Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly's Reviews > Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
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Oct 22, 10

Read in September, 2010

Pretty, single, 24-year-old Veronika decides to die for two reasons, both of them phony: one, because she realizes she will one day be old; and two, because a lot of things are wrong in this world. She then takes a lot of sleeping pills. While waiting to die, as if she's waiting for her cat to finish drinking its milk, Veronika decides to read a magazine and then write to the editor of that magazine. Which made the scene cartoonish.

This rare combination of phoniness and cartoonishness gelled and gave birth to this masterpiece. A masterpiece of nothingness, like a gigantic void proud of its vast emptiness. Paolo Coelho is like a god, not only to those who worship him, for he has created something out of nothing using the time-tested way of hoodwinking morons who read books like this: sprinkling lots of amphibologies and gobbledygooks to a plotless tale of nonsense. Gripping their highlighters, these morons would then make passages like this shine in neon, marvel at how deep they are, and then give the book a 5-star rating at goodreads.com--

"We all live in our own world. But if you look up at the starry sky, you'll see that all the different worlds up there combine to form constellations, solar systems, galaxies." (p.162).

He could have added: If you feel all alone in this big, wide world as if you carry the weight of all the sadness there is, then look up at the starry, starry sky during a starry, starry night and realize that there are aliens living in all those other planets who, in their solitude, likewise pine for the worlds they cannot see.

Damn, I sure do sound better than Coelho!
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 81) (81 new)


Emir Never LOL! I need to reread Coelho, haha!


K.D. Absolutely Hala, magagalit sa yo si Jzhun! Die-hard Coelho yon.


message 3: by jzhunagev (last edited Sep 28, 2010 06:07PM) (new)

jzhunagev K.D. wrote: "Hala, magagalit sa yo si Jzhun! Die-hard Coelho yon."

Ahahaha! :D Ganun ba talaga? When there's talk about Coelho my name always crops (sprouts? Ahahaha! XD) up?
I'm not die-hard fan. In fact, I've only read two of his books so far. I just love his "wisdom" in "The Alchemist" that's why I adore him as an author, or to a far extent, as a humanist.
Well, if that's how Atty. Joselito sees it, then so be it. Haven't read this book, though. So it's kinda hard to give my opinion on it.
What I've learned is to respect everyone's opinion and it's his review anyway.


Emir Never Ayan parang dumidilim na ang paningin ni Jzhun: " it's his review anyway. "


K.D. Absolutely Maga-amok na yan!


Emir Never Hak hak, tago tayo!


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly this was my first Coelho. I haven't read the Alchemist. I only read this because it's one of the two Coelhos in the 1001 list (the other one is the devil in(and?) miss prym or something).

This book, however, is really horrible. May katamaran yung author, didn't even check things out. Like in one scene, a character(supposedly a seasoned lawyer) suspected her coffee was poisoned or something which made her ill. She then said she's going TO THE PROSECUTOR AND THE BAR to run after whoever tried to poison her. This was incorrect. Under the situation where you don't have a suspect yet, you go to the police for the police to gather evidence first or investigate. Not to the prosecutor who only prosecutes if there is evidence already against a particular suspect. Why go to the BAR also? The BAR is just the association of lawyers. Thus, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines refer to ALL living lawyers in the Phils (because membership is compulsory).


K.D. Absolutely Agreed. After all, he is a drug addict. He just went to Spain and wrote The Pilgrimage. He got noticed. Then he wrote The Alchemist. Bingo, he suddenly became popular. Now he has all these other books one after the other and I am not sure why people buy and read those.


marie K.D. wrote: "Agreed. After all, he is a drug addict. He just went to Spain and wrote The Pilgrimage. He got noticed. Then he wrote The Alchemist. Bingo, he suddenly became popular. Now he has all these other bo..."

