A Very Literary Wiki

Number 94 on the BBC's Big Read.

Number 24 on the 2006 World Book Day poll.

First read (January 2021)[]

Finally read a paperback copy that my colleague and friend, Laura, had lent me the previous year. It's a short book and I read it in 3 days.

My copy had an interesting foreword by the author, describing his experience of writing and releasing it. I was interested to discover it had been written by a Brazilian, and its slow rise to worldwide acclaim must have been quite the experience.

I kinda liked the feel of the story, how the boy followed his heart and didn't get too attached to things or let his fears stop him, but I was very sceptical of the way it was all framed. I am not sure people who hold this book dear are going to be happier for it. It was too self-helpy, full of advice from someone basically just some random guy. It was interesting to read about the boy's life in Spain and his experience with the crystal shop and the journey through Africa, that was all fine, but the point of it seems to be the author's opinion about how to be happy, and I disagree with most of that part of it. The universe will conspire to help you? No it won't. You've got to listen to omens? That's superstition and totally unhelpful. I did like that it advocated for quite an easy-going approach to life, but it was too preachy and the religious elements totally turned me off.