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Veronika Decides to Die

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In his latest international bestseller, the celebrated author of The Alchemist addresses the fundamental questions asked by millions: What am I doing here today? and Why do I go on living?Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for--youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacki In his latest international bestseller, the celebrated author of The Alchemist addresses the fundamental questions asked by millions: What am I doing here today? and Why do I go on living?Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for--youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up. Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up--at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live. The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life's final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before--hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before. In Veronika Decides to Die, Paulo Coelho takes reader on a distinctly modern quest to find meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine, and pervasive conformity. Based on events in Coelho's own life, Veronkia Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Poignant and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.


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In his latest international bestseller, the celebrated author of The Alchemist addresses the fundamental questions asked by millions: What am I doing here today? and Why do I go on living?Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for--youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacki In his latest international bestseller, the celebrated author of The Alchemist addresses the fundamental questions asked by millions: What am I doing here today? and Why do I go on living?Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for--youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up. Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up--at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live. The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life's final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before--hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before. In Veronika Decides to Die, Paulo Coelho takes reader on a distinctly modern quest to find meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine, and pervasive conformity. Based on events in Coelho's own life, Veronkia Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Poignant and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.

30 review for Veronika Decides to Die

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    Pretty, single, 24-year-old Veronika decides to die for two reasons, both of them phony: one, because she realizes she will one day be old; and two, because a lot of things are wrong in this world. She then takes a lot of sleeping pills. While waiting to die, as if she's waiting for her cat to finish drinking its milk, Veronika decides to read a magazine and then write to the editor of that magazine. Which made the scene cartoonish. This rare combination of phoniness and cartoonishness gelled and Pretty, single, 24-year-old Veronika decides to die for two reasons, both of them phony: one, because she realizes she will one day be old; and two, because a lot of things are wrong in this world. She then takes a lot of sleeping pills. While waiting to die, as if she's waiting for her cat to finish drinking its milk, Veronika decides to read a magazine and then write to the editor of that magazine. Which made the scene cartoonish. This rare combination of phoniness and cartoonishness gelled and gave birth to this masterpiece. A masterpiece of nothingness, like a gigantic void proud of its vast emptiness. Paolo Coelho is like a god, not only to those who worship him, for he has created something out of nothing using the time-tested way of hoodwinking morons who read books like this: sprinkling lots of amphibologies and gobbledygooks to a plotless tale of nonsense. Gripping their highlighters, these morons would then make passages like this shine in neon, marvel at how deep they are, and then give the book a 5-star rating at goodreads.com-- "We all live in our own world. But if you look up at the starry sky, you'll see that all the different worlds up there combine to form constellations, solar systems, galaxies." (p.162). He could have added: If you feel all alone in this big, wide world as if you carry the weight of all the sadness there is, then look up at the starry, starry sky during a starry, starry night and realize that there are aliens living in all those other planets who, in their solitude, likewise pine for the worlds they cannot see. Damn, I sure do sound better than Coelho!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Federico DN

    Madness is wanting to be normal. There is something very wrong with the world. Veronika wants to die. And she can certainly try, but she can also, certainly, fail. Committed to an insane asylum, she may actually find sanity in the craziest places of all. Unfortunately, I cannot really go into much detail without spoiling much of the book's content, so I'm just going to say that those few who decide to read it may find in it a beautiful profoundly moving story, about life, and death. Veronika is o Madness is wanting to be normal. There is something very wrong with the world. Veronika wants to die. And she can certainly try, but she can also, certainly, fail. Committed to an insane asylum, she may actually find sanity in the craziest places of all. Unfortunately, I cannot really go into much detail without spoiling much of the book's content, so I'm just going to say that those few who decide to read it may find in it a beautiful profoundly moving story, about life, and death. Veronika is one of those characters that, despite all circumstances, you cannot but find her tragically adorable. This is one of those 'love it or hate it' books, so you are probably going to love it plainly, or hate it deeply. You can tell which side the coin toss landed for me. Still remaining, the movie (2009) Until next time, ----------------------------------------------- Locura es querer ser normal. Hay algo muy mal en el mundo. Veronika quiere morir. Y ciertamente lo puede intentar, pero también puede, ciertamente, fallar. Confinada a un manicomio, puede que halle la cordura en el lugar más loco de todos. Desafortunadamente, no puedo entrar en mucho detalle sin arriesgarme a arruinar mucho del contenido del libro, así que sólo voy a decir que aquellos pocos que decidan leerlo puede que encuentren en él una hermosa y profundamente conmovedora historia, sobre la vida, y la muerte. Veronika es uno de esos personajes que, a fuerzas de las circunstancias, uno no puede evitar encontrarla trágicamente adorable. Este es uno de esos libros de 'ámalo o ódialo', así que probablemente vas a amarlo plenamente, u odiarlo ferveramente. Podés adivinar de qué lado cayó la moneda en mi caso. Queda pendiente la película (2009) Hasta la próxima,

