Hippie by Paulo Coehlo – Book Review

I’m a member of a Goodreads book club, and as part of their destination reading challenge this year, we were asked to travel to a place in South America, or read a book written by an author from that area, for Feb’s challenge. I couldn’t finish the book within Feb, so I can’t get my reading passport stamped for Brazil sadly.

I also am trying to catch up with reading the books I own, instead of buying too many new books each month, so that’s why I picked up Hippie by Paulo Coehlo, one of the author’s I like and have read many books of, and one of the books that I own and haven’t read 🙂

Destination for Feb: Brazil (Author or the setting of the story)

Book Chosen: Hippie by Paulo Coehlo

The cover is quite simple and eye catching I thought

I haven’t read all of Paulo Coehlo’s books, but I have read five of his books, including Hippie. My husband has read even more of this books. These are the books of his that I have read:

The Alchemist – I know this is the international bestseller, but this was my least favourite of his works that I’ve read. Maybe I wasn’t in the right place, when I read this book and probably need a re-read

Eleven Seconds – This was an unusual recommendation given by a random stranger during one of those drunken discussions/encounters I had in a pub. And yet, this is the book that made a mark on me. That has remained a favourite and stayed in my mind till this date

Manuscript of Accra – I did like this book and read it as a non-fiction book on spirituality which had some really interesting teachings that I could use in my life as well

Adultery – Ok, didn’t like this one at all. Because I was expecting him to write on similar lines as Eleven seconds, but he wrote about the downfalls of adultery in this book, which I didn’t like as much

And finally, the book in question – Hippie.

Hippie is like an autobiographical venture, where the author talks about finding himself and answers to some questions in his life, while on a road trip journey on a ‘magic bus’ from Amsterdam to Istanbul. There are other passengers on the bus, who have their own story and there is Karla, his co-companion. Everyone has a back story, and is either fighting their demons, or searching for their purpose. The story is set during the famous Hippie era, so there is a lot of first hand information about what it was to be a ‘Hippie’ in those times and how they were treated by others around them.

Things I liked about the book:

  • You get a lot of first hand knowledge about the Hippie culture, the origin of the term, their way of living and what they believed in, the way they were treated or mis-treated during those days, from the book. I always like books that you can learn from
  • You also get introduced to different types of religions, nothing in depth, but a definite introduction to religions across the world such as Hinduism, Sufism, Islam, Buddhism
  • A lot of information on different types of drugs and the differences in the effects that each drug has – almost like a manual, or guide..lol
  • As is always with Paulo’s books, there is a lot of spiritual learning that can be obtained from reading his books. For most parts, the simplicity of his writing and the joy with which he describes spirituality, will actually make you feel that joy while reading. Some parts of the books made me want to stand up and dance with an abandon, just like he did. Some parts made me smile, and some parts resonated with my own beliefs such as those of charity and how it gives more to the doer than the receiver

Things that didn’t work for me:

  • I can’t say this book was able to surpass the impact Eleven Seconds had for me. Again, maybe it was just the timing and the place in life when I read each book that made the difference
  • I can take writing on spirituality, but as soon as it intermingles with religion or a name or type of God, I start to lose interest, due to my recent conversion to Atheism. Maybe this is a phase too, who knows. But there were a lot of moments in the book when Paulo talks about God, discovering Him and finding oneself in Him. I just couldn’t relate to those bits at all
  • The ending felt sudden to me. As if the author decided he didn’t want to talk about it anymore, once the elation of the beginning of the journey had ended. I wanted to know more about Karla. I also thought there will be more information on the whole journey, like a book on travel. But actually, it was more about a book on spirituality, that just happened to take place for these people on board the magic bus 🙂

So, those were my thoughts about the book.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on the book?

Do you think religion and spirituality always have to co-exist?




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