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The Alchemist

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

134 out of 146 people found this review helpful.

Although I feel that previous reviews will make mine look incomp

Although I feel that previous reviews will make mine look incompetent and childish, i still feel like putting my two cents in. This novel portrays Coelho's view on the meaning of life, that everyone has a preset dream and destination, but it is their choice to take the...
Although I feel that previous reviews will make mine look incompetent and childish, i still feel like putting my two cents in. This novel portrays Coelho's view on the meaning of life, that everyone has a preset dream and destination, but it is their choice to take the journey or not. Paul tells his story by using a shepherd boy that decides to follow his path to get to his destiny. the shepherd, Santiago, meets several people that open his eyes and show him why he has decided to do this.
What I liked about this book was the great imagery Coelho uses throughout the novel. Also, I love that this book is different than any others I have read. It takes you on a journey, not an adventure to slowly get the author's point across. You will feel yourself getting smarter and more adventurous as you read this book.
What i disliked about this book was that it is slow at points and gets a little monotonous, but if you keep pushing, it will all be well it.
I am only 14 and I have read this book 2 times. It makes you want to make sure you don't hold back in your life, that you achieve something amazing. Forget about the normal way of life. I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to read a book that will question the way you are living and will make you want to drop everything and go find your alchemist.

posted by pucketth on May 16, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

44 out of 80 people found this review helpful.

The Alchemist's Real Message

Although Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist conveys an uplifting message about the individual's potential for greatness, the novel's over-simplicity and dependence on a message of reassurance detract from the strength of this central theme and its pertinence to the human expe...
Although Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist conveys an uplifting message about the individual's potential for greatness, the novel's over-simplicity and dependence on a message of reassurance detract from the strength of this central theme and its pertinence to the human experience. Through the narrative of a young shepherd boy named Santiago, Coelho constructs the age-old story of an individual pursing a dream. However, what distinguishes Coelho's story from all the others is the bold universalization of this theme that he makes when he claims that, "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation." Now although this is certainly an empowering message, and one that contributes to the novel's widespread appeal, the underlying message of Coelho's feel-good story of Santiago's journey across continents in search of his "Personal Legend" should not be taken at face value. In spite of its apparent self-empowerment, Coelho's simplistic reduction of achievements to desires actually diminishes the individual's role in the pursuit of his or her Personal Legend. One concept that the young Santiago is taught before his quest even begins is that when in pursuit of a Personal Legend the entire universe aids one in achieving it. This message, central to the worldview that Coelho advances in the novel, would seem to be encouraging, but in fact it is highly misleading. To say that just because a person desires something it is within the realm of his or her possibilities to achieve it is in stark opposition to the facts of reality. A person does not realize his or her goals by the mere fact of experiencing hardships as Santiago is counseled to do under the banner of the adage that the world works in mysterious ways. Instead, one triumphs over trials and tribulations by means of one's efforts and abilities, not by a naïve reliance on fate and destiny. And it is for this reason that The Alchemist is not really a novel in praise of the individual's capacity for greatness, but one that denigrates this potential by devaluing the individual's role in influencing his or her own destiny. In all, if you are looking for a book that truly lifts your spirits and speaks to the true nature of your infinite possibilities, look elsewhere, you will not find it here. In The Alchemist all you will find is a striking fatalism hidden beneath the guise of one boy's quest for his Personal Legend.

posted by Alex_Ades on August 30, 2009

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  • Posted August 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Alchemist is Okay; not great

    This book was okay. I think the message of theis book is follow your dreams. I liked it; but I am not sure that I would recommend it. I enjoyed the imagery of The Alchemist. The story moved a bit slowly. It wasn't a page turner, but it wasn't a tough read either. The Alchemist is a nice fable;but, that's it.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    With all the hype I expected more.

    I expected this book to be a great read because of all the tremendous hype. I wanted to loved it, but I found it boring, empty, and repetitious; so I found myself skimming through page after page just to finish it.

    The book has some notable pages out a of nearly 200 pages. On numerous occasions the book tries to make the point that any person with what the book calls a "Personal Legend" can derive for themselves, from just living.

    The metaphors are empty, and repetitious. I found myself rolling my eyes every time I read a corny metaphor.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2011

    A must read

    The Alchemist is a fantastic book. It is better for older children and young adult. I recommend reading books by this author if you like older books. It is a very popular book and i would recommend it to the book club for discussion.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    Better for Older

    I read it for school. Pretty boring to people our age but good storyline. The ending couldve been better..

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Charming Perspective on Way of Life

    Charming little tale of fate, will, luck, & spiritual enlightenment. Symbolism galore with subtle religious references. Offers an insight into one's purpose on earth and reason to live, as well as urges others to discover their "personal legend".*

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Simple

    A lot of meaning packed within so little...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Good but lacking

    It's a good book written well. It just feels as though something is lacking from it. Like there should be a little more to it. It is thought provoking and somewhat inspiring. It is a quick read as well. It would be good for discussion groups and book clubs since it came with questions to discuss in the back of the book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Interesting Read, but Nothing Spectacular

    I enjoyed reading the book, but I don't believe in the author's philosophy, so that kind of made it a downer for me. I liked the story and the adventure that outlined it. If you aren't a religious person, you probably will finish the book having similar feelings to mine. The book is very religious. It constantly tells the reader, "If you truly want something, the world or universe will aspire to help you achieve it." So bottomline, the story was an intersting read, but the overabundance of religiousness, and the fact that I don't believe the author's philosophy for a second, just left me feeling like I'd wasted my time.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Life Changing

    Wonderfully Written.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2014

    Pleasant Reading

    This book is a pleasant read with good messages within the text. It is a short book and holds one's interest for adventure. The drawback is the anticlimatic ending leaving the reader with his own presumptions.

