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

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
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Sep 28, 2010

did not like it
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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02/10/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 51-85 of 85) (85 new)

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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly OK, give me your complete name and address and I'll send you a copy of my book. It's about time you get introduced to great literature.


message 52: by Kat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kat Tangney Veronika decides to die, not because of the reasons you listed, but because she realized life is meaningless without acknowledging that is half the fun.


message 53: by Alberto (new)

Alberto Carvajal So right PHONINESS IS NOW SUCH A TREND...PHONIE IS SO SHEIK?


Ekaterina Well, talking about all the people giving the book five stars - I am one of them for sure and I just wanted to post a quick comment about why I personally did it for a couple of Coelho's books. I think the writer has a certain way to make one (at least me :) think for a moment of life and destiny and other metaphysics and realise that I actually do have an opinion on that - completely different from Coelho's, that's for sure - but the thought alone is worth the reading time. May be some people need to be more positive and open minded? :) PS And no, you don't sound better than Coelho.... not yet, keep it up though and having written 10 or 11 books... :P


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Well, that would be a nice title for the next Coelho novel: "Life and Destiny and Other Metaphysics."


Jhebz Cuaro didnt like much of Coelo's books except for The Alchemist for its simplicity and etcc (as simple as that). But for I am currently reading Veronika Decides to Die. I dont have much hope or expectation though considering my experience with BRIDA. Boring novel!


message 57: by Joselito Honestly (last edited Apr 25, 2014 08:12PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Well, according to my Brazilian friend Cynthia Nine who has read Coelho in his original Portuguese and in English--

"...However, I read parts of "The alchemist" in both languages later on and in English I didn't (maybe because I couldn't) spot any mistakes. Just a normal, boring book. His original works are full of basic grammar errors which were wiped away by a the hands of a magically skilled translator. I have nothing against Paulo Coelho as a person, I actually think he is entertaining and has had an interesting life. Being Brazilian, I truly wanted to appreciate his works and look up to him. But I just can't stand an author who underestimates the reader by completely ignoring the rules of his own mother language, as if his stories weren't already ridiculous enough without all those appalling grammar crimes. Coelho is a terrific marketing strategist and he only gives what people want to take (self help crap with a bit of magic or self help crap with a bit of sex / drugs). What is more, he was the partner of one of Brazilian's top rock stars who died young, so success was expected. But he could at least have shown more respect towards this little, meaningless thing called "writing" before launching a book. Or am I asking too much? "


message 58: by Delnavaa (last edited May 10, 2014 11:43PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Delnavaa Hi Joselito, I read your review and I may agree that this was not Coelho's best writing, at least translated into English. But I beg to albeit respectfully considering your point of view, differ that it is a simple book, "A masterpiece of nothingness, like a gigantic void proud of its vast emptiness." I think for anyone who has suffered depression or some kind of isolation without knowing what has happened to them and why they are the way they are, this is a solid book of the comprehension of human psychology and mental illness. As you know sometimes it is hard to tackle difficult subjects such as this one in a non-fictional setting and much easier to express it by way of fiction. Indeed, it was a story about his own experience and wanting to chose a path and his parents having wanted him to chose a different path. It is also a story about those choosing to take the easy route to life and for not wanting to take responsibility for living or even appreciating it no matter how nonsensical it may be. I found the end to be most captivating, a social experiment Coelho ends it well for the protagonist... he makes her work for her life, to really desire it to see it's worth and to assure everyone that there is no sense of normality. I found the passage about the king and queen drinking from the fountain which made them as crazy as their servants so to appear normal and conformist... this is so true in politics, in our social setting, at work, at school and it is absolutely absurd. However Coelho also makes it a point to say that this should not stop anyone from wanting to live because they are different or non-conformist but even more so to push forward and change the perceptions of those who ever doubted them! In any case thanks for your review and I am glad we can share out point of view :) I will be copying this as my review


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Thank you Delnavaa. Your comments are as hypnotic as your eyes.


Brittany But she doesn't decide to die because of *reasons* (phony or not). She really decided because her life became monotonous, so she had no emotional attachment to life and therefore no aversion to but a welcoming of death...


