A review of The Alchemist

Okay I know this website is incredibly haphazard right now. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t use it for a long time and then you’re also trying to explore new things … and, well, this is the place that feels most natural to put these things. For 2019 one of my goals is to read 30 books. I also want to start writing book reviews, because 1. I never get to talk about books, 2. it will be a good way to keep me on my goal, and 3. I just want to practice writing something that I’ve had never interacted with previously.

So here we go, my very first book review ever, a review of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

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Long story short, I absolutely adored this one. It’s a bit obvious in its metaphor, sure, and reads very much like a children’s book, but sometimes the deepest human truths are best explained simply. The story follows Santiago, a shepherd who has a dream about a treasure—his personal legend—and sets out on a grand adventure to fulfill it. What I found especially comforting about the book was the idea of connectedness between all living things through all time; how when we listen with our hearts we learn the language by which all living things speak, and through understanding this language, we learn the soul of God—and we learn that we are a part of God’s soul. And that time truly is nonlinear, that there are rare moments we can tap into the collective unconscious of all living history and use it to guide us through this life.

For maybe about three years now I’ve been thinking about this concept, the connectivity of everything in the universe, how creation communicates with and mimics the beauty of God, and how humans are also a part of that too. I often feel I’m pretty alone in my beliefs because they are a strange mix of Christianity, Buddhism, and Socialism (and nonlinear time) and I, so far, haven’t known anyone else to really quite believe what I believe. But reading a book that pretty beautifully portrays my own worldview, and one that is so highly acclaimed, is really warming.

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Yeah, don’t really have much to say negatively about this book. It’s so delightful and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read it, but also I think it came to me at the perfect time in my life. This will be one of those books that I read over and over again for the rest of my life. I highly recommend that everyone read this book. It’s a very easy read—I finished it in two days—and I think there is something in it that every person can take and apply to their own journey. To finish off, I just wanted to share a couple of my favorite passages:

‘Hunches,’ his mother used to call them. The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.
— page 76-77
‘Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.’
— page 134

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