Title: The Alchemist: A Graphic Novel
Author: Paulo Coelho
Published: 2010; Pages: 208
Genre: Fiction, Inspiration
The Alchemist is an allegory or parable of a young shepherd, Santiago, who gives up everything to follow a recurring dream in which he discovers treasure. Along his journey, Santiago meets several who help him and whom he helps because when someone works to achieve their dreams the universe aligns to make it so.
Reason I read it: When Trish (Hey Lady) announced on Twitter that TLC Tours would be doing a book tour of the graphic novel version of The Alchemist, I jumped on the opportunity so fast I…well, it was fast. I’ll be the first to admit I was never terribly interested in reading the original version of The Alchemist–probably because someone I know said it was literally life changing and that always makes me hesitant and turns me off immediately (especially given the fact that this book did not really change said person’s life). Anyway… I figured the graphic version would be a perfect way to experience the book and right I was.
My thoughts: This is totally not my type of book. Even just the idea of it seems a bit preachy and the premise is quite obvious–though I believe this book can be interpreted several ways depending on where one is in life, which is a plus. Seek and you will find. Ask you and you will receive. The answer is right under your nose. One must experience many things to find the answer. If you really want something and work to achieve it, it will be yours. If you put your mind to it, you can do eeeet. There are signs and omens all around us. And many more that I’m forgetting or missing.
And before you get all up in arms because you feel I’m being dismissive, let me say I’m not trying to be dismissive because I do find these messages valuable. I simply prefer to have the messages delivered to me in a more subtle way rather than in a flat-out allegorical tale with heavy religious undertones. Aside from my personal biases, though, I was intrigued enough by this book to read through it really quickly. At first I was concerned about not having read the original book, but I kind of liked going into this one without any predisposed notions of what to expect. The story was a bit choppy at the beginning and many other bloggers on the tour mention that some of the story might be missed by not having read the original first. This may be true, but I never felt like there were holes or that pieces of the story might be lacking.
I found the artwork gorgeous–all the pages are in full color and really it’s quite stunning. A few things that I found curious, though. There are no pages numbers. The women are portrayed as all having tiny waists and ginormous bosoms–except for a fortune teller who might really be a man. Sometimes the characters had very misleading expressions on their faces and this was a bit confusing at times as I feel artwork should really be representative of emotions in a graphic novel format. Finally, the writing was sometimes a little off. I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think the graphic novel is translated like the original is? Either way, it feels poorly translated–the phrasing is at times awkward and not quite correct. Despite those curiosities, I am so glad to have encountered this story in graphic format. [for some reason I can't get any of the pictures from the publisher to upload properly otherwise I'd love to share a page]
Bottom Line: Sure, I’d recommend it. If you read the original and really enjoyed it, this might be a great way to revisit the story and remind yourself of what you liked so much the first time. If you haven’t read the book and don’t have much interest, this might be a perfect way to get a taste as it should only take you a few hours to read through. And even though I don’t love this book like others do, and I don’t find it earthshattering or novel, I did find a few bits of wisdom to personally take away with me. And while I’m not rushing out to get the original novel, I might be a little more openminded to it now that I’ve seen the story.
Have you read The Alchemist [in any format]? What did you think?
Thanks to the ladies at TLC Book Tours for allowing me to take part in this tour.