Author: Paulo Coelho
Total pages: 170
Total approximate words: 43000
The first time I read this book, I was younger. Perhaps in my mid twenties. Even though I was still an avid reader then, I could not really comprehend much of what the author wanted to communicate to the reader. Seven years later, I have a relatively different perspective about everything in general around me, which I think is the reason why I have comprehended ‘The Alchemist’ differently this time.
To begin with, it is not a fiction, neither it is a full blown self help book. It is somewhere in between. If you have read ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ , you probably know what I am implying to here.
The story has various characters, but no names. Each character meets the other for a purpose that they both have to fulfill in order to continue the journey of their ‘life’s purpose’, which Coelho calls as their ‘personal legend’.
The central character is a young boy who is in search of a treasure in a far away land. Throughout his journey, he is met with beautiful people who liked, loved and encouraged him to continue his pursuit, but he also met with many others who were crooks, who stole from him, beat him, threatened him, and even laughed at his endeavor. At the end however, he did find out the treasure, which ironically wasn’t where he thought it was at the first place! But he also discovered that he wouldn’t have known the real place of the hidden treasure if he didn’t make that journey, so far away from his home, and so far away from the treasure itself!
The Alchemist, is more of a fable than a story. It tries to teach certain principles of life, that perhaps gets sidetracked in the whole rush of fitting in.
If you are into self help books, but you don’t really like reading the same old style ‘motivational’ books, then The Alchemist could be a breath of fresh air for you!
I personally have grown out of reading non fictions, other than memoirs, however for a perspective change from time to time, I don’t mind reading this book again! May be in another seven years from now.
Despite it being a best seller for decades, I would rate this book a 6.5 for its overall appeal, from a reader’s perspective.