  3. 4 out of 5

    Irina

    Fantastic read! Awesome! I could not put the book down! “Veronika Decides to Die” – just read the title again….decides to die… How many times have you said to yourself, at least I have, “Ahh…I don’t care, I don’t really want to live anymore”, without even thinking about the meaning of it. So Veronika said the same thing and decided to do something about it. Why? Nothing bad had happened to Veronika, she was beautiful, had a regular life…very ordinary though ... but normal She decided that it was not Fantastic read! Awesome! I could not put the book down! “Veronika Decides to Die” – just read the title again….decides to die… How many times have you said to yourself, at least I have, “Ahh…I don’t care, I don’t really want to live anymore”, without even thinking about the meaning of it. So Veronika said the same thing and decided to do something about it. Why? Nothing bad had happened to Veronika, she was beautiful, had a regular life…very ordinary though ... but normal She decided that it was not exciting enough, and decided to die! But her suicide attempt didn’t succeed and she ended up in the mental hospital. The pills ruined her heart and she had one more week to live before she dies – or so she was told. "An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely." Having only week to live, Veronika re-discovers herself sexually and emotionally, falls in love, and starts having this eagerness to live. In addition, her suicide touched lives of other people in the mental hospital, who started cherish every day of their lives. "Basically everything that happens in our life is our fault, and our fault alone." So when the next time you say to yourself, “Ahh…I don’t care, I don’t really want to live anymore” - think twice. 2014 Update: I re-read this book this year for my book club... 6 years since I read it first. I agree with all points after my first read but want to add some additional points on issues that Coelho discusses: - Conformity, society norms and its danger - Madness/insanity and what they really mean within the chains of society norms; how society norms varies from culture to culture, and how personal individuality can be affected by these “norms” - Death and life and how knowing that death is imminent changes your perception of life: you start appreciating every moment and allow yourself to express yourself - The book discusses other characters, Mari, Zedka, and Eduard. They were hiding inside the walls of Vilette because they were trying to escape the real world due to similar reasons related to to not being understood by their families and society. Vilette’s environment created a shield from the real world, “society”, and allowed these “insane” people to express themselves and behave the way they want without criticism. At the end… Veronika’s suicide affects them profoundly awakening in them a desire to live outside of Vilette’s walls and also making them to realize that Vilette is just another form of controlled society with its own rules and acceptance. And that at the end the true happiness lies in our own desire and believe, in our own acceptance and willingness to remove any boundaries and allow ourselves to live to the fullest, and be happy!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Mundi

    Veronika is a 24 year old Slovenian woman who one day decides to kill herself, apparently because (1) "everything in her life was the same and, once her youth was gone, it would be downhill all the way" and (2) everything is wrong with the world and she feels powerless to make things right. After she takes an overdose of sleeping pills, Veronika wakes up in a mental asylum and the remainder of the book is, basically, a series of interactions between Veronika and a number of the inhabitants of th Veronika is a 24 year old Slovenian woman who one day decides to kill herself, apparently because (1) "everything in her life was the same and, once her youth was gone, it would be downhill all the way" and (2) everything is wrong with the world and she feels powerless to make things right. After she takes an overdose of sleeping pills, Veronika wakes up in a mental asylum and the remainder of the book is, basically, a series of interactions between Veronika and a number of the inhabitants of the asylum, including a young schizophrenic named Eduard, who mainly stands around mutely and masturbates while Veronika plays the piano. Veronika (what else!) inexplicably falls in love with him, after she similarly inexplicably regains her joie de vivre. I suppose, that tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Veronika, and certainly Coelho does not add much else in terms of characterisation. Some reviewers have pointed out that to create realistic characters or believable plot is not the point of this book and certainly not Coelho's intention. I guess one really has no choice but to agree with this as it is patently obvious that this is not so much a book as a meditation on insanity with characters and plot which are merely vehicles to convey the author's thoughts on the subject and encourage the reader to reflect on the same and to explore how they may feel/behave/think in similar circumstances. Paulo Coelho himself makes a brief and pointless appearance at the beginning of the book to tell you that it is based on his own experiences as a mental patient and proceeds to bash you over the head with his message, which is that everyone is crazy, insanity and genius are two sides of the same coin and we should all let our inner freak out and stop trying to conform. As a reader, I find this approach supremely unsatisfactory. For some reason, I tend to be much more receptive to the message when I can actually bring myself to care about the story or the characters, however unsympathetic they may be. I am sometimes able to forgive lack of plot or character development if the book is particularly informative or beautifully written or manages to turn me on or makes me think about a subject in a new and interesting way. Unfortunately, this book did none of that. Veronika fails even as a placeholder because her actions are so absurd and incomprehensible that I was completely unable to relate to them or to put myself in her shoes. So all that was left was the message and I had absolutely no patience for Coelho's particular brand of preachy self-help pop-psychology.

  5. 5 out of 5

    juicy brained intellectual

    this shitty, whiny book in a nutshell, which is all it deserves: a simple, trite, self-indulgent allegory that poorly contemplates the similarities between genius and insanity i think this is the worst passage i've read so far: Vitriol was a toxic substance whose symptoms he had identified in his conversations with the men and women he had met. Now he was writing a thesis on the subject, which he would submit to the Slovenian Academy of Sciences for its scrutiny. It was the most important step in this shitty, whiny book in a nutshell, which is all it deserves: a simple, trite, self-indulgent allegory that poorly contemplates the similarities between genius and insanity i think this is the worst passage i've read so far: Vitriol was a toxic substance whose symptoms he had identified in his conversations with the men and women he had met. Now he was writing a thesis on the subject, which he would submit to the Slovenian Academy of Sciences for its scrutiny. It was the most important step in the field of insanity since Dr. Pinel had ordered that patients should be unshackled, astonishing the medical world with the idea that some of them might even be cured. As with the libido—the chemical reaction responsible for sexual desire, which Dr. Freud had identified, but which no laboratory had ever managed to isolate—Vitriol was released by the human organism whenever a person found him- or herself in a frightening situation, although it had yet to be picked up in any spectrographic tests. It was easily recognized, though, by its taste, which was neither sweet nor savory—a bitter taste. Dr. Igor, the as-yet-unrecognized discoverer of this fatal substance, had given it the name of a poison much favored in the past by emperors, kings, and lovers of all kinds whenever they needed to rid themselves of some obstructive person. if you are filled with the incomprehensible rage that follows after utter dullness like this, we will probably make good friends. so i actually finished this, and guess what! it was consistently awful. entirely insipid with a delightful dose of misogyny--outside of the entire premise of the book, a young woman just "deciding" to kill herself basically because she's bored; apparently veronika only discovers life is worth living after meeting a boring artist dude & and (spoiler ahead) it turns out her male doctor was drugging her with a medicine that mimics heart attacks solely so she could discover how important life is worth living. what??? in no way is this examined for how fucked up it is and we're supposed to just sit back and enjoy the shitty advice on how to live life that's being spewed. i probably would have enjoyed this when i was fifteen and didn't know any better, but i'm an adult human with critical thinking skills. i am not impressed with contrived, falsely "deep" drivel. y'all shouldn't be either.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Misha