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  • Posted December 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It didn't blow me away This book has been on my to-read shelf f

    It didn't blow me away

    This book has been on my to-read shelf for a good number of years and I finally got around to reading it at the recommendation of a classmate. Short and filled with life lessons, I can understand why The Alchemist is an international bestseller and has a worldwide following of its “teachings.” This type of book was probably pretty exciting back when it was published in 1988 but in today’s age of spiritual bestsellers (The Secret, Eat, Pray Love, etc.), the concept of a spiritual journey was a little tired.




    The Alchemist is about a young shepherd named Santiago who meets a king and sets off to fulfill his personal legend. Armed with two stones and the money he made from selling his sheep, Santiago heads for the Pyramids. Of course, no spiritual journey would be complete without some roadblocks and interesting characters, and The Alchemist stays right on target. We learn about treasuring the moment and things coming full circle, both of which are tried and true life lessons central to any fictional book about a spiritual journey. Although the lessons were redundant, the writing was amazing. Lyrical and poetic, Coehlo makes the reader feel as if they are on the ground with Santiago, living and learning alongside him. His impeccable writing style, luckily, trumps the overused life lessons.




    So, do I recommend this book? Yes. Take my review with a grain of salt, because I’m while I found myself saying, “blah, blah, blah,” to some of the life lessons, it’s also a great story that’s written really well. I can also appreciate that, at the time of its writing in 1988, the concept of seeking your personal legend in another country was not as popular as it is today. So, if you keep those two things in mind or love reading the tried and true journey of self-awareness, then you’ll probably love this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    Was ok

    The lesson was pretty cliche yet something kept me reading till the end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Good book

    It was interesting an good but the ending could have been better

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    This was actually a very good book but having read Siddhartha be

    This was actually a very good book but having read Siddhartha before
    this i found it to be very similar but not as good. To anyone who found
    this awe inspiring Siddhartha is a must read

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  • Posted July 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho Plot: The Alchemist follows the j

    The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    Plot: The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. Santiago, believing a dream to be important, decides to travel to a gypsy in a nearby town to discover its meaning. She tells him that there is a treasure in the Egyptian Pyramids.

    Early into his journey, he meets an old king, Melchizedek, who tells him to sell his sheep to travel to Egypt, and his Personal Legend: what he always wanted to accomplish in his life. And that "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." This is the core philosophy and motto of the book.

    Along the way, he encounters love, danger, opportunity, disaster and learns a lot about himself and the ways of the world. During his travels, he meets a beautiful Arabian woman named Fatima who explains to him that if he follows his heart, he shall find what it is he seeks.

    Santiago then encounters a lone alchemist who tells about personal legends. He says that people only want to find the treasure of their personal legends but not the personal legend itself. He feels unsure about himself as he listens to the alchemist's teachings. The alchemist states "Those who don't understand their personal legends will fail to comprehend its teachings." It also states that treasure is more worthy than gold.

    Comments: One of the chief complaints lodged against the book is that the story, praised for its fable-like simplicity, actually is a fable–-a retelling of "The Ruined Man who Became Rich Again through a Dream" (Tale 14 from the collection of One Thousand and One Nights. Coelho, however, does not credit this source text anywhere in the book or in the preface, passing the story as an original work of fiction. Also the life story of Takkeci Ibrahim Aga who is believed to live in Istanbul during 1500s, has the same plot. Despite its international acceptance by critics, this book didn't enjoy the same reception in Brazil. It is believed that translators have improved the text, correcting the linguistic flaws of the original.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2012

    Quick read

    I should have purchased the full version, not the Anniversary Edition. A lot of special features were eliminated. Pictures, discussion questions and interview with the author.

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  • Posted February 26, 2012

    The Alchemist: An exhilarating tale of listening one's heart and following one's dreams

    The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, is a great story of a young boy, by the name of Santiago, who is on a voyage to discover his Personal Legend: travelling the world and discovering new things. In his adventures, Santiago faces many difficult situations which obstruct his path to obtaining his goal. However, Santiago is not easily deterred and knows that, while difficult, the path to discovering his Personal Legend will lead him to great success. By accepting the omens of fate, listening to his heart, and following his dreams, Santiago is well on his way to discover his Personal Legend and the true meaning of happiness that applies only to him. Overall, The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, is a fantastic read that emphasizes the art of obtaining a goal and that the true value of that goal comes, not from the treasure and rewards at the end, but from the knowledge and experience gained through the journey. It is a must-read book and is great for people who are looking to find themselves and fulfill their own Personal Legends.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful messages

    This book has many beautiful messages.

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Alchemist Lacks Chemistry

    I picked up THE ALCHEMIST because of all its critical acclaim. Years ago, I had read VERONIKA DECIDES TO DIE by the same author and enjoyed it, so I was already familiar with his style of writing.

    I started reading THE ALCHEMIST and, as I read, I thought that it would make a great animated film that would appeal to and teach moral lessons to children and adults alike. I was intrigued by the possibilities, the moral lessons, and symbolism that this fable had to offer.

    About halfway through, though, the pace seemed to change. It was as if the author gave up on the story and just wrote for writing's sake to draw out the short novel's length. I didn't care for (or know much about) the characters. It no longer felt like it was progressing as rapidly for me. The symbolism was waning, the religious undertones were increasing, and the feats of incredible/impossible/unrealistic happenings were growing. Metaphors were no longer metaphors. They were actually taking place.

    The ending was predictable, as was its moral lesson, and I was glad when it finally reached its anticlimactic finale. Sadly, the book with extreme potential lost its flare and didn't know how to get it back.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Not up to its hype

    A pseudo-mystical shaggy dog story.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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