books and cleverness

I read books of all sorts, but mostly kids' lit and young adult literature and speculative fiction for all ages—usually from a feminist perspective. 


I've adopted a personalized version of the CHOICE reviews approach to recommendations/star ratings:

***** = Essential, a.k.a. truly love, absolute must-read, buy it now
**** = Highly Recommended, a.k.a. this is a really good book; I would buy it as a gift
*** = Recommended, a.k.a. pretty good; worth reading
** = Optional, a.k.a. meh
* = Not Recommended; a.k.a. this is not a good book

The Alchemist (audiobook)

The Alchemist - Jeremy Irons, Paulo Coelho

What is there to like?

♦ "Read by Jeremy Irons." This actually is the reason I listened to it, so: mission accomplished!

♦ The primary message, that you should seek out what is most important for you to do with your life, and do whatever you can to accomplish it or else you will probably spend your life dissatisfied and/or regretful, is something that makes perfect sense to me (but see below).


What is there not to like?

♦ That primary message, although I agree with it, seems like it is such common sense that it doesn't need to be stated? It's not a compelling or surprising message, so I can't really think of this as a compelling or surprising work of literature.

♦ Additionally, I have a hard time understanding why it would be convincing or helpful for people to be told that pursuing their life's purpose is predetermined by the universe, and that they have an obligation to the universe to pursue it. That seems like the opposite of empowering.


Overall Recommendation: Optional (="meh")