Goodreads book review – The Alchemist

The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It seems that everybody has read the Alchemist and it seems also, that everybody loves it. For my part, I can at least say that I have read it now.

When I started reading this book I thought I was going to love it. It seemed sweet and simple and quite enchanting but as I continued reading the sweetness became a bit sickly and the simplicity a bit insulting.

Perhaps it’s me, but I can’t accept the idea that everybody has a destiny and that to achieve it all you need to do is listen to your heart. For a start, it’s all well and good if your destiny is love or happiness or untold treasures but what if your destiny is to be always hungry, or always in pain, or, for example, to be raped and murdered during a civil war or to be tortured to death by your government….. Should you also follow your heart towards these things? Or is the idea that terrible things only happen to people because they didn’t listen to their hearts? As far as I can see fate and destiny just don’t stack up when you start to think about them logically.

Aside from having a problem with the premise of the book, I also found the Alchemist a bit flat: the characters are flat, the scenery is flat and the narrative is flat; the ending is one of the flattest, laziest and most disappointing I’ve ever come across. I wanted to love this novel – I really did – but in the end it left me feeling a bit irritated and underwhelmed.

In conclusion, I suppose I’m just too cynical for fate, destiny and the Alchemist.

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