Jonathan S. Harbour's Reviews > Veronika Decides to Die

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
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bookshelves: literary-fiction

No spoilers. I enjoyed the fresh perspective of this Portuguese author who wove an enjoyable read despite some issues in translation. I suspect some idioms didn't survive the conversion to English, but overall it was very readable. I've seen the movie a couple times; it followed the book quite well. The ending was rather abrupt but I found that I liked that too--no long-winded emotional scene or flag for a possible sequel, popular in so much American writing where, too often, the trilogy rules. This book was on the short side so I was glad to have gotten it for a sale price. I won't read it again as it doesn't appeal to me enough to warrant another reading. Coelho delves into mental health rather deeply and we're told the story of three characters, so it's not just about Veronika (who looks nothing like Sarah Gellar, by the way). I'll keep this mini review short as I really don't feel like analyzing it in depth. Since I've read mostly sci-fi for my entire life, I'm not qualified to do so anyway. But this year I promised myself to read literary fiction and some classics.

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Quotes Jonathan Liked

Paulo Coelho
“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.”
Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

Paulo Coelho
“When I came here, I was deeply depressed. Now I’m proud to say I’m insane. Outside I’ll behave exactly like everyone else. I’ll go shopping at the supermarket, I’ll exchange trivialities with my friends, I’ll waste precious time watching television. But I know that my soul is free and that I can dream and talk with other worlds that, before I came here, I didn’t even imagine existed.”
Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die

Reading Progress

June 20, 2016 – Shelved
June 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 3, 2017 – Started Reading
February 4, 2017 –
25.0% "I'm not a fan of the English translation of the original Portuguese, as quite a bit seems to have been lost in translation (for example, the phrase, "Strength to Strength"--what does that mean?) But I'm enjoying the story. I wonder why it's so popular? Morbid curiosity? It's not brilliant writing. There are few quotables. So, I don't get why there's a mountain of reviews."
February 7, 2017 –
February 9, 2017 –
February 10, 2017 –
60.0% "I wouldn't say I'm a Paulo Coelho fan but I am enjoying this novel, despite problems with the translation (which should have been reviewed by another translator before going to print)."
February 13, 2017 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
February 13, 2017 – Finished Reading

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