Sorry this post has taken a while – we only met for book group last Wednesday and things have been super busy recently so I’ve only just had the chance to write this post!
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho was picked by a fellow reading group member who said that she’d actually already read it a few years ago and had been completely blown away by it. She felt it really spoke to her, in part due to personal issues going on in her life at the time. We were all pretty excited to read it, thinking we’d be enlightened by what it would tell us, etc etc, and I’m always up for a story that might make me re-evaluate my life! Plus it’s a really short novel so I thought even if I disliked it, it wouldn’t be too hard to finish…I read the first half and was, quite frankly, incredibly bored. I struggled to pay attention and my mind kept wandering. I thought, perhaps I need to read this in a quiet room, away from any possible distractions.I tried this- it didn’t work.I don’t usually give up on books unless I really am not enjoying them, but had it not been for this being a book group choice, I would have given up on this.
As it was, I carried on to the end and unfortunately my opinion didn’t change. I’m all for reading new styles of writing or something a little different, but I honestly have never struggled to concentrate on a book so much, and I never usually have a problem with this. I didn’t mind the ending really, but it didn’t make up for the rest unfortunately!Having spoken to fellow book club members, they felt largely the same, apart from 2 people – one of whom picked the book, who still enjoyed it but not as much as the first time she’d read it, and another member who found it really wonderful and enjoyable. The rest of us ranged from thinking it was ‘OK’ to really not enjoying it. I feel I sit somewhere in the middle- it’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, and maybe one day I’ll give it another go as it’s so short, but it definitely didn’t speak to me in the way it seems to have done for so many others!It isn’t that the story is particularly slow or uneventful. Things DO happen, and the messages that the main character learns are all largely positive and will no doubt be enlightening for many people, but the story just didn’t interest me and I couldn’t connect with this book or with these messages that the author was trying to get across. I feel kind of like I should have found it amazing since so many people loved it, and I don’t know if it was because it is written in the style of a ‘fable’ or some other reason I can’t put my finger on, but I feel so disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this as much as other people did… I guess that’s why everyone has different tastes though- it makes life interesting!
Some of his other novels look brilliant however, so I’ll still be giving those a go when I get time 🙂
Better luck next time…!
** Have you read The Alchemist? What did you think? I’d love to know your thoughts on this novel as it really seems to divide people! **
The next book group choice is The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman:
This is a story. In this ingenious and spell-binding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told.
Charged with mystery, compassion and enormous power, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ throws fresh light on who Jesus was and asks the reader questions that will continue to resonate long after the final page is turned.
For, above all, this book is about how stories become stories.