I am big fan of Paulo Coelho. His books are always thought provoking and more often than not, encourage one to re-assess their outlook in life at the end of each book. Although I didn’t enjoy Veronika Decides to Die as much as the other books I’ve read from Coelho, it was still worth the read.
The story revolves around twenty-four year old Veronika who has everything that a girl her age could want in life. Yet with all that she possesses, she is still unhappy and decides to take her own life by an overdose of sleeping pills. Her plan fails and she wakes up in Villette; a mental hospital, only to be told that she is destined to die as her suicide attempt had caused irreversible damage to her heart.
The knowledge that she would die suddenly changes her perception and attitude towards life and the changes also effect those surrounding her like Zedka, Mari and Eduard; central characters with their background and history introduced in detail in the book and how they are each affected by Veronika’s presence . Another very central character of the book is Dr Igor; who is not featured much in the storyline but plays a very important role in getting the theme and the message across to the readers.
The book explores three important themes, conformity, madness and death. The intended message is thought provoking yet true; one must discover the true value in life, live it to the fullest, do not conform to the mundane norms and savour every moment, do the things that you want to do and care not what others think of you. Be different, be mad but be happy and live today as if it is the last day of your life.
Personally, I preferred Coelho’s other works but Veronika Decides to Die is still worth taking the time to read. It had great lessons in life but a slow paced storyline focused on Veronika. True to Coelho’s writing style, Veronika Decides to Die has philosophical elements that would encourage the reader to evaluate their own beliefs and paths in their life.
The movie version will be out sometime this year starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. For more information, please click here.
Next Book: The Book of Lost Things