“The Alchemist” Student Reviews 2009

The following review of “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho was written by COHS student Danielle L. (Ms. Waddle reviewed this book on an earlier post.)
Pages: 208

Santiago was a young boy who was following his dream. He had always wanted to travel so he became a shepherd. Santiago was constantly having a dream that he would find gold at the pyramids. One day He met an old man who turned out to be a king named the king of Salem in Tarifa; he tells him that he should go to the pyramids and gives him the location of the buried tresure. Santiago sells his sheep and goes to Africa to find the tresure, unfortunatly he gets all his gold stolen. He quickly finds a job with a cristal marchant so that he could return home and buy sheep. For a year he works with the merchant, and he makes a great amount of money.  At this point he has totally forgotten about the treasure, but when he recognizes the two rocks the old king had given him he goes back to looking for the treasure.

I really enjoyed the book. You would think that the theme is really cheesy, but the author develops it in a realistic manner that makes the story great! I really like the fact that he doesn’t sugar coat anything, but he doesn’t make it really depressing.

1. Follow your dreams but be careful and wise by doing so, it may take a while but in the end it will pay off.
2 Follow your dreams
3. The author creates many obstacles that the main character has to face to follow his dream. The main character (Santiago) is faced with good and bad “omens” which he is supposed to follow. He becomes discouraged at certain points but he kept going.
4. Sometimes people aren’t wise about they way they live there life. They do things just for money. The book shows that you should follow your dreams because “it is written”, but at the same time you should be wise about it and don’t forget about your surroundings.


About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
This entry was posted in Adventure Stories, Fable/Fairy Tale/Fantasy, Fiction. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to “The Alchemist” Student Reviews 2009

  1. Jackie P. says:

    This book sends you a message that you really have to figure out and think about. It tells you how to follow your heart no matter what. It’s an inspiring story that can teach a person a lot about life.

  2. Jackie P. says:

    I thought The Alchemist was an okay book. It wasn’t one of the best books that I have read, but it was good. Santiago is faced with many challenges and has to deal with them along the way to his destination.

    1. You always have to follow your dreams no matter what anyone tells you. Let nothing stand in your way.

    2. Always follow your dreams.

    3. Learn to listen to your heart when you know it’s the right thing to do.

    4. You should always reach and accomplish your goal no matter how crazy it sounds. If your heart desires it, then go for it!

  3. Renee J.W. says:

    I thought the book was good. I liked the message it gave. Because it is true that sometimes the path to get to where you want to go is bumpy and filled with obstacles and you are surprised that when you get there the final destination is not what you thought. But, after thinking about the road traveled you realize it was the experiences and friends you made along the way that are the true treasures.

  4. Lilibel V.N. says:

    I actually enjoyed reading this book. It taught me a lot of good lessons about life. It taught me to be patient and that you may not always see what your future holds but once your heart starts telling you to start your journey you need to get on the road. It will be a roller coaster but in return you will get something great. If life weren’t a roller coaster what good would it be? You wouldn’t learn anything and life would basically be pontless! So the great thing is staying on the roller coaster and trying your best to stay on it. Sure we’ll make mistakes and there ‘re going to be many bumps on the road but what we have to stay focused on is getting back up and learning your lesson because you never know when your knowledge will be tested. For example, Santiago had many bumps on his road, but he kept pursuing his dream and when his knowledge was tested, when he had to turn himself into the wind, he passed and soon enough found his treasure. I learned that in order to find your treasure you must: follow your dreams, listen to your heart, have patience, keep focus, and let people help you and guide you becuase not everthing is possible with just yourself.
    I would recommend this book, because it inspires, it motivates, and teaches great lessons and I believe it would do the same for others.