    At about 50 pages in, it's a little frightening how much I've identified with Veronika thus far, how much I understand her rationale for wanting to die. She can only see one path unfolding for herself, and it's one she can't stomach. I get that. But unlike Veronika I haven't given up hope that my path may yet fork off in unexpected and exciting directions. I also read and think there must be a certain kind of comfort in going truly insane. Not this garden-variety neurosis I experience, but really At about 50 pages in, it's a little frightening how much I've identified with Veronika thus far, how much I understand her rationale for wanting to die. She can only see one path unfolding for herself, and it's one she can't stomach. I get that. But unlike Veronika I haven't given up hope that my path may yet fork off in unexpected and exciting directions. I also read and think there must be a certain kind of comfort in going truly insane. Not this garden-variety neurosis I experience, but really, disconnected-from-reality insane. We're so frightened of the idea of insanity, of not knowing what's going on around us or not being able to distinguish truth from fantasy, but what would it be like to live it? There's a part of me that thinks maybe it would be just a little liberating, and I can understand why the Fraternity (?) wants to stay in the asylum instead of returning to the world outside. --- I'm settled in to read. It's drizzling rain and the sky outside is a deep, melancholy gray. I've got pillows stacked up on the couch, the cat languorously swishing his tail as he gazes out the window, and a cup of chocolate truffle coffee on the little rolling cart we use for a coffee table. Angelo Badalementi's haunting soundtrack music from Twin Peaks pours from the tinny speakers on my laptop. It's kind of a perfect day. I just came across this passage. Depression. The doctors said that a recently discovered substance, serotonin, was one of the compounds responsible for how human beings felt. A lack of serotonin impaired one's capacity to concentrate at work, to sleep, to eat, and to enjoy life's pleasures. When this substance was completely absent, the person experienced despair, pessimism, a sense of futility, terrible tiredness, anxiety, difficulties in making decisions, and would end up sinking into a permanent gloom, which would lead either to complete apathy or suicide. ... In Zedka's case, however, the reasons were simpler than anyone suspected: there was a man hidden in her past, or rather, the fantasy she had built up about a man she had known a long time ago. Oh, Zedka, I suspect many of us can trace the roots of depression to the fantasy of a man (or woman) hidden in our pasts. I'm now eager to read on and discover Zedka's story. The impossible love. The refusal to believe the impossible love is impossible. Hope itself can be a sort of madness sometimes, when it's false, when we allow it to consume us rather than uplift. Yes. I know this. Now back to Veronika, and, holy shit, I could just as well be reading my own journal. She had overcome her minor defects only to be defeated by matters of fundamental importance. She had managed to appear utterly independent when she was, in fact, desperately in need of company. ... She gave all her friends the impression that she was a woman to be envied, and she expended most of her energy in trying to behave in accordance with the image she had created of herself. Because of that she had never had enough energy to be herself, a person who, like everyone in the world, needed other people in order to be happy. But other people were so difficult. They reacted in unpredictable ways, they surrounded themselves with defensive walls, they behaved just as she did, pretending they didn't care about anything. ... She might have impressed a lot of people with her strength and determination, but where had it left her? In the void. Utterly alone. I suspect Veronika soon will learn she's not quite as alone as she thinks. God, I hope so. Also? I think I have to stop reproducing passages from this book or I'll end up quoting the whole damn thing. Dr. Igor? The psychiatrist? Quite possibly the craziest character in the book. He's laughably absurd. I loved the interchange between him and Veronika's mother -- the jumping back and forth between points-of-view and the mother's puzzlement at the things Igor was saying. Oh. Here's another snippet. "Haven't you learned anything, not even with the approach of death? Stop thinking all the time that you're in the way, that you're bothering the person next to you. If people don't like it, they can complain. And if they don't have the courage to complain, that's their problem." The supposedly insane people in this novel are all ones who are challenging and rejecting these unspoken rules we all live by, that hold us down and hold us back. These ideas that we should follow certain expected paths and behave in certain ways and suppress our true selves. These lunatics are calling bullshit on society, and it's wonderful. --- And now I'm done, and I feel like I've gone on a journey with this book and come out the other side much like Veronika, Mari, Eduard and Zedka -- ready to embrace my life and my capacity for love.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jaidee

    2 bemused yes bemused stars ! Veronika has a mild personality disorder and attempts a serious suicide attempt. She is placed in a private psych. hospital in the capital of Slovenia. She is beautiful and artistic and hypersexual and "special" (I suspect that this is the way Mr. Coelho views himself as well) Through pretentious and contrived conversations and situations filled with half-facts, pseudo-wisdom and a whole lot of malarkey she is cured. This is not a novel but rather a vehicle for Mr. Co 2 bemused yes bemused stars ! Veronika has a mild personality disorder and attempts a serious suicide attempt. She is placed in a private psych. hospital in the capital of Slovenia. She is beautiful and artistic and hypersexual and "special" (I suspect that this is the way Mr. Coelho views himself as well) Through pretentious and contrived conversations and situations filled with half-facts, pseudo-wisdom and a whole lot of malarkey she is cured. This is not a novel but rather a vehicle for Mr. Coelho to brand his own personal philosophies to the masses. (almost like propaganda) This book elicited a bemused response from me at this age so I decided to imagine what Jaidee at other ages would have thought and felt about this book. Jaidee at 14 - 1 star- "really weird and kind of boring" Jaidee at 19 - 3 stars- "Wow that Veronika is one cool and sexi chick." Jaidee at 23 - 3.5 stars- "Poor Veronika -she is so misunderstood another victim of patriarchy" Jaidee at 28 - 4 stars - "Wow there is some pretty cool stuff in this book...very deep" Jaidee at 37 - barely half a star- " what a bunch of ridiculous bs" Perhaps this book has elements of all the above and that is why Mr. Coelho sells so many damn books.

