The Alchemist Book Review

The Alchemist. I’ve been hearing about this book from everyone for years! I’ve seen it on the shelves of bookstores many times. Sure I picked it up, cracked it open and skimmed through it a time or two, but for some reason nothing ever compelled me to read it. Until now.

A few months ago I was talking to a dear friend of mine, and a fellow book lover. And as we were catching up over our coffee and pastries she told me that she was reading The Alchemist.

We all have a destiny. There is a plan for all of us... The Alchemist has been on my reading bucket list for a long time, and I'm finally checking it off! Check back next month to see my thoughts on this New York Times Bestsellers novel by Paulo Coelho.

“The Alchemist!” I exclaimed! “Everyone is talking about this book! Is it amazing or what?”

It wasn’t necessarily her response that intrigued me, but the way she responded. She instantly averted her eyes down to the coffee mug that she held with both hands resting on the table, and took a deep breath in. She held it for a second, and slowly exhaled.

“Actually, I had to put it down.” She sounded defeated.

“Oh yeah? That intense, huh?” I replied.

“No, it just made me feel so guilty. The book revolves around this man’s journey to following his heart. It just made me feel so directionless and… sad.”

The next time I was wandering the bookstore, I knew what to grab next.

I read books to feel the emotions. I want to experience  new things. I want to open my eyes to a new way of life. And after just reading the prologue, I knew exactly how my friend felt.

When you really want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it

This is a central theme throughout the book. That if you want something bad enough… If you are truly answering your calling and following your heart’s desire, then the world and those in it that you encounter will band together to help you achieve it.

It really is a lovely thought, and I agree with the sentiment. If you know what your dream is you should absolutely follow it!

But what if you don’t know what your dream is? What if you aren’t hearing a clear calling? What then?

And that’s how this book made my friend and I feel. Cast aside, forgotten by the universe because our dreams weren’t loud enough.

Now- don’t get me wrong. I know that this book is a work of fiction. That’s obviously not how the real world works. It just that this book made me face some inner demons I wasn’t even aware I was harboring.

The story itself was interesting enough, but it was the spiritual journey it took me on that kept me from also setting it aside, as my friend had done. It made me assess my life. I had to check in with myself.

What is my dream even?

Am I following it?

Am I listening to the omens?

Those questions look easy enough to answer on paper- so go ahead… Give it a shot! Answer those questions.

Do you have clear answers?

If you did, that’s wonderful! I’m excited for you and your endeavors, and I would love to hear about them!

If not, well then… Welcome to my boat.

I did feel a little down.


Lost even.

And after I had finished the book and I started to write this review, I realized that maybe I was looking at it all wrong. Maybe it doesn’t start with the dream. Maybe it starts with an opportunity. Just one opportunity is all it takes to create a dream. Call it an omen if you must.

I was always a writer. Essays and written tests were never an issue for me. When I was little, instead of asking my mom for toys and games, I would BEG her for journal after journal.

“What are you writing??” she’d ask, exasperated. “You can’t possibly be done with the last one I bought for you!”

But I was. I wrote on everything. On the backs of my math notes from high school you’ll find poems, random tidbit thoughts, short stories and the like.

“Maybe one day you’ll make us all rich with whatever it is that you are writing.” She’d say as she placed the journal in the shopping cart.

You’d think that would have been a clue that maybe I should look into a career in writing. But no- I was going to be a biologist.

I always struggled with math. Maybe because of all of those poems I wrote during math class when I should have been paying attention… But as I graduated high school, I started college planning to major in biology and animal sciences.

I struggled. I didn’t do so well in class. My first semester I quickly learned I was behind in my mathematics. I quickly fell behind in class and had to drop out. ‘That’s ok’ I told myself, next semester I’ll try the next easiest class and I’ll get caught up!

Nope. The next semester halfway through the course my math teacher caught ill, and his replacement was such an awful teacher that more than half of the class petitioned to have the right to have the class completely removed from their transcripts- me included.

The next semester, familial obligations caused me to miss more than three classes and I was dropped.

Words can’t express how frustrated I was. I was a year and a half into my science degree, and I hadn’t even started on my math, and I had to go all the way up to physics… I had no idea what to do.

In the meantime I was working as a vet assistant in a small one doctor animal hospital. Because I was going to save animals, you see. Or so I thought at the time. My fiance was working as a web developer and at the time his company was requiring everybody to write 5 short blog posts for the company blog.

“I’m not a writer!” he exclaimed. “Help me!”

And so I wrote his articles for him.

As soon as the posts were published, his phone rang. It was his boss, telling him that he loved the blog posts and that they wanted him to take over editorship of the blog. He had to fess up and tell him that his fiancee had written the posts.

“Well your fiancee is very talented, is she looking for a job as a writer?”

And that is what lead me onto the road of quitting my job and becoming a freelance writer…

I simply had to grasp just that one opportunity after years of not writing, to get me back on track to doing something I loved. To doing something I was good at.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

There are no valid excuses for not following your dreams. If you don’t know what your dream is take a good long look at your life. There is passion in there somewhere. Embrace that passion! Create your dream!  If you are brave enough to take the first few steps on your own, you might just find that the opportunities will begin to surface. And then, all you need to do is to grasp them 🙂

This ‘review’ took a bit of a personal turn, but I hope you enjoyed reading it! And just in case you were wondering- yes, I recommend this book!

You can buy your own copy of this life changing book on Amazon!

See the other books I read in October over on my October Reads post 🙂

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