  5. Olivia N. G says:

    I loved this novel! It was inspiring as well as compelling, and made me want to keep reading. Santiago was faced with many challenges and given many reasons to end his journey early. Even in finding love he was still encouraged to follow his destiny and discover the treasure. While in the end the treasure lied where it all began in Spain, he showed incredible courage and bravery by giving up all that he had to go out and find this fortune. Although he did have many helpers along the way, for the most part he faced this journey alone, a fact that would be a deal breaker for most. This novel taught me to never give up on my dreams and to never lose faith in them coming true 🙂

  6. Kelsey L. I. says:

    This book really showed alot about having inner strength and how it helps to trust yourself and believe in yourself. Even though this book had no action, I think I would recomened it to someone beacuse this book teaches you alot about life and life skills. I really liked that no matter what got in Santiago’s way he always knew or found away to get past it.

  7. Brooke J.B. says:

    I also liked when Santiago talked to the desert, the wind, the sun, and the hand. I agree with you Priscila that he did come a long way from just being a shepherd. He met many people along the way to find his treasure and learned many new things. He took the knowledge he learned from everybody and he used it to help turn himself into the wind. The book over all was just all right. It was kind of boring in the beginning because there was pretty much no action but it got a little bit better towards the end. There weren’t very many suprises and almost no suspenseful moments so i didn’t really care for the book very much. I was expecting more adventure and exciting turning points. It did show me though, that it pays off to follow your dreams and to do whatever it takes to achieve them. 🙂

  8. Priscila L.G. says:

    One of the parts that i liked was when Santiago “talked” to the desert, the sun, and the hand. It really showed he had come along way from being just a shephard boy in Spain. By that time he had met many people and learned many things from them. He seemed to put all of his knowledge into turning himself into the wind. By doing that, he managed to save the Alchemist and himself. It was cool (:

    • Sydney K.T. says:

      I personally thought the whole moment he talked to the sun, wind, and the desert was boring. I mean I understand he grew as a person and as an alchemist, however the whole “talking” to world was a part I thought was different and unusual. I found the book to be a different take on the whole action, adventure and finding treasure genre of book. I am glad I read it though. 😉

  9. Michelle A.P. says:

    @ Kim .L
    see i told you it would get better lol 🙂

  10. Shannon M.P. says:

    I have really enjoyed reading the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho because it teaches you to always follow your dream even though there would be a few difficulties achieving that dream. This story is about a boy who always had the dream to travel. On his way to find his “Personnel Legend” his many obstacles to getting there. He meets many people that charge him not money but sheep and treasure. He had met a man that told him to listen to his heart and follow what it tells him. Santiago learns and achieves many things. He meets a young lady who he falls in love with, but he doesnt want to leave her. She tells himthat she is a desert woman and could live with him gone. The alchemist finds him and tells him that he will help him achieve his “Personnel Legend” which is it the Egyptain Pryamids. On their way there he learns how to turn himself into the wind with the help of the sand, the wind, and the sun. They get very close to the Pyramids so the alchemist leaves him to go by himself. When Santiago gets there he feels a very sad pain and starts to cry. A guy tells him that he had a vision that treasure was burried by a tree which stands by an abandoned misionary. He travels there and finds the treasure. I really loved this novel and suggest that a lot of people read this book.
    1. I’ve learned that following your heart will lead to wonderful things.
    2. You should always follow your dreams, but never give up on them.

  11. Marisa A. C. says:

    Like Priscila said, there were good things that did happen to him from going to Africa as well as bad. It really was a win-lose-win type of situation he got to seek new things and find his Personal Legend and the girl he now loves, but then he goes through all these bad things like being attacked, the wars, and barely being able to survive with little money. What it brings it back to a winning situation is that he not only finds an internal treasure, he finds an actual treasure that made the whole journey worth while

  12. Priscila L.G. says:

    Over all, I think this was a pretty good book. It shows that the journey to find your “personal legend” is more rewarding than the “personal legend” itself. Santiago learned various things throughout his journey from working with crystal to turning himself into the wind. If he had not pursued his personal legend he would have never found his treasure or learned any of these things.
    Yes, just like Marisa, I was disappointed at the end, but if he had never gone to Africa he would have never met the Alchemist or met Fatima. So it was kind of a win-win. Even though he did get beat up at the end..