  8. 4 out of 5

    İntellecta

    For people who are concerned only superficially with the subject complex, the book is perhaps quite suitable. I found it very terrible and failed, especially in face of the fact that the approach could have a lot of potential, but this novel was anything but useful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Xandra

    The best way to describe this book is: it makes no sense whatsoever. Of course, you may say: "Well, Xandra, Paulo Coelho is a profound man, a philosopher. Not everyone gets him." Yeah, ok. I can't possibly argue with that. Now... Veronika is a young Slovenian woman who decides to kill herself because her youth is almost gone and the world is a fucked up place. What? Yes, she is Slovenian. What do you mean why? I don't know why! I guess it's more exotic this way. Shut up! Ugh, I'm talking to myself The best way to describe this book is: it makes no sense whatsoever. Of course, you may say: "Well, Xandra, Paulo Coelho is a profound man, a philosopher. Not everyone gets him." Yeah, ok. I can't possibly argue with that. Now... Veronika is a young Slovenian woman who decides to kill herself because her youth is almost gone and the world is a fucked up place. What? Yes, she is Slovenian. What do you mean why? I don't know why! I guess it's more exotic this way. Shut up! Ugh, I'm talking to myself again. Paulo Coelho is driving me nuts! So, yeah, she overdoses on sleeping pills, but being the lame loser that she is, she doesn't end up six feet underground, but in a mental institution where she is told she only has one week to live. I actually laughed out loud at that. Who wouldn't? You then follow her interactions with a bunch of uninteresting characters, a schizophrenic guy named Eduard being one of them. Actually, no. I'm not fair. Eduard is not a totally uninteresting guy. He's a little kinky and funny and creepy because he likes watching Veronika masturbate while she plays the piano. Didn't see that coming. I mean, Eduard never talks, he's basically a recluse, but after this scene these two weirdos inexplicably fall in love. And this isn't even the best part. The best part is the ending. (view spoiler)[It turns out that Veronika's psychiatrist, a true example of professionalism, was lying the whole time. Veronika isn't sick, it was all a freakish experiment (you know, in the name of science) and of course it worked because now Veronika doesn't want to die anymore and she's gonna live happily ever after with her rich creepy boyfriend Eduard. (hide spoiler)] Great stuff. I'm waiting for "Veronika Decides to Die - a graphic novel".

  10. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This was really the worst book I've ever read. I don't know if it's a problem in the translation or not, but as much as I WANTED to like this book I just couldn't make myself. I got about 60 pages away from the end before I realized that I didn't care about any of the characters and just wanted Veronika to die and get it over with. I think the worst part for me is that the author chose to write the second chapter about himself. Generally speaking, I think it's admirable that he wanted to protect This was really the worst book I've ever read. I don't know if it's a problem in the translation or not, but as much as I WANTED to like this book I just couldn't make myself. I got about 60 pages away from the end before I realized that I didn't care about any of the characters and just wanted Veronika to die and get it over with. I think the worst part for me is that the author chose to write the second chapter about himself. Generally speaking, I think it's admirable that he wanted to protect his parents by not writing about his own institutionalization, but making himself a character in the novel and explaining his reasons for writing the book rather defeated the purpose. It also took me right out of the novel and made it impossible for me to get back into it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Muhammed Hebala