I reviewed him before and decided to be kind because my initial comments about him were dismissive and I was conscious that there were a lot of Coelho fans in the egroup. I also thought, eh, siya nakasulat ng libro, ikaw wala, but as a reader, I wondered why this ended in the 1001 list. He even inserts himself as a character in the book (wince). I read the flowery The Alchemist, too. He's simplistic in a way that Antoine de Saint Exupery's The Little Prince is not.


message 10: by K.D. (last edited Sep 29, 2010 05:52PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely I gave this a 4-star rating. I was still recuperating from my knee operation when I decided to read this as I knew Paulo Coelho has this power to inspire. Years ago, I was not yet into heavy reading, I read his The Alchemist because my local celebrities then were saying that this Coelho book was their favorite ha ha.

I thought that this book, Veronika Decides to Die is the best* Coelho book but since my brother pointed out his katamaran citing that example, I thought that I was too generous with the 4 stars.

------
* - I've finished 4 so far: The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, Veronika Decides to Die and The Devil and Miss Prym. I have 3 more in my tbr pile: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Zahir and The Witch of the Portobello. Except The Pilgrimage, most of these books were Christmas gifts from my officemates.
In fact, I have two brand new copies of The Zahir. If you want to borrow any of those, please tell me. I can even give you The Zahir for free.

Yes, I have been refraining from giving 1-star because it looks to harsh. But in Goodreads it means "I don't like it". I spend my hard-earned money and sleeping time to read books. If after reading a certain book and I don't like, even if I have not written one yet, why pretend that it is okay by giving 2 stars? Worse, giving it 3 stars that means "I like it"?


Emir Never K.D. wrote: "I gave this a 4-star rating. I was still recuperating from my knee operation when I decided to read this as I knew Paulo Coelho has this power to inspire. Years ago, I was not yet into heavy readin..."

K.D., give The Zahir to someone you hate or someone who'd give it a good bashing. I didn't even review that one. As for The Alchemist and Veronika, I read this when I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody...Wait, that's a song. In short, I have youth as an excuse.

Some ratings I gave I'm sure will chance if I read the books again. That's not just for Coelho. Good thing about being exposed to all these writings is that you develop a more critical eye, or a certain standard of your own.


Emir Never "I was still recuperating from my knee operation when I decided to read this" And K.D., can claim he was drugged. :D


message 13: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely As in, hilo pa ako sa anaesthesia kaya ako nagandahan.


Emir Never K.D. wrote: "As in, hilo pa ako sa anaesthesia kaya ako nagandahan."

Haha!


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I also don't believe that because you've not written any book then you should not give failing marks to books you review. Look at beauty contests, the contestants are beautiful but all the judges are ugly. The contestants don't tell the judges they have no right to give them low scores because they themselves should fail beauty-wise.

Also, giving a book a nice rating because of friendship(whether with the author or its readers) is intellectual dishonesty. It even has an evil effect: it misleads other readers. Maybe even contribute to the proliferation of books like Veronika (sabi nyo maganda e, so sulat lang sya ng sulat, bili naman kayo ng bili).


message 16: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Exactly. On the other hand, if you say that it is not good you might be depriving other interested readers who believe in your taste. It is difficult to be looked up to by your friends ha ha. So, I sometimes say "don't take my word for it".


Nenette Tata J, you sure sound/write better :) Pinahiram sa kin ni Doni ang book, and I'll read it because I'm intrigued by your review. This is just my second Coelho book...I couldn't remember liking The Alchemist, but it was ages ago.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Naku, don't read it. Waste of time. Read, instead, THE KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN. Very tender gay love scenes between two men. You would feel like having an orgy with them.


message 19: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Ha ha. Nakupo!


Nenette Yikes!!!


Emir Never Haha, muntik na akong masamid sa kape ko pagkabasa ko ng rekomendasyon mo, Attorney!

Uy, we won yesterday. We're facing Argentina today. If we win delikading ang mga Realista sa kalderetang kambing.


message 22: by mark (new)

mark monday "morons"...so harsh. but what a great review, so funny. and a good reason to never to read coelho!