  13. Marisa A. C. says:

    The Alchemist had some really good parts in it, like his love interest in Fatima, and meeting strangers that seemed to know him before they even met, but there were also some parts that bothered me. When I finished the book I have to say I was kinda mad. Santiago went through all of these troubles and even got beaten up in the desert. This was an exciting part until Santiago told them about what he was there for. Then I found out that the leader of the muggers told Santiago about a dream he had had about finding treasure under a sycamore tree I think it was? So anyways it made me upset that he had gone through all of that to find his material treasure right back where he started. Although all of the things he went through symbolize his journey about finding an internal treasure, his Personal Legend, I was thinking………i know this was supposed to happen to bring the author’s point across, but they couldn’t just cut Santiago a break? hahahaha, but that’s just my opinion.

  14. Marisa A. C. says:

    I agree with Sydney because I’m so used to all the action that when a book slows down on the dramatic things to focus in on the moral or lesson the book is trying to get across, I lose some interest. The things I did like in the book were the parts where her ran into people like the king. It seemed like the king already knew what Santiago was looking for before he even spoke to him that much. Other good parts of the book were when he made friends with the Englishman on the caravan trip, and his first time meeting Fatima

  15. Cheyenne J.R. says:

    The book didn’t really appeal to me but it was got better while I was reading it. I didn’t like how it was simple. LIke Kimberly said, it didn’t have any turning points or anything exciting. It was allright. It did inspire me. It wouln’t be a book that I would pick on my own but I suppose it was worth reading it.

    • Sydney K.T. says:

      I agree with you Cheyenne, It wasn’t an action adventure book. I enjoy those books more, but this book truly shows what happens when you follow your dreams and turn them into a reality. I guess you were expecting more action, turning points, and an exciting climax. I thought the book was enjoyable.

  16. Kimberly C.L. says:

    I enjoyed reading “The Alchemist” very much. It is about a shepherd boy who gives up a lot in order to pursue his personal legend. It really is inspiring to those who don’t know that you should follow your dreams no matter how impossible it is. Besides that, it teaches you to follow your heart. I encourage others to read this book!!!!

  17. Michelle A.P. says:

    kim seriously it gets better lol
    i dont read but i found this book just woahh !

  18. Kimberly L. says:

    I’m halfway done with this book and I already got tired and bored of it. I didn’t really find it very..exciting, I guess? I mean, I totally understand that Santiago was trying to follow his dream and find his ‘Personal Legend’, but so far this book doesn’t really make the turning points seem like a shocker or anything. I feel like I already know what’s going to happen and that just boring.

  19. Jessica L.C. says:

    I really liked the book The Alchemist about a shepard who gives up everything to follow his “personal legend” it is really good and shows the dificulty to change and follow somthing even if you don’t know the turn out. It is a very good book even if I didn’t really like how the boy kept wanting to give up I know he’s only humn and we do give up but he never seemed to ever have a straight idea about what to do.

  20. Sydney K.T. says:

    In the novel, The Alchemist, a young shepherd named Santiago pursues his personal legend by enduring incredibly difficult choices, facing unfortunate consequences, and fraternizing with mysterious characters. At the beginning of the story, Santiago has a reoccurring dream that tells him to go to the Egyptian Pyramids and find a magnificent treasure. He leaves to find a gypsy woman who will interpret his dream, but he ends up promising to give one tenth of the treasure to her. Santiago learns along the way from his “teachers” what his dream truly means and where it is hidden. From the guidance of the gypsy woman, the old King of Salem, the Englishman, Fatima, the merchant from the crystal shop, and the mysterious alchemist Santiago learns to follow and trust his heart. Santiago was dedicated to finding his treasure and learning to read the Soul of the World. He was robbed countless times and didn’t give up. He went unknowingly into the desert to only find he would cross paths with tribal wars, and he didn’t give up. Or the time when Santiago was told he had to turn into the wind, he was frightened to almost the point of giving up and getting killed, but he pursued and sought for his powers and didn’t give up again. Fatima encouraged him and told him to keep looking for his treasure and to not stop looking for it just because of their love for each other. The alchemist also shows him how to open up his mind, soul, and heart to himself and how to value everyday life God gives us. Santiago later returns home to Spain to figure out where his treasure was all along.
    I thought it was an inspiring story to keep me following my dreams and encouraged me to keep and open heart. I truly enjoyed the book!!! 🙂

    1. Follow your dreams no matter what.
    2. Set your mind to a goal and achieve it, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of it or you.
    3. Be true to your heart.
    4.Accomplish whatever your heart desires and never let your dream go to waste.