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I think you are young and innocent, Brittany. One of the innocents referred to by Roberto Bolano in one of his articles about the National Literature Prize in Chile. He said:


"First of all, so there can be no mistake about it: Enrique Lihn and Jorge Teillier never received the National Literature Prize. Lihn and Teillier are dead now.

"To the matter at hand, then. Asked to choose between the frying pan and the fire, I choose Isabel Allende. The glamour of her life as a South American in California, her imitations of Garcia Marquez, her unquestionable courage, the way her writing ranges from the kitsch to the pathetic and reveals her as a kind of Latin American and politically correct version of the author of 'The Valley of the Dolls': all of this, though it may seem hard to believe, makes her work highly superior to the work of born paper-pushers like Skarmeta and Teitelboim.

"In other words: Allende's work is bad, but it's alive; ot's anemic, like lot of Latin Americans, but it's alive. It won't live long, like many sick people, but for now it's alive. And there's always the possibility of a miracle. Who knows? The ghost of Juana Ines de la Cruz could appear to Allende one day and present her with a readying list. Or the ghost of Teresa of Avila. Or all else failing, the ghost of Emilia Pardo Bazan. There's no such hope for the work of Slarmeta and Teitelboim. Even God can't save them. Still, to write--I swear I read it in a Chilean newspaper--that we need to hurry up and give Allende the National Prize before she wins the Nobel is no longer just a ridiculous farce, but proof that the author of such a claim is a world-class idiot.

"Are there really innocents who think like this? And are the people who think like this actually innocents or simply incarnations of a folly that has swept not just Chile but all of Latin America? Not long ago, Nelida Pinon--celebrated Brazilian novelist and serial killer of readers--said that Paulo Coelho, a kind of soap opera Rio witchdoctor version of Barbusse and Anatole France, should be admitted into the Brazilian Academy because he had made the Brazilian language known all over the globe. As if the 'Brazilian language' were a sanctified essence, capable of withstanding any translation, or as if the long-suffering readers on the Tokyo metro spoke Portuguese. Anyway, what is this 'Brazilian language'? You might as well talk about the Canadian language, or the Australian language, or the Bolivian language. True, there are Bolivian writers who seem to write in 'American,' but that's because they don't know how to write very well in Spanish or Castilian, even though--for better or for worse--they ultimately do write in Spanish.

"Where are we? That's right, Coelho and the Academy and the vacant seat that he was finally given, thanks among other things to his popularization of the 'Brazilian language' around the world. Frankly, reading this one might get the idea that Coelho has a (Brazilian ) vocabulary on a par with Joyce's 'Irish language.' Wrong. Coelho's prose, in terms of lexical richness, in terms of richness of vocabulary, is poor. What are his merits? The same as Isabel Allende's. He sells books. In other words: he's a successful author. And here we come to the heart of the matter. Prizes, seats (in the Academy), tables, beds, even golden chamber pots belong, of course, to those who are successful or to those who play the part of loyal and obedient clerks."


Brittany I hope you don't actually think anyone is going to read all that.
I believe your comment about my "youth and innocence" is meant to demean me; however, all it does is make you seem shallow ("phony"), searching for faults in others to criticize (much like your criticism of this book), rather than actually discussing the matter of the topic.

Joselito Honestly wrote: "I think you are young and innocent, Brittany. One of the innocents referred to by Roberto Bolano in one of his articles about the National Literature Prize in Chile. He said:


"First of all, so th..."



message 63: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather Great review. I hated the book tooI don't see how the hell folks even like this firestarter. They come up with all sorts of weird intreptations and reasons for it.


Hipnacio what a troll


message 65: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Mcbride Bit harsh on Coehlo fans! Lol! I went through a Coehlo phase... And then got cynical and fed up reading the same twee philosophies! Still, he does have a way of drawing (sucking) you in. I lost the will when I realized you could buy journals filled with this self-help/discovery stuff.


message 66: by MN (new) - rated it 1 star

MN Agreed.


message 68: by Jr (last edited Jun 13, 2015 09:53AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jr Bacdayan you had me at morons. i had fun reading all the young minds and their comments defending coelhorsecrap. *sigh* if only i got the guts to write the same thing about faulkner lol jk. love you, old bill.


Manny 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!


