Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Veronika Decides To Die by Andrea

Author: Paulo Coelho

I polished off this quick read in two days on the beach. I initially picked it up as one of the “buy two, get one free” deal at Barnes and Noble, mainly because I liked Coelho’s other book, “The Alchemist.” This book takes place over approximately one week, and begins with the main character, Veronika, attempting suicide. Her reasons aren’t extraordinary; she’s not seriously depressed (although some would argue that she must be in order to try to kill herself), she hasn’t had any recent crises, she’s young, attractive, employed, sociable. She simply feels that her life has become stagnant, and suicide is her solution. She takes four packs of sleeping pills, one by one, and drifts into a coma from which she awakens days later to find that she’s not dead, but in a mental hospital. She’s told by the head physician that her heart was severely damaged while she was in the coma, and that she has less than a week to live. Despite being given medicine to “prolong” her life, she experiences several attacks and symptoms of heart failure during the ensuing days. The book shows how this information affects not only Veronika, but several of the other patients as well, and clarifies the differences in the realities of the “sane” and those of the “insane.” I appreciated the progression of events and character development as each person evolved, and found the story not depressing, but uplifting.

Parts of this book were inspired by actual events in Coelho’s life. He was in a mental hospital three times in the sixties, and while he never wrote directly about them, this was his way of incorporating his experiences into a book.

Netflix rating? 4/5 stars.

This Article’s written by Andrea. Please, visit Steph and Andrea’s blog to read more from them.

Subscribe to Blog

Join 16.9K other subscribers

Stories & Reflections


Paulo Coelho Foundation

Gifts, keepsakes and other souvenirs