Review: Veronika decides to die

by Longblong

As morbid and depressing as the title seems, this Coelho book takes the usual turn for understanding of the universe and an inspiration for readers to strive not to settle into the kind of routine they don’t wish to be in. Coelho’s books have been NY Times Best Sellers and translated into dozens of languages, he’s one of the top selling modern authors. It just takes one book to understand why, and this book certainly fits into that category.

Veronica is a young woman with a happy life. She has loving parents and a nice job. She lives in Ljubljana, the capital city of the newly formed country of Slovenia (after the Yugoslavian civil war). With as many positives points in her life, Veronica found nearly as much sadness. She believed the routine of her life was inconsequential and secretly vowed to kill herself to leave the world behind. After feigning sleeplessness, she collected strong sleeping pills and went about the deed. She slowly fell into a drowsy state, but the peaceful death was not coming, a burning throughout her body led her into a coma and she woke in the infamous Villette hospital for the mentally insane. Upon waking, the doctor told the girl she would survive, but her heart had taken the toll from the suicide attempt. The state her heart was in, she could expect a week of life before she succumbed to the death she had wished for.

Not to give too much away, Veronica reluctantly made friends, and rediscovered her passion for the piano. In fact, her piano playing was said to lift many spirits in the gloomy hospital. With a week left to live, what would you do? Veronica searched her soul and others joined. Her weak heart pushed the limits and she found herself having heart-attacks through the week.

In a previous interview, Coelho explained his need to write this book. He had been put into a mental asylum himself as a young man. Coelho even modeled a character in the book after himself. His parents expected him to become an engineer, but his thirst for writing could not allow him to complete the studies the family expected of him. He made his way out and the rest is history.

Whether you’re feeling ‘in a rut’ or just enjoy Coelho’s books, this is a good read. Coelho never lets you down. Enjoy.