Santiago is a Sheperd, not by lack of luck but by choice. He's in it for the adventure, the knowledge and the people, oh and the sheep, he does like his sheep. After have a weird dream about the Pyramids and talking to a dream interpreter and someone who may be a real King he goes in search of his own Personal Legend. Along the way he meets a thief, a crystal artist, and an Alchemist.
I've been hearing about The Alchemist for a while. A kid in my Character Development class raved about it, a friend told me it was the best book she'd ever read. Regardless I was skeptical. A fable written in the 80's? A journey for a Personal Legend? I passed. Well, I passed until I was at Barnes & Noble with a gift card and a list of books that were all out of stock.
What I loved most about The Alchemist was how fast it read. At 167 pages it reminded me of a Disney movie; true to it's theme and straight to the point. Coelho wastes no time in telling his story and the sparse detail really works in this fable setting. I was also surprised by how moving the spiritual and personal messages were. Very rarely do I come across a book that inspires me to go for my dreams, but that's really what The Alchemist is about. At times the"personal legend business seems a bit heavy handed, but overall the it's a very evenly paced story.
I'm not big on recommending books to non readers, but I handed my copy of The Alchemist to my dad along with a copy of the new Decemberists CD and he actually read it. After he told me how much he had liked it and that it was the first book he'd read in decades. What I'm getting at is this - read this book. You might not like it. You might think the concept is a crock of horse dung or that it's just unrealistic but I'm willing to bet it will at least make you think, and after all, isn't that part of what reading's all about?