Every living soul, every living soul praise…
Ok let’s try this again.
Every living soul, every living soul must read this book.
Author; Paulo Coehlo- (Brazilian born)
Genre; Fantasy, Adventure, FableFiction( I invented this one)
Number of Pages; 177 (my paperback copy)
Theme; Dreams, Omens, Fate, Spirituality, Love
Copies Sold; Over 65 million in over 56 languages.
Year of publication; 1988 as O Alquimista (Portuguese)
Republished in English; 1993, HarperCollins.
Other Titles; The Pilgrimage, Brida, Manuscripts found in Accra, The Witch of Portobello and more…
*One of the best-selling books in history and Guiness world record for most translated books by a living author.
Let me just quickly say that this book is very inspirational quot-ey, perhaps the foundation for most “deep” lines that motivational speakers reel out and charge you 150 thousand naira for.
It is the story of an Andalusian Shepherd boy who had recurring dreams about his treasure being beneath the pyramids in Egypt, and went after it, encountering theft, war, love and other odds, only to find out the treasure was actually in Andalusia but of course not without learning important life lessons in the process of chasing and rechasing his dreams (treasure). *Insert silly you must aspire to desire to acquire but perspire to recover quote here*
I first heard about THE ALCHEMIST in 2010, and I remember blatantly refusing to read it, why? because it sounded like a book of Chemistry, and why would I want to read that? The one single year I did Chemisty in secondary school, I hated it. So why now?
But I was heading out one day and needed a book to put in my bag. I always put a book in my hand bag even though most times I end up pressing my phone, looking at instagram photos, instead of reading the book. Anyway I scanned the shelve and pulled out The Alchemist thinking it was another book, only to get into the car and realise it wasn’t.
I opened it just to glance through the rubbish that the author wrote in there, and I read two pages, then four, then eight, then one chapter, and I was making notes, and highlighting and there was no chemistry. It read smoothly, like a fable.
Oh wait, it is a fable, a wise fable about listening to your heart and following your dreams. Think “Tales by Moonlight” if you are Nigerian, or the gather-in-the-backyard-with-grandma stories about the old man and the tortoise. It is fiction but not fiction.
I have to say though that I’m glad I read this book at my own time, and pace, because if I had read it when there was so much buzz about it, I would have been seriously underwhelmed, because let’s be honest, there is nothing more to the book than what it is, a fable.
But it is very insightful, covering life lessons on when to let go and decision making, which is very vital. Even though your decision can end up being good or bad, that point of making a decision is important for your progress in life or for chasing your dream.
Another key lesson for me from the book which although may sound pessimist for some, but resonated well with me; that it is ok to not know your next step or move. People learn early in life what the reason for their being is, and it is perhaps the reason why they give up on it so quickly.
The writing style is simple and it is written such that an average reader can finish it in about a day, although the character’s journey to Egypt is so full of incidences and lesson’s, I suggest reading it slowly so that the message sinks in per time.
When I wrote that I was going to be reviewing a book a month, I didn’t think The Alchemist would be one of them, let alone my first one, but I’m happy to have read it, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Below are a few of my favourite lines from the Book;
*When you really want something, all of the universe always conspires in your favour.
*No project is completed until it’s objective has been achieved.
*When each day is the same as the next, it is because people fail to recognise the good things that happen in their lives everyday the sun rises.
*You must understand that love never keeps a wo/man from pursuing his destiny. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love.
*Dreaming and decision making is ours. Where the decision takes you is a mystery.