The Alchemist (Book Review)

** I will try not to give all the details away for those who may want to read it later; however, it’s a review.**

the alchemist

The book follows a young man by the name of Santiago. He decides not to go in his father’s footsteps to become a priest and becomes a shepherd instead because he wants to travel. One day he has a dream that he finds a treasure in the pyramids in Egypt. He goes to a gypsy woman hoping that she will interpret his dream, and she advises him to go to the pyramids to find his treasure.

Along the way he runs into a King who gives him a few pieces of life advice. The King tells him that he has to fulfill his Personal Legend and leaves him with the ever present lines ” when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. Santiago meditates on these words during his entire journey. He ends up selling his flock of sheep, traveling to Africa, getting robbed, working in a crystal store, travelling through the dessert, meeting an Englishman who introduces him to alchemy, falling in love, meeting the actual alchemist, and yes, he does make it to the pyramids.

I’m struggling not to give away the whole plot here, but some of the more prevalent themes in the book are:
1. The Journey. Seeing as the book is about a young man making a journey, much of it focuses on not being deterred from your journey no matter how many detours you may encounter. No matter the obstacles, let nothing stop you.

2. Follow Your Heart. Santiago had a million opportunities to give up on his journey, but was constatnly reminded that he had to live out his Personal Legend (the book was translated from Portuguese, I believe, so this term might be more common in that language-I assume). He learned to listen to his heart and to let it lead him through the dessert.

3. We Are One. The theme of connectedness ran throughout the entire novel. Santiago learns from the dessert that the sky and the wind and sand and people were all made from the same hand. Everything and everyone is related. We are all part of the same thread that holds the world together.

There were a few more themes/motifs expressed in the book but I would have to go on and on to cover all of them.
At the end of the day, this book is filled with some beautiful life lessons and truths that ANYONE can apply. It really makes you stop and contemplate your values and choices. I highly recommend it to anyone searching for something greater in life. It juxtaposes big ideas and concepts with simplicity. It helps us realize that even the  most complicated facets of life can be simple because we are not here to piece things together along the way, we are here to live and learn along the journey. Things are already pieced together, we just have to play our roles.

It’s an easy read that I finished within two days. I absolutely 100% recommend it to ANYONE!

If you have read it, share your thoughts. If you end up reading it, let me know what you think!

xoxo Kaisha

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