K's Reviews > The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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's review
Mar 15, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: maybe-it-s-me
Recommended for: fans of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"

As I read this, my idealistic and cynical sides battled fiercely. What a beautiful, inspirational fable in simple language, my idealistic side said. What simplistic and facile crap, my cynical side said. I really couldn't decide, and having finished it, I'm still going back and forth.

This book reminded me a lot of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." It was a fable about a young boy who has a dream and pursues it against the odds. Various nuggets of wisdom are dispensed along the way by people he meets and by his own inspiration. Sometimes these nuggets of wisdom resonated with me; other times I rolled my eyes and groaned.

In its favor, the book is a quick and easy read, and the message of following your dreams at all costs has a lot of emotional appeal. However, if we allow ourselves to think practically, what would happen to the world if everyone adopted this message and sacrificed for their dreams? Do dreams ever steer you wrong? What about all the people who think they are "following their personal legend," only to come up against a dead end? At what point do you give up and say, I've sacrificed too much and am probably not going to realize this dream, or if I do, it may not prove to be worth it? Naturally, the book didn't acknowledge this possibility.

On the whole, I would say that if you're curious about this book, it's worth reading because it doesn't require a lot of effort or time and is thought-provoking, at least.
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05/26/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Schwartz You know, I read JLS when I was so young. Sometimes you have to grow up -- but I will look this up the next time I go to the library, since maturity was never my thing!

message 2: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K I'm eager to hear what you think!

rivka I'm with your cynical side.

message 4: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K The older I get, the stronger that cynical side gets!

rivka Ditto, to be sure.

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