Joselito, now I want to read your short story "The Martian Who Rewrote The Alchemist"! When are you releasing it?


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Well, for me to write such a short story, as part of the diligence all serious writers do, I should first read The Alchemist.

But I'd rather die than read that damn thing!


Manny I can already hear your Martian hero saying exactly that. He would consider it a matter of honor not to read a word of the original, and base his rewrite entirely on what he had read about it on Goodreads.

In case you're wondering, I haven't read The Alchemist either and have not the slightest intention of doing so.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I'm relieved. For a moment I thought you were baiting me into reading another Coelho!

Thanks for dropping by Manny and Jr.


message 73: by Lina (new) - rated it 1 star

Lina Thank you. So. Much.

This book hurt me almost physically. And, contrary to what one of your earlier comments said, I, suffering from depressions for ohfuckhowlongagain, did not connect to it. Rather, I disconnected the second he started claiming shit about mental illnesses.

Sometimes, I ask myself whether Coelho writes this shit deliberately in order to receive an assisted suicide. But I suppose that thought is cynical even for me...


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly I'm not sure if you're serious or funny. But thanks for dropping by.


message 75: by Lina (new) - rated it 1 star

Lina I'm both. I strive to be a paradox at any given time.

But I DO fucking hate Coelho.


message 76: by Ivonne (new)

Ivonne Rovira Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly said: "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!"


Actually, you sure do!


Carolina Morales 'he had made the Brazilian language known all over the globe. As if the 'Brazilian language' were a sanctified essence, capable of withstanding any translation, or as if the long-suffering readers on the Tokyo metro spoke Portuguese. Anyway, what is this 'Brazilian language'?'

There is no Brazilian language. Brazilian Portuguese is far less world spread than European Portuguese, but even for us, PC is the most disgusting phony author EVER. Plus, he got into the Academy because, except for Nelida Pinon, nowadays there are only lame *suckers* there.


Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly Haha. I like funny girls! You three should hang out together sometime.


message 79: by Ivonne (new)

Ivonne Rovira Carolina wrote: "There is no Brazilian language. Brazilian Portuguese is far less world spread than European Portuguese, but even for us, PC is the most disgusting phony author EVER...."

OK, I speak Spanish. Latin American Spanish isn't that different from Castillian. While movies might be dubbed in both, no one would bother to "translate" one into the other in a book. Are Brazilian and European Portuguese that different? I used to assume not, but now I'm wondering.

Portuguese is so pretty, BTW! The little Portuguese I know is from singing Michel Teló's "Ai Se Eu Te Pego." LOL! I use it in my Spanish class to show how soccer stars (football stars in the rest of the world) rule, and how Cristiano Ronaldo made a song famous worldwide. My poor, foolish American students can't believe that there are bigger stars than basketball stars. LOL!


Carolina Morales Ivonne wrote: "Carolina wrote: "There is no Brazilian language. Brazilian Portuguese is far less world spread than European Portuguese, but even for us, PC is the most disgusting phony author EVER...."

OK, I spe..."


I speak Spanish too! Indeed, Brazilian Portuguese is a great deal different from Iberic Portuguese, and African Portuguese is very similar to European one. Well, if you take Southern Spain Spanish and compare it to the Caribbean Islands Spanish (i.e. Domenican Republic) you can have some idea of the cultural, lexic and pronunciation gap between European and Brazilian Portuguese.

Oh please! Michel Telo is as shameful as Paulo Coelho! Try this one: It's a cute video and it has subtitles so you can sing along https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qT6s3...


Carolina Morales Joselito Honestly wrote: "Haha. I like funny girls! You three should hang out together sometime."

Damn, I'm definitively living on the wrong continent!


Gayane It's not like you put it, I think. I, for example, don't consider this book as deep, and have read it so. It's quite interesting to read, though. Like watching a movie. If you looked at that point of view, I think you would enjoy it too.


Nazreen Nazreen Lol your comment is funny...although I still did like the book :)


Razibul Hassan I enjoyed your comment more than I enjoyed this book.


message 85: by Cemre (new)

Cemre I agree, you sound better than the writer. Thank you for warning me about this book, I was considering reading it, but I'll use my time for better books. Thank you, have a nice day.


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