The Alchemist

I'm extremely excited to talk about this novel. Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is one of those books everyone hears about, and maybe some of us have actually read: like War & Peace. I know most people just adore it, while others can't understand why people adore it. I'm with fans on this one, but for my own personal reasons. I believe this book is most impactful to it's readers when it comes at just the right time, somewhat like the story. The story is very simple. There's not much "flower" in the prose, it's blunt and frank. It says what it's got to say, and it doesn't run on and on talking about how magnificent mud puddles are. And I know how some of you hate that sort of thing.
It reminds me very, very, very, very much of Le Petit Prince in many ways. Because it's just a simple parable, it teaches a lesson, and it's an important one at that. That's what makes this book so important. Everyone must read this book. I recommend it as a gift to anyone recently graduated, or someone who is trying to find their purpose in their life. I only graduated a month ago, after experiencing a rather sudden, surprising break-up.
Needless to say, this is a book I needed to read, and right away. But I'd had the book for over a year before I picked it up - last Christmas, my "Identical Cousin" gave me a copy of my own after she finished it. Neither she or I would know at the time how important this book would be for me to read... later. Because, let's be real here, if I would have read it immediately after it was given to me, I would have been like everyone else who read it and didn't like it. I would have been irritated with the simple language, I would would have barely been able to appreciate the point of the story, I would have read it in a breeze and then put it aside and said "now what?" For some reason (also understand when I did eventually pick it up to read, I didn't know what it was really about. I didn't even have the focus or energy to read it, I just grabbed it and started reading) I read it now, while I was halfway through reading 3 other books and had no intention to start another until the rest were done.

I think this is a very important book. I intend to share it with as many people as I possibly can. Not all of them will appreciate it, at that is a shame. I can't talk about this book, however, without also talking about how it relates to my personal life - some books are just like that.
For instance, I mentioned reading this book after a separation - page 38:
"But now I'm sad and alone. I'm going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me. I'm going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine. And I am going to hold on to what little I have, because I'm too insignificant to conquer the world."
Wow. Bam! That quote sums up the painful thoughts I'd been futilely trying to push back for the past few weeks. So I found myself in a place where someone I trusted hurt me - I felt stupid for allowing it to happen. I felt angry for them doing it to me. But The Alchemist is 160 pages long, and this was only page 38, and literature mimics life, so that must mean.... this isn't the end. Better things are on their way.
Another good quote? Page 58:
"A blessing ignored becomes a curse."
Who can't relate to that? Speaking as a first generation college student who majored in - get this - visual arts, I can see what it means to be born with a gift for something and to be discouraged from using it. See what I mean about this book being really important to read?

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