Irina You must have never previously experienced the same emotions portrayed in this novel if you are saying it is not realistic. Any emotive novel can be described as foolish or shallow when the reader has not felt what is being described. From a logical stand point, emotions are irrational and those who have not felt them cannot understand them.


message 24: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely That's right, Irina. I agree with you.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly You both mean, one day you've realized that just like your dog, you will grow old, and because of this realization, you wanted to kill yourself, and thought that while you are dying, you will read the latest issue of Time Magazine, then write the editor about something that catches your attention? Is this: a."irrational emotion"; b. plain insanity; 3. a poorly conceived literary plot?


message 26: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely Huh? Not old people think of killing himself/herself. Also, the Veronika in the story is not even old yet.

This book, for me, is the best of Coelho's works. Not even The Alchemist compares to it.


Emir Never K.D. wrote: "Huh? Not old people think of killing himself/herself. Also, the Veronika in the story is not even old yet.

This book, for me, is the best of Coelho's works. Not even The Alchemist compares to it."


K.D., Joselito talks about the character's realization that "you will grow old". Veronika is indeed not old.


message 28: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely I was agreeing with Irina's point.


Irina Joselito wrote: "You both mean, one day you've realized that just like your dog, you will grow old, and because of this realization, you wanted to kill yourself, and thought that while you are dying, you will read ..."


In the book she does not realize that she will grow old; it is something she always knew, common sense. What she realized is that she hates her life, although there appears to be nothing wrong with it.

Not only is she bored and unsatisfied of her present, she has also lost all hope for her future.
The feeling of depression is bearable when there is still an ounce of hope within you, but when that is lost, you feel nothing more to live for.

So, what she really realized is that all the things that will come with her future will make her depression grow to a point where it will become entirely unbearable to live with and by then, her suicide will affect society much more greatly (Her husband and kids).

As opposed to enduring a life of pain and suffering, she makes the decision to end it now instead of ending it later. The book implies that she has always wanted to end her life but was simply not brave enough. She finally got the courage to end it and it was because she simply did not want to live anymore; she was bored of life.

In all honesty, if I come to a realization that I dont want to live, I would leave a suicide note. But she didn't feel her life is significant enough, she didn't care about what will be left behind.

And just incase, some hope does come from somewhere, she kills herself slowly. She probably had an idea of what would make her want to live, but thought it was out of reach / a mere fantasy that only exists in her dreams.

To pass the time, she lived the remainder of her life the way she always would and not thinking of the last minutes of her life as monumental in any way. Maybe if she had a computer she would go on Facebook and MSN or on this website and write book reviews.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly What's this, a sequel or a prequel? These things you say here, Irina, are not in the book. What you really like is not Veronika Decides to Die, but an unwritten book conceived during your hallucinations, which you've mistaken for the book I've reviewed here.


message 31: by K.D. (last edited Nov 09, 2010 12:51AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely What she realized is that she hates her life, although there appears to be nothing wrong with it.

Not only is she bored and unsatisfied of her present, she has also lost all hope for her future.
The feeling of depression is bearable when there is still an ounce of hope within you, but when that is lost, you feel nothing more to live for.


The above particularly is in the book. Not verbatim but I think should be the common interpretation of what Paolo is trying to impart. When Irina used "I" in her post that is her interpretation but I share her views.


marie Joselito wrote: "I also don't believe that because you've not written any book then you should not give failing marks to books you review. Look at beauty contests, the contestants are beautiful but all the judges a..."

Okay, just because I haven't written a book is no reason to give all books in the list 3 stars.


Irina Joselito wrote: "What's this, a sequel or a prequel? These things you say here, Irina, are not in the book. What you really like is not Veronika Decides to Die, but an unwritten book conceived during your hallucina..."

