As much as books offer us entertainment and let us flee reality once in a while if we read between the lines, some invaluable lessons about life are likely to pop out on the surface. As a result, lately, I have decided to reread some of my most loved novels. This time I would read them as a full-grown adult and was beyond excited to see if I could discover something I simply wasn’t able to find as a teenager. And I surely did.
Maybe it was because 17-year-old me didn’t care so much about the hidden meanings. Or simply because I see things differently now and as a result, it’s quite impossible to miss the true message of the book. These three novels have certainly made me reexamine some things in life and will surely make you too.
After being told by a prophet that he is deemed to discover a treasure in the Egyptian desert, the young Santiago from Andalusia starts the journey of his lifetime. But before setting foot in the all-mighty Sahara, the shepherd is advised by a local elder, which turns out to be the king of Salem, to make wise use of the journey and find his ‘personal legend.’
I won’t give any further spoilers about this legend, as you have to read the book to truly understand what the king implies. The book is a fantastic piece of unforgettable literature that will make you think about life in a completely different way and have you wondering about the choices you make every single day.
What I learned: as much as it sounds cliché, everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. Every single event in our lives serves as a lesson we should never take for granted. But most importantly, life is way too short to put on hold doing the things you love to do!
The Book Thief
In the middle of the devastating events of World War II, a German girl is left without parents and forced to comply with the Nazi regime. Wars wipe up everything that comes in their ways. There is no room for kindness nor compassion. However, Liesel finds an escape from reality, at least a temporary one, in the form of books. But everything comes with a price. The only way she can flee from the horrors of war and enter the peaceful life of fiction and fantasy is to risk her life and become a book thief.
What I learned: even in the darkest of times, hope and goodness will find a way to peek through even for a little while. Humans are not born evil, but they rather manifest what they are taught.
Forget about Romeo and Juliet. The most epic gothic love affair happens in no other than Brontë‘s Wuthering Heights. The main male character, Heathcliff, is adopted by a wealthy family, who see him as an inferior human being. But the family’s biological daughter, Catherine, feels nothing but passionate love for him. Things get messy when their relationship is out of nowhere transformed into a love triangle, leading Heathcliff to leave. Three years later he returns as a man rolling in money and rage, desperate to revenge himself on the people who caused him pain and suffering.
What I learned: as much as love is seen as the most intense and wonderful feeling, love is at the same time the root of suffering. It seems that these two things are so intertwined with one another, that it is almost impossible to separate them. The deprivation of love and acceptance can take a great toll on our life since affection is the main emotion humans feed off to survive.