Bonnie's Reviews > Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
5136858
's review
Feb 24, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: 1001, adult, literary-fiction, z-2016, mental-hospital-asylum, mental-illness
Read on January 02, 2016

You know how there are just certain things in life that your brain simply cannot comprehend no matter how hard you try? For me, that’s philosophy. Philosophy seems like something that should totally work for me, but the bigger picture, that moment of clarity, of understanding, NEVER comes. I signed up for Philosophy 101 in University and I’m not sure if I had the worst teacher known to man but I walked out less than halfway through the first class. The sole exception to this has been The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet. Say what you want, but that shit is legit. Veronika could take a lesson or two from Pooh Bear.

So, Veronika decides to die. That’s not a spoiler, clearly.

‘When she had achieved almost everything she wanted in life, she had reached the conclusion that her existence had no meaning, because every day was the same. And she had decided to die.’

She decides, over a period of months where she begins collecting sleeping pills, that there is essentially no more point to life because she’s already accomplished everything. So why continue to live it? Veronika takes the pills yet she’s discovered by an unknown individual and wakens to find herself in Villete, the infamous mental hospital. She’s devastated to find that she didn’t succeed in her task but is informed by the doctor that she damaged her heart irreparably and that she has less than a week to live. Initially, this book started off strong and it seemed as if it would be an interesting look into the workings of a mental illness but Paulo Coelho opted to go for a philosophical angle instead which flawed the whole point he was trying to make. Within these short 191 pages we’re introduced to other individuals currently staying at Villete: a woman with acute anxiety and a man with schizophrenia which are all meant to be traits of Coelho himself who was institutionalized when he was young.

‘In a world where everyone struggles to survive whatever the cost, how could one judge those people who decide to die? No one can judge. Each person knows the extent of their own suffering, or the total absence of meaning in their lives.’

There is much confusion when it comes to the medical aspects of the novel and the even more ridiculous plot twist. In a nutshell, this story is about reveling in our differences, the fact that what society views as “insanity” isn’t necessarily so, and the necessity for finding the beauty in each new day of life. While I understand what Paulo Coelho was intending with this story, taking a serious subject like attempted suicide and giving it a picture perfect (and unrealistic) ending made it all so very contrived.
11 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Veronika Decides to Die.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

04/30/2014 marked as: owned-tbr
04/30/2014 marked as: to-read-owned
05/01/2014 marked as: to-read-owned-physical
05/01/2014 marked as: to-read-owned-physical
05/01/2014 marked as: to-read-owned-physical
05/01/2014 marked as: to-read-owned-physical
05/01/2014 marked as: to-read-owned-print
05/01/2014 marked as: to-read-owned-print
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-print
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-physical
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-physical
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-print
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-print
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-print
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-print
05/01/2014 marked as: tbr-owned-print
01/02/2016 marked as: currently-reading
01/02/2016 marked as: read

No comments have been added yet.