The Alchemist is a book I would have loved to read when I was a teenager. Siddhartha is probably my equivalent of The Alchemist, in my life. The Alchemist is a weird mixture of fantasy, historical fiction, self-help, and theology all rolled into one book. The platitudes and wisdom in this book hits the reader without any subtlety at all. I wouldn’t say that this book is preachy but it is definitely heavy handed with its messages. Here’s the thing, if you have a background in religion, have read self-help books, or know anything about following your dream in life, what is said in this book will not be new. So much of what is in this book is borrowed from other sources including The Bible. In fact, a few of the wisdom “pearls” that is told to the boy are almost verbatim Biblical verses.
I think that I wanted more of a story than a fable. This felt a lot like a fable to me and I just didn’t connect to the story much. Once again, I think that is because of my age. If I was making decisions about the direction my life was going as a teenager, I may have found this quest that the boy is on to be very similar to my own experience, but because I am older and know who I am already, a lot of the platitudes fell short.
Overall, I don’t think this was a great story in itself. It is a quick enough read that it won’t matter much if you take the time to see if you like it. I do think it is overrated quite a bit but I can see how this would impact someone that is in a different stage of life than myself.