The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

One of the most transformative novels ever written is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book was originally published in Portuguese in 1988, but has since been translated into numerous other languages, making it a bestseller across the globe. 

The novel chronicles the story of a shepherd boy named Santiago, who receives a prophecy from a fortune teller regarding a dream that he has had in the abandoned church he calls home. The fortune teller explains to him that he will seek great treasure at the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Santiago begins his journey across the continent to reach Egypt, when he meets King Salem. King Salem introduces one of the most pivotal ideas in the novel, which is the concept of “Personal Legend.” According to King Salem, your Personal Legend is the goal you are always destined to want to accomplish. Santiago’s “Personal Legend” is to reach the Egyptian pyramids and uncover their great treasure. As he travels through Africa, Santiago is robbed of the little money he has for his journey, so he finds a job as a merchant to earn enough money to continue. During this time, Santiago also falls in love with a girl named Fatima, who he eventually proposes to. However, she only promises to marry him after he has achieved his “personal legend.” This later teaches the resilience of true love and the importance of sacrifice in achieving one’s “Personal Legend.” 

Santiago finds another travel companion in an alchemist, who helps him achieve unity with the “soul of the world” and reach a deeper level of self-discovery and awareness. The two finally reach the pyramids, where Santiago digs for treasure to no avail. That night, Santiago is robbed yet again, but discovers that the treasure he was searching for actually resides in the church where he had the initial dream. 

Santiago’s trials and tribulations teach the reader to treasure the path to success. While the destination may be the achievement of a goal, true growth and learning come from the journey. Additionally, this novel shows the importance of personal aspiration and goals through the concept of “Personal Legend.” In order to achieve one’s goals or “Personal Legend,” one must sacrifice complacency and familiarity in favor of risk and determination. The lessons taught through the pages of The Alchemist are powerful and revolutionary in sparking a mental, emotional, and spiritual transformation. Because of this, The Alchemist is a crucial read in achieving personal growth and is highly recommended.

-Katie A.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

It’s not very often that you find a book that you think about on the daily. A book whose plot is so intricate and thought-provoking that its messages are imprinted into your brain. But The Alchemist is just that. A beautiful combination of fantasy elements intertwined with real-life lessons, this is definitely worth reading for those looking for a far-from-cliché book.

This book follows the journey of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd, with a dream that ironically keeps him up at night. In order to decipher what he believes to be a prophecy, he encounters many different people who give Santiago their own two cents. One of the most memorable meetings is with a man named King Melchizedek, who brings up this idea of a “Personal Legend”. In the words of the king, it is “what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their personal legend is. That theme is weaved throughout the book, and continues to fuel Santiago’s thirst for knowledge and adventure, and through his ups and downs of finding love and struggling through failure, he discovers the treasure his dream has been showing him.

The Alchemist is unique in the sense that it allows the reader to really immerse themselves into Santiago. They can easily relate and absorb the lessons Santiago receives along the way, rather than just skimming over them. Though this story is only a little over 160 pages (and I wish it was longer), there is so much wisdom packed into every page of this story.

As an avid fantasy and science-fiction reader, I was a bit wary starting this story. But, I believe the valuable teachings within The Alchemist are worth reading and knowing about, no matter what type(s) of genre(s) you enjoy! After all, anyone could use a little bit of enlightenment. 🙂

-Julianne T.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is about a young boy named Santiago who hears about buried treasure and actually discovers it is his personal legend. He must go and find his personal legend to fully complete his life.

The book adds a new component in books that I’ve never read before, a philosophical element. When Santiago is on his journey he meets an Alchemist. An alchemist is a person who can turn lead into gold. In this book he possess the Philosophers Stone and the Elixir of Life. They give him the power to turn lead into gold and give him immortality.

They have many philosophical conversations about life attracts life and how most of the times people don’t believe the ridiculous things people say. Most of the things the Alchemist say is actually true. There are many sequences in the book that seem really weird but most of the time they are actually pretty cool. At first usually he has to channels the soul of the world and use it to do the amazing things he does

At the start of the book there is a main idea that you can be whatever you want to be. You don’t have to listen to your parents or anyone else. If they say one thing but you say the other then go what you say. Then as the book begins to fold out you start making progress to your treasure. There were many times that Santiago said that this journey is worth nothing but truthfully at the end it was worth every penny.

He has met many people such as the crystal merchant, Fatima his love of his life, and The Englishman who first tried to do alchemy. Later on in the book it is realized that the true treasure that lied at the end of the pyramids was the journey itself.

The Alchemist is a great read if you ever have the chance you should read it

-Max U.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. The book is also available to download for free from Overdrive