    "The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets successfully through many a bad night. Nietzsche" “I need a sign, that things are gonna change. I need a reason to go on. I need some hope. And in the absence of hope, I need to stay in bed and feel like I might die today. Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy" "An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely." "But humans are all alike, she thought. We have replaced nearly all of our emotions with fear." This book allows the "The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets successfully through many a bad night. Nietzsche" “I need a sign, that things are gonna change. I need a reason to go on. I need some hope. And in the absence of hope, I need to stay in bed and feel like I might die today. Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy" "An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely." "But humans are all alike, she thought. We have replaced nearly all of our emotions with fear." This book allows the reader to reevaluate the importance of life and that each day is precious … not to be wasted. Coelho discusses Conformity, society norms and its danger, Madness/insanity and what they really mean within the chains of society norms, Death and life and how knowing that death is imminent changes your perception of life. =================================== “Insanity is the inability to communicate your ideas. It's as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that's going on around you but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don't understand the language they speak there. We've all felt that. And all of us, one way or another, are insane.” ----------------------- “Each human being is unique, each with their own qualities, instincts, forms of pleasure, and desire for adventure. However, society always imposes on us a collective ways of behaving, and people never stop to wonder why they should behave like that. They just accept it, the way typists accepted the fact that the QWERTY keyboard was the best possible one. Have you ever met anyone is your entire life who asked why the hands of a clock should go in one particular direction and not the other?” ----------------------- "She went to work every day, always keeping to the same timetable, always making sure she wasn’t perceived as a threat by her superiors; she was content; she didn’t struggle, and so she didn’t grow" ----------------------- “Two of the hardest decisions in life: the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage to accept whatever you encounter.” ----------------------- “An intense life needs a touch of madness.” ----------------------- " A lot of people go through the same difficulties we went through, and they react completely differently. We looked for the easiest way out: a separate reality." ----------------------- “I once saw a woman wearing a low-cut dress; she had a glazed look in her eyes, and she was walking the streets of Ljubljana when it was five degrees below zero. I thought she must be drunk, and I went to help her, but she refused my offer to lend her my jacket. Perhaps in her world it was summer and her body was warmed by the desire of the person waiting for her. Even if that person only existed in her delirium, she had the right to live and die as she wanted, don’t you think?” Veronika didn’t know what to say, but the madwoman’s words made sense to her. Who knows; perhaps she was the woman who had been seen half-naked walking the streets of Ljubljana? “I’m going to tell you a story,” said Zedka. “A powerful wizard, who wanted to destroy an entire kingdom, placed a magic potion in the well from which all the inhabitants drank. Whoever drank that water would go mad. “The following morning, the whole population drank from the well and they all went mad, apart from the king and his family, who had a well set aside for them alone, which the magician had not managed to poison. The king was worried and tried to control the population by issuing a series of edicts governing security and public health. The policemen and the inspectors, however, had also drunk the poisoned water, and they thought the king’s decisions were absurd and resolved to take no notice of them. “When the inhabitants of the kingdom heard these decrees, they became convinced that the king had gone mad and was now giving nonsensical orders. They marched on the castle and called for his abdication. “In despair the king prepared to step down from the throne, but the queen stopped him, saying: ‘Let us go and drink from the communal well. Then we will be the same as them.’ “And that was what they did: The king and the queen drank the water of madness and immediately began talking nonsense. Their subjects repented at once; now that the king was displaying such wisdom, why not allow him to continue ruling the country? “The country continued to live in peace, although its inhabitants behaved very differently from those of its neighbors. And the king was able to govern until the end of his days.” Veronika laughed. “You don’t seem crazy at all,” she said. “But I am, although I’m undergoing treatment since my problem is that I lack a particular chemical. While I hope that the chemical gets rid of my chronic depression, I want to continue being crazy, living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be. Do you know what exists out there, beyond the walls of Villete?” “People who have all drunk from the same well.” “Exactly,” said Zedka. “They think they’re normal, because they all do the same thing. Well, I’m going to pretend that I have drunk from the same well as them.”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Veronika, an attractive 24-year-old woman living in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has loving parents, an okay job, decent boyfriends, and so on. However she's tired of her routine life and tries to commit suicide. Veronika's attempt fails and she wakes up in Villete, a local mental hospital. There Veronika is told that her suicide attempt has severely damaged her heart and she has about a week to live. Liberated from worries about going on with life - and learning that mental patients are free to exhibit Veronika, an attractive 24-year-old woman living in Ljubljana, Slovenia, has loving parents, an okay job, decent boyfriends, and so on. However she's tired of her routine life and tries to commit suicide. Veronika's attempt fails and she wakes up in Villete, a local mental hospital. There Veronika is told that her suicide attempt has severely damaged her heart and she has about a week to live. Liberated from worries about going on with life - and learning that mental patients are free to exhibit any behavior they like - Veronika decides to interact with some fellow patients. She befriends Mari, who has panic attacks; Zedka, who is depressed; and Eduard, a catatonic schizophrenic who seems to enjoy Veronika's piano playing. Meanwhile, Dr. Igor, the head psychiatrist, studies Veronika and the other patients at Villete to test his theory that a body substance called "vitriol" causes mental illnes. By the end of the book Veronika's presence at Villete causes many of the patients to change their attitudes about their own mental illness as well as how they want to live their lives. The book seems to accurately describe the behavior of some mentally ill people but I thought the depiction of the patients was generally superficial and provided little insight into true mental disorders. However some of the characters are interesting and the story is okay. I'd mildly recommend the book to readers interested in mental health. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  13. 4 out of 5

    C.

    I totally, completely and utterly fail to understand this book. However, as typically befalls me when I read a book by Paolo Coelho, I seem to recall a moment about four-fifths of the way to the end when I had an epiphanic moment - when I realised that although I had loathed the book from the start until that exact sentence, I suddenly understood it and could comprehend and possibly even accept (though grudgingly) that other people could like it and that it could possibly qualify as a Good Book. I totally, completely and utterly fail to understand this book. However, as typically befalls me when I read a book by Paolo Coelho, I seem to recall a moment about four-fifths of the way to the end when I had an epiphanic moment - when I realised that although I had loathed the book from the start until that exact sentence, I suddenly understood it and could comprehend and possibly even accept (though grudgingly) that other people could like it and that it could possibly qualify as a Good Book. However, in a similarly typical manner, I reached the end of the book and could not for the life of me remember anything about that epiphanic moment apart from the fact that it occurred. As such, it rates one star because it is painfully bad. Furthermore, I have yet to see or hear anything that even begins to make it clear to me why so many otherwise-sane people seem to love it so much. I'm bored and procrastinating so want to see if anyone else can give me an answer.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    I had heard so many things about Paul Coelho that I had to find out for myself what he was like. The reviewers all seemed to hate him, but a couple of our au pairs said he was great. Well, I read Veronika Decides to Die, and in fact I quite enjoyed it! But I also thought it would be wise to quit while I was ahead.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vishnu Chevli

    I have picked up this book from this year's book fair. My eyes went on this book and I knew I had to buy this book. I have read Paulo Coelho's work before and I have loved it so I was eager to know what this book contains. Veronika is a beautiful, attractive girl, has a basic job and a comfortable living. She finds no excitement in her life and so she finally decides to end it but her attempt was foul. And she ends up in a mental hospital where she finds out that she has limited days to live. But I have picked up this book from this year's book fair. My eyes went on this book and I knew I had to buy this book. I have read Paulo Coelho's work before and I have loved it so I was eager to know what this book contains. Veronika is a beautiful, attractive girl, has a basic job and a comfortable living. She finds no excitement in her life and so she finally decides to end it but her attempt was foul. And she ends up in a mental hospital where she finds out that she has limited days to live. But the things that happen in that mental hospital changes her life and she ends up wanting to live again. If you want to find out what happened in that hospital you have to read the book. I loved the character of Veronika and I have also found similarities between her and myself. Her character is written beautifully along with the characters of Zedka who was in the hospital for her depression, Mari who was there for her anxiety attacks but her illness has been long cured but she still choose to be in the mental hospital, and finally Eduard the schizophrenic and also Veronika's lover. The storyline for these characters is spellbound. Although this book does start negatively and you may feel depressed reading the first few pages but I want to tell you that hold on it does get better in the end. Also if you are someone who likes to read peculiar love stories than this book might be it but by saying this that if you think that this book is some romance novel than no but it does feature peculiar romance towards the end. I don't think this book is for everyone, you'll either love it or hate it, in my opinion, I loved this book and I might even read it again in the future. Some of my favorite lines from the book are below. I want to continue being mad, living my life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be. The "mad" always believe in first impressions Although she had always felt loved and protected, there had been one missing element that would have transformed that love into a blessing, she should have allowed herself to be a little madder. ( Favorite of them all) Detailed review link - https://chevusread.blogspot.com/2019/...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Norah Una Sumner

    Giving this book 3 stars simply because I like Eduard. I've read three books by Paulo Coehlo so far-Veronika Decides to Die,The Devil and Miss Prym and The Alchemist.And even though I gave three stars to all three of them,I keep going back to Coehlo.I love his characters,I guess that's what I like the most about his books.And his endings are the best.