  21. Michelle A.P. says:

    In the Fiction novel “The Alchemist” , a young shepherd from Spain named Santiago
    interacts with many challenges and difficult choices that he has to overcome in order to pursuit his “personal legend” . Santiago left his home in Andalusia at a very young age for all he wanted to do in life was travel . One night while he was sleeping he had a dream of the Egyptian pyramids , were a treasure awaits him . A few nights later he had the same exact dream , therefore he decides to go to a gypsy in hope of her interperting his dream . There the gypsy tell him that he must go to the pyramids and seek his treasure and when he finds it he must give her one-tenth of the riches . While Santiago was sitting on a bench outside the gypsy’s tent , the King of Salem approaches him . He told Santiago about the omens and gave him two stones , Uruim and Thummim . The king specifically told him to “Read the Omens” . Santiago then decides to sell his flock of sheep and head to egypt to find his treasure . When he arrived in Africa he meets another boy and gives the boy his money for the boy told him to trust him because people there where really sneaky and not trustworthy . Santiago believing the boy was there to help him hands him his monies and follows him to a market place . While there the boy sees a sword and he promises himself that once he gets his treasure he will come back for it , he turns to see that the boy is gone . In his sadness the boy see’s a crystle shop were he recieves a job . When he reaches six months of work at the crystle shop he realizes he has enough money to go to Egypt . He buys a camel and travels to an oasis with a carvan filled with other people . During his travel to the oasis he meets an englishman who is in search of an alchemist . They then talk about the Santiago’s stones because we find that the englishman has heard of the omens and what role the stones play in them . When they reach there destination of the oasis , Santiago meets a girl named Fatima and falls in love . One night as he was walking among the desert he sees two hawks flying so peacefull then he sees one of the hawks just dive down and he feels like theres a war comming for he has reached the “soul of the world” . He then returns to the oasis and tells an Arab who was the chief of the town . The Arab then told him , we will see and if what you say is true you will recieve one piece of gold for every ten dead men . On his way back to his tent a man in a horse appears , that man turns out to be the alchemist . He then leaves with the alchemist to pursuit his journey to the pyramids , during the journey the alchemist is trying to teach Santiago the languagemof the world . One day they arrive at a monastery were the alchemist asks a monk if they may borrow his kitchen . He there pours lead into a chamber and turns the lead into gold . He gives one-fourth to the monk for letting them use his kitchen , one-fourth to the boy for the money he has gave up in his journey and he keeps one-fourth for himself . The last fourth of the gold he hands to the monk and tells him ,”Keep this for the boy , if he shall ever need it .” Santiago makes his way to the pyramids when he realizes that the trasure was in Spain all along .

    I really enjoyed this book . I am not the kind of person to want to read but when I started it I got hooked and couldn’t stop . The thing that kept me wanting to read more and more was my desire to find out if Santiago found his treasure or not . It is one of the best books i have ever read .

    1. I learned that you should always go with what your heart tells you , but be wise with the choices you make along the way .

    2. Follow your dreams , no matter how impossible they may seem .

    3. Santiago was faced with many hard obsticles that he learned to overcome and along the way he learned may things . ex . how to read the omens .

    4. Many times people do not follow thier dreams because they are afraid of failling . I think that if you have a dream you should defenitly follow it and give it your best effort . But don’t forget to observe your surroundings and be wise about your choices .

