Frankly speaking, in some cases when a book or film becomes extremely famous and everyone knows and reads/watches it, I am a bit reluctant when it comes to reading/watching them. It's not because I am a snob or something, I like many bestsellers and blockbusters, not to mention iconic masterpieces (On the Road, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Breathless...) but sometimes I just feel like not obeying the 'social rules'. It doesn't make me undereducated since I definitely watch and read these pieces, it just takes time for me to make myself doing it.
The same thing happened with Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. Coelho is one of the world's most popular writers and he is one of my favourite writers as well but when I decided to read my second book by him (the first one was my all-time favourite 11 minutes), I also decided it would not be the book that actually made him famous. It wasn't really a decision, just a feeling that I sould opt for other novels. But, as I said, I always make these much-anticipated things mine, and now it was time for The Alchemist.
And I must confess, I might have made a mistake. The novels I have read by Coelho were more mature than this, not that this is not mature or something, it's typical Coelho, of course I read it in no time (2 days - when was very busy with other things, too) and was kind of disappointed. I love the story, I even like the usual mythical names (Personal Story, etc.) and tales but while reading it, I kind of seemed to have enough of the fact that in the book, everyone is wise. I understand poor and undergraduate people are most of the time wiser than those who have I don't know how many PhDs but still, come on, not everyone is like that! There are special people out there but the world is not black (e.g. shallow) and white (e.g. wise)!
But, once again, I love Paulo Coelho, I love his novels, his thoughts, his lines and words and everything and since The Alchemist was not my first read novel by him, if it were, I would have loved it more. But having read his later works where not everyone knows essential but not-known-by-everyone things.
So, it's true what the cover says - A magical fable about following your dream - and the point of it is clear. Sometimes we have to go back to the start, to the basics to understand things, to find things we had thought were without value actually valuable (remember the Coldplay video, The Scientist when the whole vid goes backwards. Perfect.).
If you haven't read it already, I absolutely recommend The Alchemist, with every single novel Coelho teaches something else and whenever you read his works again (like I did with 11 minutes), you happen to find something new every single time. Isn't it what makes an artpiece, let it be a book, a film, a song, an opera, a painting, an anything else ART and MEANINGFUL and VALUABLE?