  17. 5 out of 5

    LINDA

    After reading the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, I decided that it was time to read another of his works. This book was about Veronika and how she had decided to die, and attempted suicide. She awakens from her attempt to realize that the attempt was not successful, but that she had cause damage to her heart with the medication that she had tried to overdose on and that she would die within days. Veronika uses her remaining time to reflect and through her own self-discovery she realizes that she shou After reading the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, I decided that it was time to read another of his works. This book was about Veronika and how she had decided to die, and attempted suicide. She awakens from her attempt to realize that the attempt was not successful, but that she had cause damage to her heart with the medication that she had tried to overdose on and that she would die within days. Veronika uses her remaining time to reflect and through her own self-discovery she realizes that she should have been more open to feelings, and more importantly life itself. As with the Alchemist, I read it with a pencil in hand. Below are several of the most poignant parts that I had underlined. "But humans are all alike, she thought. We have replaced nearly all of our emotions with fear." "Veronika did a her mother asked, sure that her mother had enough experience of life to understand reality. She finished her studies, went to university, got a good degree, but ended up working as a librarian. "I should have been crazier." But, as it undoubtedly happens with most people, she had found this out too late." "No one should let themselves get used to anything." "You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you." "I do have a chance to live. Am I making good use of it?" "I've got a lot to do, things that I have postponed for some future date, in the days when I thought life would last forever." "Basically everything that happens in our life is our fault, and our fault alone. "... because I need to run the risk of being alive." "No. You're someone who is different, but that wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness." "The danger of an adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort." "An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely." "She would consider each day a miracle-which indeed it is, when you consider the number of unexpected things that could happen in each second of our fragile existences." "You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you." "I do have a chance to live. am I making good use of it?" "I've got a lot to do, things that i have postponed for some future date, in the days when i thought life would last forever." "Basically everything that happens in our life is our fault, and our fault alone. "... because i need to run the risk of being alive." "No. You're someone who is different, but that wants to be the same an everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness." "The danger of an adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort." "An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely." "She would consider each day a miracle-which indeed it is, when you consider the number of unexpected things that could happen in each second of our fragile existences."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bharath rajeswaran

    I actually was glancing through a book shop and when suddenly this book caught my attention. I 've previously read The Alchemist and i thoroughly enjoyed it. But veronica was pretty awesome. In a sense, it was the truth of the western world and will be applicable to the eastern world which is actually involved all the time in copying the west. And from a very depressed state, with no great ambitions or desire in everyday life, veronica decides that life is not worthy of living and after a failed I actually was glancing through a book shop and when suddenly this book caught my attention. I 've previously read The Alchemist and i thoroughly enjoyed it. But veronica was pretty awesome. In a sense, it was the truth of the western world and will be applicable to the eastern world which is actually involved all the time in copying the west. And from a very depressed state, with no great ambitions or desire in everyday life, veronica decides that life is not worthy of living and after a failed attempt to end her life, she wakes up in a totally unexpected place, the home of the mentally depressed. And she finds the anger, desire, hope and above all love in that place. I could not but admire the skillful way in which the story is narrated and i really really have become a big fan of paulo coelho. The story is complicated and simply, paradoxical and inspirational.. The character of Edward is still making me admire the novel and actually it took 3 and a half hours for me to finish the novel standing the book shop itself, as i am not so rich to possess a copy of it. It is a transformation from irritation to hope, from disgust to pleasure. Please guys read it. and those who feel very down (after a broken relationship or something) , try reading this, it 'll reveal you the uncertainity of life. you never really know what's up to you in the future...Read it. It's as pacy as a shoaib akhtar delivery and as interesting as a spielberg movie.But you always get one thing on extra which you don't get in ss movie or sa delivery, that's what i call and still admire the novel for"LIFE"

  19. 4 out of 5

    EmBibliophile

    5 ‘madness’ stars ”An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely." This book is insane!! This is such a spiritual/philosophical book that discusses a lot of issues. It talks about death and life and the meaning of them, madness and insanity and why would we actually say that someone is “mad”. It just blows your mind. I really loved the main idea/plot of the book and the message it tried to send. I also liked How it takes place in a mental institution. The happier people can be, the unh 5 ‘madness’ stars ”An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely." This book is insane!! This is such a spiritual/philosophical book that discusses a lot of issues. It talks about death and life and the meaning of them, madness and insanity and why would we actually say that someone is “mad”. It just blows your mind. I really loved the main idea/plot of the book and the message it tried to send. I also liked How it takes place in a mental institution. The happier people can be, the unhappier they are. Veronica is a 24 years old lady who is graced with youth, beauty, has a loving family, plenty of boyfriends, and a good job. From an outsider point of view, there’s nothing wrong with her life. So why would a girl like her, who has everything, decides to end her life? After taking a handful of sleeping pills, veronica was surprised to wake up In a mental hospital. Where she was informed that the pills had severely weaken her heart and she has only got about a week to live before her heart stops. ”Madness is the inability to communicate your ideas. it’s as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that's going on around you but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don't understand the language they speak there.” “We've all felt that.” “And all of us, one way or another, are insane.” A week in a mental hospital in a state between life and death allowed Veronica to think about a lot of things, where she kind of starts to think about what she had done and whether she’s really ready to die or not. She starts to actually feel a lot of things. Her presence in the hospital had a huge impact on the other patients. Watching a girl like her slowly dying in front of them affected most of them. Some of the hospital patients also had a kind of impact on Veronica where some helped her understand herself and life more. I liked and sympathized with most of the characters in this book (Mari, Zedka, and of course Eduard) How they all took shelter in the hospital to avoid the outside world and the society who defined them as “insane” was heartbreaking. Personally, I think that the psychiatrist, Dr Igor, is the craziest person in this book! Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern that merely contains. This was a such a great spiritual philosophical book that makes you think and feel. I loved the madness in this book and how they talked about it. It’s such a sad thing that some think just because you’re different or think differently then you’re mad. It’s really sad that artistic people are thought to be insane. Even Paulo Cohelo himself was thought to be mad just because he chose to be a writer. Anyone who lives in their own world is mad. Song recommendation: Saint Veronica by Billy Talent *The song was actually based on this book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sushi

