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The Alchemist

Book Review by Hamza Naeem, 11yr Old

The Alchemist is about a boy called Santiago from Andalusia who follows his dreams. My dad recommended this book to me as I had nothing else to read. It was not that interesting at the beginning but I started to like it the more I read it. At the start of the book, I couldn’t understand it, but then the more I read it the more I understood.

My Favourite Part 

My favourite section was when Santiago (the boy) meets an old man who is actually the King of Salem. The old man tries to strike up a conversation with the boy. He asks what Santiago is doing, Santiago says that he is working. The old man continues to try and strike up a conversation, so he says that he is thirsty and tired and asks Santiago if he could take a sip of his wine and the boy gives him his bottle of wine in hopes that the man would go away. The old man asks what book he is reading and the boy gives him his book. The old man says that this book is irritating but important too. He says that it describes people’s inability to choose their own fate, and that everyone believes in the world’s greatest lie. The boy asks what the world’s greatest lie is. The old man (Melchizedek) says that it is that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie. The boy then says that it never happened to him. His parents wanted him to become a priest, but he became a shepherd instead. The old man says that it was much better, as he loved travelling. The boy then thinks to himself that the old man knew what he was thinking.

During the middle of Santiago’s journey, he meets a man who owns a crystal shop. Santiago asks if the man wants him to clean the crystals for him in exchange for a meal. The man doesn’t reply. Santiago grabs his jacket and starts to clean the crystals. While he is working, two people come in and buy crystals. The man then closes his shop and tells Santiago to come to eat. During their meal, the man offers Santiago a job because two people bought crystals while he was working, and that is a good omen. Santiago and the man work together and more people start to visit the shop. The boy has ideas like serving tea in the crystal glasses to potential customers and making a display case for the crystals outside of the shop. The man agrees with the boy’s ideas and his business grows so much that he has to hire two more workers. Soon later, the boy has enough money to go to the pyramids to find his treasure so he leaves the crystal shop.

Towards the end, he meets the Alchemist and he learns his secrets, he then learns to control the Alchemist who gives him two gold bars that he himself made. The boy then travels to find his treasure, he finds the spot in his dream where he is told to dig, he starts digging but nothing is there. He cries out in frustration and anger. He then gets robbed but is let go because the leader of the three robbers tells the boy that he had a dream that there was a chest of gold next to an abandoned church under a sycamore tree, but he never went there because he wasn’t foolish and he told the boy not to follow his dreams. He then leaves the boy. The boy smiles at himself and travels all the way back home to Andalusia and finds his treasure.

What Powerful Life Lessons Did I Learn from the Alchemist?

Fear is a Bigger Obstacle than the Obstacle Itself

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

Any new pursuit requires entering uncharted territory — that’s scary. But with any great risk comes great reward. The experiences you gain in pursuing your dream will make it all worthwhile.

What is “True” Will Always Endure

“If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.”

Truth cannot be veiled by smoke and mirrors — it will always stand firm. When you’re searching for the “right” decision, it will be the one that withstands the tests of time and the weight of scrutiny.

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