Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Alchemist

*There may be some possible spoilers in this review.*

I had seen this book at several stores, always picked it up and turned it over several times in my hands. There was something about it that made me want to buy it, but I always put it back thinking I had too many books already in my "to read" pile. The fourth store and fourth time I picked it up, I did not return it to the shelves, but placed in my cart taking it home and stacking it under all the other books I wanted to read. This week, I pulled it out and could not put it down. It spoke to me in a way that I needed to be spoken to and believe that I may even have a better understanding about my life and dreams.

Paulo Coelho wrote this book in a parable style, which is interesting all on its own. There are not that many books out there at the moment written in this form. The main character does not have a name, in fact many of the characters do not and are only known by their profession. It is simply written and very matter of fact, which may be a problem for many people. (There were many reviews that stated this as the main reason that they disliked the book).

In this parable, a young Shepard is approached by an old man that claims to be a king and tells him that he should continue on his "Personal Legend". The young boy has had several dreams in which he was looking for treasure near the pyramids of Egypt. After speaking with the king he agrees to give him a tenth of his sheep and to set out to find his treasure. However, like most parables, the young boy finds more than just physical treasures and finds himself on a journey of spiritual self discovery.

I think that what I loved the most about this book, is that it encompasses all religions and gives a positive message. It states that there are really four things that stand in the way of accomplishing your dream or "Personal Legend": impossible to achieve, love, fear of defeat, and guilt of achievement. This book talked about how you need to let all of that go and just fight for the dream you want.

"To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation".

For me, at this moment in my life, this book spoke to me beyond its pages. Someone else who is in a different place may pick up this book and decide it is not for them due to the style or to the spiritual nature of the content. In the end, the parable took the young boy back to the beginning to find the treasure he had been dreaming about. Like in life, sometimes what you were looking for was always in front of you to begin with. It may have taken me four stores to figure out that I was supposed to read this book, but somehow I heard what my heart was saying to me and I am better for it.

If you do not like parables, spiritual literature, etc. then you will not enjoy this book. For those of you like me that do enjoy inspirational and spiritual literature from time to time, I would recommend that you read this at some point in your life.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I bought this book at a local bookstore; I was not asked to do a review of this book.

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