(Originally posted on my livejournal account: http://intoyourlungs.livejournal.com/28244.html)
Why I Read It: My aunt bought this for my brother last year for Christmas and has been imploring me for years to read it as well. This book fell into my This Is Short So I Actually Have Time to Read It list, so I just went for it.
So this story is obviously an allegory. I'm pretty sure this is a Common Sense kind of thing for most people who know of this book, but regardless, I'm glad I knew of it ahead of time because I might have been a bit thrown off by the writing style had I not. It's told in a fairy-tail-ish manner, where everything is very matter-of-fact and direct. For the most part, I enjoyed the writing style and found myself kind of lulled by the cadence of the prose, which overall helped me immerse myself into the story better.
The plot itself is fine too -- again, very simple and unadorned -- and it gives the message it wants to give in a neatly packed little fable.
It was the message of the story that I struggled with. I found it read waayyy too much like a self-help book. I mean, I get it, it's a fable so it's supposed to have a moral of some sort, but this book's moral didn't particularly jive with me. The whole "You have a destiny and everything in the universe is in place for you to complete it, you just have to go and DO it and have faith blahblahblah" is a slice of philosophy/religion/what have you that I just don't buy. The universe doesn't had everything to you and you just have to complete the steps; that isn't how life works and this book HAMMERS this kind of stuff over your head over and over and over again.
However, this is obviously a very subjective kind of thing, so your mileage may vary. I can see why so many people like this book and why others find it inspirational. It just didn't inspire me.
Final Judgment: The fairy-tale writing style and the simple and unadorned story were nice, but the overall message contained in the story wasn't particularly to my liking. However, if you're looking for some a short inspirational fable that has a dash of religion to it (without being overbearing) then you might enjoy this. As for me, I found it read a little too much like a self-help book a Coelho hammers his readers over the head with his philosophy.