Book Review: Veronika Decides to Die

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Now, I’m normally not a big fan of Paulo Coelho. The first book I read for him, The Alchemist, did not inspire me in any way. I didn’t understand why it was a bestseller, nor why so many people loved and recommended it. However, I did not stop there. Since he was such a popular author, I kept reading and reading (I have a curious nature) and actually liked some of his books. These include Eleven Minutes, Like the Flowing River, and most recently, Veronika Decides to Die. If anyone reads Paulo Coelho, you’ll notice that the books I liked were the ones which did not involve (or minimally involved) magic and witches and all that material he normally includes.

Veronika Decides to Die is a book about Veronika who decides to kill herself. She has had enough of life, its routines, its expectationsand disappointments. She felt no value to her existence and felt she has reached the end of her journey. Life was meaningless, she neither felt extremely happy nor extremely sad. As she attempts to commit suicide, she is somehow saved and realizes she hasn’t died, but instead has damaged her health and is going to die “eventually”. Needless to say I don’t want to delve in further and give the story away, we see her perception of life, why she decides to kill herself, some stories about herself, and people she encounters.

I think anyone who is going through a rough time and keeps asking themselves “what am I doing here” can relate to this book. It’s a quick read and a good lesson for everyone out there willing to throw their lives away. It also teaches us a lesson about why some people go mad. We always want to conform to what society deems as normal, but inside of us we really just want to burst with whatever it is we want to do. Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:

“The happier people can be, the unhappier they are”
“Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern that merely contains”

Lesson learned? “Everyone is indeed crazy, but the craziest are the ones who don’t know they’re crazy; they just keep repeating what others tell them to” 🙂  Oh, and it’s being made into a movie (last I heard).

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