DesiBooker (Dynamic Desis Book Group ) Blogsite
Musings & Comments from the Dynamic Desis
Entry for March 14, 2008
The Alchemist, By Paulo Coelho

I chose this book because it was recommended to me a year or two ago and it still remains on the best seller lists.  However, I was not prepared for the reaction of the group.

While the energetic discussion was centered around weighty topics such as fate, destiny, personal decisions and regrets, the majority of the group thought that the book was a collection of ideas plucked from existing works and that it written for young readers, or people needing help, rather than mature adults.  Ouch!

In terms of entertainment value, the first and last parts of the story were interesting, but the middle wore us all out.  It practically lost us when the boy tried to make the wind blow. 

We all agreed with the concept of pursuing ones personal legend, however we didn't like the idea of looking for "treasure" as a worthy personal legend.  Perhaps the treasure just symbolizes our ambitions. Perhaps we may have been more satisfied with the book if the boy had found his treasure in the form of his idyllic life, tending sheep in his home country and realizing that real treasure is not in material things but in contentment.

The group collectively expounded on the shortcomings of the story, the lack of intellectual content and the likeness to a self-help book.  Did something get lost in translation? One person said the "magical realism" writing style is passe.  At the same time positive things happened to many people in the group, sadly not all. It made people think about their personal ambitions; it reminded people about the traits of a "serial entrepreneur"; it made people think about the choices they made; it evoked emotions of feminism, it enchanted us with the little vignettes and encouraged some to do farther investigation regarding the geography and history of Andalusia and Egypt.     

Everyone in the group read the book and everyone had things to say about "The Alchemist" and almost no one said that they wasted their time reading it or talking about it.  So much so, we overran our time discussing tangential but meaningful life adventures and stories.

It was hard to break up!



2008-03-14 20:28:39 GMT
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