Audiobook: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Rating 3/5

After hearing so many great things about this book, I was seriously disappointed. It wasn’t necessarily horrible but not what I was expecting. It was just meh.

From Goodreads:

The AlchemistPaulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

Don’t get me wrong, this book definitely had some good themes especially listening to your heart and following your dreams. I can totally relate to that. However, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was being preached at through the entirety of this book.

I was expecting a little more conflict and more obstacles that would stand in the way of Santiago reaching his treasure but whenever I thought it was coming, Santiago would have this moment of clarity or understanding and would be able to solve the problem. In a way, I felt that it was a little too easy for the character. Yes, things get in his way and there are times where he gets “comfortable” where he is but I just didn’t feel like it portrayed how hard it can truly be to fulfill your dreams.

The story is good but I  just didn’t think it was as thought provoking as I felt it was made out to be. Am I totally missing something?

The best thing about this story was that Jeremy Irons narrated the audiobook, which was just awesome. He is the only one I can picture reading this book but then again I just love his voice.

Have you read “The Alchemist? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy

I hate writing bad reviews so I will keep this one short.

Rating: 2 stars

The Ginger ManFrom Goodreads:

First published in Paris in 1955 and originally banned in America, J. P. Donleavy’s first novel is now recognized the world over as a masterpiece and a modern classic of the highest order. Set in Ireland just after World War II, The Ginger Man is J. P. Donleavy’s wildly funny, picaresque classic novel of the misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American ne’er-do-well studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Dangerfield’s appetite for women, liquor, and general roguishness is insatiable–and he satisfies it with endless charm

This book, for me, was torture. It was an absolute chore to get through. I almost gave up but I hate not getting to the end so I stuck it through. I regretted it.

First of all, the writing style kept changing. For the first half of the book, the writing was in stream of consciousness and just when I got used to that then it switched to basic writing and then switched back. All the switching was disorienting and made me read slower than normal. I actually had to concentrate on the sentence structure rather than just enjoy the story.

Secondly, I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. The whole book was about Sebastian Dangerfield shirking his responsibilities so he can drink. It puts him in a number of ridiculous scenarios that he managed to get out of. The reviews for this book say its wildly funny but I didn’t find it funny at all. I couldn’t help thinking, “Who cares?” I think that is why I stuck it out to the end. Usually, in classics, the character has some epiphany moment or there is a moral to the story. But no. I ended the book and felt like I could have spent that time reading a book I would actually enjoy.

I seriously don’t understand why this book made the Modern Library’s Top 100 list. Granted it was 99 so it barely made it but I am sure that I can find plenty of titles that could have made the list easily. I didn’t find this one great at all.

Has someone else read this book and enjoyed it? Can you shed some light on this one because I am failing to see it.

Your Truly,

Book Admirer