This is a fable about a shepherd boy who travels to pursue his destiny. On his journey, he encounters many people who provide words of wisdom. At the beginning, the boy thinks, "People say strange things, the boy thought. Sometimes it's better to be with the sheep, who don't say anything. And better still to be alone with one's books. They tell their incredible stories at the time when you want to hear them. But when you're talking to people, they say some things that are so strange that you don't know how to continue the conversation." That is exactly how I felt about this book; it was full of things so strange that I just didn't know how to continue in the conversation. Clearly, the author's intent was to inspire. I was completely uninspired. Since millions of people seem to have been profoundly moved by it, maybe there is something wrong with me.
The most significant reason I didn't like this book is because Coelho tries to pull facets of every religion into helping the boy reach his destiny. Last time I checked, all the religions of the world don't mesh real well together. Pick one. Stick with it. Don't try to merge them all together. It doesn't work in a fable, let alone in real life.
There you are. I hated the thing. And now all of you know it and I've disappointed my friend, my person-I-care-for-deeply, and the millions of people reading this blog who loved it. Maybe I'll try reading it in the original language (Portuguese). If change my opinion maybe you all will like me again.