mercy's Reviews > Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
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May 08, 2015

it was amazing
Read in April, 2009

I am not sure whether among Paulo Coelho’s goals in writing ‘Veronika decides to die’ was to not only inform the readers of the exact location of Ljubljana, Slovenia but also to stir interest in its political circumstances in and around the year 1997 . If it was, it is safe to say that , that particular mission is accomplished as far as I am concerned. This book was first published in the year 2000 (ISBN # 0-06- 0I9612-2). The central theme of the book, contrary to what its title suggests is, living life to the fullest.

Predominantly set in a mental asylum, the tone and content of the book is cathartic. I salute and thank the author for keeping his promise to himself back in the 60s, the one he made to document the wisdom he gathered from his personal experiences in various mental asylums. Someone needed to speak for the misunderstood and perhaps feared non-conformists across the world. The author has made a case for people that have an inner voice, which they find impossible to suppress in spite of their “best” efforts . When this “disability” surfaces, it overtly , unfortunately and eventually sets them apart. When these people find no support from their families to be true to themselves, they experience what it is to have one’s soul squelched. He describes beautifully what it is to be strangled spiritually and mentally by one’s own parents (and well wishers) out of sheer, raw ,unadulterated love. But more importantly Coelho dips further into his wisdom and largess to offer an alternative to succumbing to this excruciating existence .
I would consider this book a self-help book for those that are non-conformists and for those that are not it is a revealing psychological journey into minds of people that are more in touch with their soul.
Coelho’s trademark style of writing is unmistakable. Precise, accurate but colloquial. In driving the point home to the simplest and the most alienated mind he doesn’t leave comprehension to chance, clearly explaining the technicalities of medicine in layman terms. In order to make all his points realistically he has created more than one character and pointed out the commonalities as well as discrepancies of their circumstances. He has brilliantly used chronology, political milieu, family dynamics, etc. to convince the reader of his thesis. Most fascinating is his usage of an irony within an irony, as he describes the mental asylum as the place where people are not only unexpectedly cured of their maladies but also for the exact opposite reason as the society would imagine academically . Coelho creates the perfect arena to spot light not only the dues one pays to live in a society organized by the majority but also the ramifications of paying those dues for certain individuals who are in minority.

I accidentally came upon this book. And I it consider a gift to society (for his other gifts visit . It has validated, clarified and accentuated many of my suspicions and beliefs accordingly. The fact that all the characters in this book have/ had families that were well to do is striking and confirms my suspicion, that people that grow up in well to do families run certain risks of being misunderstood that their economically less fortunate counterparts escape. All the characters described are those that have their lives cut out for them by an over indulgent resourceful and expectant family. They are partially self actualized individuals. One is supported by ones own conscience as well as by the society at large when one stands up against abuse. But when one is suffocated and smothered by love it can be extremely confusing to even think of charting an action plan to exit the maze.

Among the many goals of the novel, one is certainly to bring hope to people who dance to the music in their head or march to the beat of their own drum. And this novel does just that brilliantly and not to mention realistically.
I believe everyone comes to a point in their lives when they need this book. When you lay your hands on it, I strongly recommend you to read it and mull over it. There is much to be learnt and accepted in spite of the simplicity of the presentation.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new) - added it

Richard Solid review, Merc. Added to my list. Cheers. R.

mercy Richard wrote: "Solid review, Merc. Added to my list. Cheers. R."

Solid book-solid review . But thanx Richard.

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