdom, sharing the same deep insights to help the main character on his path. It struck me as odd, and sometimes bothered me a little (Especially with a very short, very summarized ending) but I remind myself that it’s not so much about the story, it’s about the journey. And not so much the journey the main character is on, but the spiritual journey he faces during its course.

It’s the kind of book that people either love or hate, but I find myself unsure what to think. I found it very inspirational, but at the same time, it didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t already know, just maybe reminded me of a few things I’d forgotten. It’s rich in metaphor, with observations about daily life that are so poignant they sometimes hit me like a smack in the face. It didn’t take long for me to see what my friend meant when she said the book changed her life, and while I did find it encouraging, myself, I thought it was at times a little repetitive and overblown with the delivery of its message.

Either way, I can see how valuable it would have been to me several years ago, before I had my feet firmly on the path I knew was right for me, and I passed the book on to one of my younger sisters, who I feel may be able to extract a great deal from it. It’s likely an excellent read for those who are lost in their lives or don’t feel they’re making progress. For me, it served as a good reminder that even though I don’t always feel like I’m moving forward, everything I’m doing is helping to propel me toward my goals. But nothing is easy, nothing is free, and getting what you really want in life means a lot of time, a lot of determination, and a lot of hard work.

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