The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

cover “If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise”. This is one of many of the beautifully crafted words in Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist. From the streets of Andalusia to the deserts of Egypt, we are taken on an adventure that tests the limits of one’s desire for personal treasure. This novel takes you on the journey of a shepherd boy, Santiago, who wishes to find himself through a quest to the Pyramids in Egypt. He trades his old life for a new one where he gets to travel the world looking for his Personal Legend, or, his treasure. No one ever said it would be easy, but was his journey worth the trouble?

The story is presented through the eyes of Santiago. He spends his days following the same paths and in the same surrounding, until one day, he comes across a gypsy who completely turns his life upside down. She delivers the boy a very important message, one that is impossible to ignore. She tells him of a treasure waiting for him in the desert of Egypt, near the pyramids. He tries to resist her words, but how could he? He had been waiting for a change, and this was it. He had the opportunity to finally find out something about his life that had deeper meaning. He would no longer sit in the fields and wonder what lies ahead of him. He could learn the ways of the world and expand his knowledge of the things around him. Despite his doubts, he decides to take the old woman’s advice. He sets off to Egypt and finds himself in a place that is totally unfamiliar. He cannot communicate with anyone, and has no way of finding out if his treasure is even where the gypsy said it would be. Although he feels defeated, he cannot give up. He remembers the omens a wise old man from his village told him before he left for his quest. He must persevere and stay on his path; he cannot abandon what he has set out to do. Many die or move in before they accomplish what the universe intended had for them. The boy must keep his promise to find his treasure, no matter how long it takes for him to find it. When you want something with all your heart, the entire universe will stop at nothing to help you achieve it. In the end, it will all be worth it.

In conclusion, this novel teaches us all about faith and hope and never abandoning our dreams. We need to stand with our hopes and desires and believe whole heartedly we can achieve anything we set our mind to. No matter how long or difficult the process, we must continue on. As the wise friend of Santiago once said “where your treasure is, there also be your heart.”

Reviewed by Lauryn H ’17 for Literature of the Millennium