    "Death frees from the fear of dying." Or so she's convinced right before she decides to end her existence. But fate has something entirely different set in store for her. Waking up in a mental asylum a couple of days later, Veronika's told that she will get what she desired for: her death. The attempt at her own life has damaged her heart irrevocably and now her days are numbered. Just like that, her worst nightmare comes alive: waiting for death. So what is it that made Veronika call quits? She "Death frees from the fear of dying." Or so she's convinced right before she decides to end her existence. But fate has something entirely different set in store for her. Waking up in a mental asylum a couple of days later, Veronika's told that she will get what she desired for: her death. The attempt at her own life has damaged her heart irrevocably and now her days are numbered. Just like that, her worst nightmare comes alive: waiting for death. So what is it that made Veronika call quits? She's gorgeous, desirable, young, loved, and has her whole life ahead of her. What could possibly make her go against the natural order of things, which is to fight for survival whatever happens? It's not her past, and it's not fear for her future either. It's something else entirely. At the institution, she meets and befriends people from all walks of life: from old women who stay simply because they love it there to handsome Schizophrenics. Together, they argue sanity and what it is that makes life really worth living. “You say they create their own reality," said Veronika, "but what is reality?” Now that she's learning to live in the face of death, the thought of losing it all is something she can't even bear to think about. Music and love save her, yet her time-bomb heart won't stop its' taunting ... Paulo Coelhos' books have always been a source of inspiration to me, acting as an instant pick-me-up, so I would suggest this to anybody who needs a healthy dose of hope and doesn't mind being enlightened with a bit of philosophy in between. “She didn't quite know what the relationship was between lunatics and the moon, but it must be a strong one, if they used a word like that to describe the insane.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tony Le

    This book is not for every one to read. Only misfortunate people who had or have a distressing and excruciating experience with depressions and panic attacks would really understand the words of Paulo Coelho in Veronika Decides to Die.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tahera

    At 24, Veronika decides she has experienced everything she has to experience with her life and the only thing now left for her to do is die and so she decides to take her own life by overdosing on sleeping pills. However, her attempted suicide fails and she ends up waking, after a week in coma, in Villette a local hospital and institution for mental patients where Dr. Igor tells her that her suicide attempt has left her with a very weak heart and she has only a few days left to live so she shoul At 24, Veronika decides she has experienced everything she has to experience with her life and the only thing now left for her to do is die and so she decides to take her own life by overdosing on sleeping pills. However, her attempted suicide fails and she ends up waking, after a week in coma, in Villette a local hospital and institution for mental patients where Dr. Igor tells her that her suicide attempt has left her with a very weak heart and she has only a few days left to live so she should rejoice and just wait for her death as it was what she had wanted in the first place. But while waiting for her death, Veronika meets the other 'mental' patients and gets to know their stories and during this time she begins to question her beliefs and ideas about life and what 'living each moment of our life fully' actually means....even if it means going against the norms of what society deems as a proper and correct way of living and existing. According to Paulo Coehlo, 'mad people' are not really mad after all... I haven't read much of Paulo Coehlo's books (after the Alchemist this is the second book) mainly because philosophy is not something I am a huge fan of but this book is quite nice...although I can't say I will go out of my way to read all his books any time soon...

  23. 5 out of 5

    FractalHealing

    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, li 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 http://www.paulocoelho.com/engl/index...) . 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Fiction can be classified into two broad categories: (1) Escape literature - written purely for entertainment to help us pass the time agreeably and (2) Interpretative Literature - written to broaden and deepen and sharpen our awareness of life. Escape literature takes us away from the real world; it enables us temporarily to forget our troubles. Interpretative literature takes us, through the imagination, deeper into the real world: it enables us to understand our troubles. Escape literature ha Fiction can be classified into two broad categories: (1) Escape literature - written purely for entertainment to help us pass the time agreeably and (2) Interpretative Literature - written to broaden and deepen and sharpen our awareness of life. Escape literature takes us away from the real world; it enables us temporarily to forget our troubles. Interpretative literature takes us, through the imagination, deeper into the real world: it enables us to understand our troubles. Escape literature has pleasure as its only object. Interpretative literature has as its object pleasure plus understanding. (Source: Perrines Literature) The reason why I thought I should quote this is to differentiate Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore with this novel of Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die. Kafka is more of escape literature while Veronika is more of interpretative. I said more because at times the other type comes in but if you look at the totality, there is a dominate type. This is my second book by Mr. Coelho and I thought I prefer this than his The Alchemist. For me this is more honest as it reflects life as it is. A couple of decades ago, when I was taking my second college degree at DLSU-CSB-CDD, our professor asked us: "Who among you have thought of committing suicide?". Almost everybody raised their hands except me and my friend. The class was composed mostly of young kids from rich families (I was an exception) and it never came into my mind how could these moneyed souls could have thought of taking their own lives. Veronika, a 24-year old main protagonist of this novel, is exactly in the same league as that of my classmates. Yet, she tried killing herself so she had to stay in an asylum, Villete. Reason: boredom. There are other 3 main characters in the novel: Zedka, the diabetic woman who went crazy after she thought that she did not fight for her happiness as a mistress; Mari, the lady lawyer who did not go insane but chose to be live in the asylum to fix her marriage and Eduard, another rich kid - only child - who went crazy because of his parents' excessive love and attention. If a novel is an interpretative literature, does it have to be boring? The answer is no. Veronika offer a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed out load twice: in that scene when Dr. Igor, the asylum head, talks to Veronika's mother. I almost got teary eyed in the scene when Veronika was supposed to die and she and Eduard went up to the castle. Very moving parts. Saw those in The Alchemist. I would say, very Coelho. Is there a "pure entertainment" part? Yes, there is a sex part (I did not know that Coelho is also into sex): there is a part when Veronika masturbated in full abandon in front of Eduard. There is also this quote on page 143: "It seemed that everyone, a least once in their life, wanted to take part in an orgy" And Mr. Coelho is not talking of only men but everyone.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    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 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alaska