Actually all the facts that I have stated I can justify with quotes. If you re-read the book you may see it from this perspective and make that realization as well.


message 34: by K.D. (new) - rated it 3 stars

K.D. Absolutely I hope we don't get to that point, Irina. I know what you mean and I could probably do the same. Thanks for accepting my invite.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I hope she proves it. I'm sure what will come out is that these were just her INTERPRETATIONS of what's in the book.


Irina Joselito wrote: "I hope she proves it. I'm sure what will come out is that these were just her INTERPRETATIONS of what's in the book."

An interpretation is a direct translation of what is written. That is my interpretation as is yours in what you have written.


marie Irina wrote: "Joselito wrote: "I hope she proves it. I'm sure what will come out is that these were just her INTERPRETATIONS of what's in the book."

An interpretation is a direct translation of what is written...."


An interpretation is your own understanding of what the text means.

in·ter·pre·ta·tion (n-tûrpr-tshn)
n.
1. The act or process of interpreting.
2. A result of interpreting.
3.
a. An explanation or conceptualization by a critic of a work of literature, painting, music, or other art form; an exegesis.
b. A performer's distinctive personal version of a song, dance, piece of music, or role; a rendering.


Irina http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/interpr...

An act of interpreting or explaining what is obscure; a translation; a version; a construction; A sense given by an interpreter; an exposition or explanation given; meaning ; The power of explaining;


Emir Never Joselito, how effective your review is.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly also, if what is written is clear and unambiguous then you must not "interpret". The book says Veronika decided to kill herself because she realized she's going to grow old and she sees so many things wrong in this world. Period. That's what is written there. So when you add that she decided to kill herself because she's bored, hates her life, unsatisfied with her present, had lost hope for her future, etc.--that's no longer interpretation. You are already rewriting the novel or creating a new one.


message 41: by Courtney (last edited Jan 02, 2011 03:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Courtney I suppose you (since this is obviously your review) have never felt anything like what Veronika feels in this book. But I assure you, it is not phony in any way. I have feared growing older, and even been depressed by the thought of it, because the idea that I would grow older and nothing in life would change or get better, or that I would be stuck living a "normal" life, made me sick. I see this as being, more or less, how Veronika felt. But these things and feelings, and the ones that Irina has pointed out, are pretty-well implied. Of course, if you don't relate to it, there is no reason for you to be nice about it. But I wanted to give you another point-of-view.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I also assure you Courtney that if you reread Coelho 30 years from now you'll not only find his books, but your gushing reviews of his books, ridiculous.


message 43: by Shutterbug_iconium (last edited Feb 18, 2011 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Shutterbug_iconium Different strokes for different folks. You may have hated the book but to call those who love this book 'morons' sounds a bit weird.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly i'm not saying those who love this book are all morons. I'm just saying that there are morons who love this book. And there'll be morons who will love this book.


Irina Joselito wrote: "i'm not saying those who love this book are all morons. I'm just saying that there are morons who love this book. And there'll be morons who will love this book."

There are also morons who don't love this book and there'll be morons who don't love this book.

What's your point?


Shutterbug_iconium Joselito wrote: "i'm not saying those who love this book are all morons. I'm just saying that there are morons who love this book. And there'll be morons who will love this book." That's a pretty lame reasoning.I am outta here.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly My review then has decided to die.


message 48: by Bill (new)

Bill actually, i think your review is great joselito. i haven't read any of coelho's books because they all look and sound phoney to me. and yet he's world famous. go figure.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly indeed, he has many admirers. I had long wanted to forget this book, and even this review, but they keep on popping out in my inbox because every now and then someone gives in an evil eye, taking offense that i called coelho's fans morons (i swear i didn't).


Irina Bill wrote: "actually, i think your review is great joselito. i haven't read any of coelho's books because they all look and sound phoney to me. and yet he's world famous. go figure."

Funny how only person to agree hasn't read the book.


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