  22. Madeline G. says:

    In the Alchemist, Santiago is a young shepherd form Spain, who travels the country in search of adventure. One night he has a dream of the pyramids, where a treasure awaits him. He decides to go to a gypsy to interpret his dream. She tells him he must go to the pyramids to gain his treasure, and that he must give her one-tenth of his treasure. As he sits down on a bench outside an old man appears and sits next to him. The old man tells the boy a story of a king and another boy. The old man then tells Santiago to call him king and he gives him two stones, named Urim and Thummim, and disappears. The king’s last words to the boy before he disappears are, “Read the omens.” The boy then leaves Spain to go to Egypt to fulfill his dream. The boy arrives in Africa safely and goes into a bar. He points to one man’s drink, thinking it is his favorite drink wine, but instead of wine the boy gets a bitter tea. While drinking his tea the boy tries to think of a way to get to Egypt. An older boy comes to his table and talks to him. Santiago thinks this is an omen that someone wants to help him gain his treasure, not knowing that the older boy is a thief. The bartender sees this and starts to shout at the older boy in Arabic. Trusting the old boy, he gives him all his money and follows him into a marketplace full of people, but loses him. To get over his bad feelings of being robbed he goes up a hill to a crystal shop and helps out the owner who gives him a job. After working six months there, the boy realizes he can go to Egypt to get his treasure. He leaves the city with caravan drivers and they go to an oasis which is near his destination. The boy falls in love with a girl named Fatima and leaves with an alchemist to find his treasure. They go to a monastery and the alchemist asks a monk to use the kitchen. He makes gold out of lead and divides the pieces and leaves. Santiago realizes his treasure was at home all along in Spain and goes there to get it. He then returns back to the oasis to live with Fatima.
    1. I learned from this book that you should always follow your dreams.
    2. Never give up, even if you’ve lost all hope keep trying.
    3. Learn to also follow your heart, for it can teach you many great things.
    4. You can accomplish anything and everything,even if it takes a while ,keep at it. You’ll get it eventually.

  23. Mayra A. says:

    In the story, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho a young shepherd named Santiago is faced with many challenges that he has to try to overcome in order to pursuit his personal legend. Even after doubting himself, Santiago quickly learns how trust himself, listen to his heart, and how to understand the signs and omens put in his way. Santiago’s dream or what he wanted to do was to travel, and then he later had a dream in his sleep of a hidden treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. So he decided to go look for it. Santiago was willing to fight for his dream no matter what. Even at sometimes being at the verge of giving up he would still keep going. This was thanks to the wonderful people he had met along the way which were; the old gypsy, Melchizedek, the man from the crystal shop, the Englishmen, Fatima, and the alchemist. These people played a big part when Santiago needed help of guidance. Thanks to them Santiago learned how to cope with his problems. The conflict now was that Santiago was put in between the love of his life, Fatima and his dream. With the encouragement of Fatima and the alchemist Santiago went on to accomplish his dream. Sooner then when he got to where his treasure was he had realize even before he had found it that he had already had lived his dream which was to travel. He had learned how to open his heart, listen to his soul and most importantly learned how to take value of the things that god gives to us every single day.

    I personally realy enjoyed this book. I think it has been one of the very best books I have ever read! And it really encouraged me to learn how to follow my own dreams because its possible.

    1. Alaways follow your dreams no matter what. Dont let anyone tell you its impossible or you cant do it.! Because what ever you set your mind to you can do.

    2.Always follow your dreams no matter what.

    3.Well in the story Santiago is faced with many challenges he has to try and overcome.He has to now hoe to read the omens that are put in his way.

    4.Sometimes people dont follow their dreams because they dont think they can do it or they think its not true. If you have a dream and you want to live it then you should despite what anyone else says. But if you do be wise and smart and remeber the sighns and your sorroundings.

    • Renee J.W. says:

      Mayra, I agree with you sometimes it is the simple little things given to us everyday that are our true treasures of life.

  24. Ms. Waddle says:

    Talk to Ms. Maria in the textbook room and to Ms. G. in the history department–they both LOVED this book.

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