    SEN NE KADAR HARİKA BİR KİTAPSIN ÖYLE

  27. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. "Two very simple reasons lay behind her decision to die, and she was sure that, were she to leave a note explaining, many people would agree with her. The first reason: Everything in her life was the same and, once her youth was gone, it would be downhill all the way, with old age beginning to leave irreversible marks, the onset of illness, the departure of friends. She would gain nothing by continuing to live; indeed, the likelihood of suffering would only increase. The second reason was more p "Two very simple reasons lay behind her decision to die, and she was sure that, were she to leave a note explaining, many people would agree with her. The first reason: Everything in her life was the same and, once her youth was gone, it would be downhill all the way, with old age beginning to leave irreversible marks, the onset of illness, the departure of friends. She would gain nothing by continuing to live; indeed, the likelihood of suffering would only increase. The second reason was more philosophical: Veronika read the newspapers, watched TV, and she was aware of what was going on in the world. Everything was wrong, and she had no way of putting things right - that gave her a sense of complete powerlessness." Still not completely sure how I feel about this book. In retrospect, it was a bad idea to read this right after The Bell Jar, which made the whole suicidal-girl-in-a-mental-hospital plot seem a little old. But I liked the book, mostly, except for one thing. By the middle of the book, when it's been established that Veronika's heart is messed up and will quit on her in five days, I started wondering, "That seems oddly specific and medically impossible. I wonder if they're lying to her, and she's perfectly fine?" But then I decided, no, that would be a ridiculous soap opera-like plot twist, and there had to be a better explanation. But there wasn't. I was exactly right. I got to the end, found out that the head doctor had been lying to Veronika the whole time for the purpose of an experiement, and all I could think was, what the SHIT.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Nguyễn

    This book is not for everyone. Readers who don't enjoy The Alchemist of the same author may not want to spend time with this book. I reckon Paulo Coelho's books are not for those who are used to reading non fiction books and more into reason than imagination. But for me, this is an awesome book, full of life, love, and dreams. The book is about a young and beautiful girl who seems to have everything in life, a good job, a good place to stay, parents who love her, boyfriends. Yet she finds life te This book is not for everyone. Readers who don't enjoy The Alchemist of the same author may not want to spend time with this book. I reckon Paulo Coelho's books are not for those who are used to reading non fiction books and more into reason than imagination. But for me, this is an awesome book, full of life, love, and dreams. The book is about a young and beautiful girl who seems to have everything in life, a good job, a good place to stay, parents who love her, boyfriends. Yet she finds life tedious and her heart is full of bitterness. And she decides to kill herself. And she is sent to a mental hospital where weird things happen. It's difficult to understand the logic of the story if you are a "highly effective person", you haven't got the feeling of leading a boring life, doing what people tell you to do, and not living up your dreams. But if you do, you will find the book expressing your hidden voice, a call to freedom, to difference and creativity. Paulo Coelho wrote the book based on his experience living in an asylum in his adolescence. And I found the ideas here thought - provoking: - Some people choose to stay in a asylum simply because they don't want to deal with the outside world full of laws and rules and responsibilities. - Everyone is indeed crazy, but the craziest are the ones who think they are absolutely normal. - You should allow yourself to be a little crazier. It's the right book for me at this moment of my life, trying to escape from routine, figuring out my next step and doing some weird things and seeing where life will take me to.

  29. 5 out of 5

    BookCupid

    "Nothing in this world happens by chance." Veronika believes life is worthless. What's the point of going around to meet someone who would no doubt marry you, cheat on you and force you to live in limbo with two children who will repeat your pattern? The most logical solution is suicide. But even that plan fails. Veronika wakes up in an asylum where she gets a horrible news that changes everything. It was impressive to see Coelho make a cameo in his own book. Of course, the lesson of life and how "Nothing in this world happens by chance." Veronika believes life is worthless. What's the point of going around to meet someone who would no doubt marry you, cheat on you and force you to live in limbo with two children who will repeat your pattern? The most logical solution is suicide. But even that plan fails. Veronika wakes up in an asylum where she gets a horrible news that changes everything. It was impressive to see Coelho make a cameo in his own book. Of course, the lesson of life and how important it is to let things out in the open, take risks, stop trying to be so perfect, and just enjoy the moments (like orgasm), is current throughout the novel. Sadly, it gets repetitive after a while, and I could see the ending coming a mile away.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Johara

    This was my first attempt with Paulo Coelho, and I have to say… It was not a pleasant one. I read this book a very long time ago, and I am only adding this review just so that I can get it out of my system whenever his name pops in my conversations with other bookworms. I don’t recall much of the details however I do recall that it was depressing, agonizing to read, and just soooooooooo slow I had to toss it half way. Do I regret it? No. Will I attempt to read his other books? Also no.

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