After reading The Devil and Miss Prym, I had high expectations of The Alchemist. I was disappointed. It’s the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy who consults a palm reader and an elderly man after having a recurring dream. He is advised to travel to the pyramids in search of a treasure, and to fulfill his “personal legend”. The book’s message is a good one, to follow your dreams and listen to your heart. But the message is pointed out to the reader over and over again, which I found irritating. I agree that humans can get completely caught up in providing for their daily needs and comforts, forgetting to think about what they’re here for, and what’s important in life. But I didn’t agree entirely with Coelho’s view – he suggests that you must follow your dream whatever the cost, even leaving love behind because “you can always go back” – I don’t believe that is so. Sometimes, we need to make choices about what is truly important.
I’ve seen the book compared to The Little Prince but there is no comparison – The Little Prince is a wonderful book, in a different class entirely. My recommendation would be to read The Little Prince and The Devil and Miss Prym and forget about The Alchemist.