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Veronika Decides To Die, by Paulo Coelho: A Book Review

Updated on November 14, 2017

Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho

'Veronika Decides To Die', is a highly original, moving story that would take each readers on a quest to find meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine and perverse conformity. It tells the story of a girl named Veronika who seems to have everything you can ever ask for in life - youth, beauty, boyfriends, a loving family and a fulfilling job.

But regardless of having an almost perfect life, still she feels like there's something missing and then she suddenly decided to end her life in whatever means it takes her. Recently, it was adapted into film in the same name. It was based on events in Paulo Coelho's real life when he experience with various mental institution.

Opening lines from the book Veronika Decided To Die:

On November 11, 1997, Veronika decided that the moment to kill herself had - at last - arrived. She carefully cleaned the room that she rented in a convent, turned off the heat, brushed her teeth and lay down.

About the Book - Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho available on Amazon

When Paulo Coelho was a young man, his parents had him admitted to mental hospitals three times because he wanted to be an artist which is an unacceptable profession in Brazil at that time. During his numerous forced incarcerations he vowed to write some day about his experiences and the injustices of involuntary commitment. This is where he get his inspiration in writing this book.

Veronika Decides to Die: A Novel of Redemption
Veronika Decides to Die: A Novel of Redemption

Paulo Coelho's style of writing is so simple, and yet so moving. In this novel he tells of the story of a young woman who tries to commit suicide and recovers in an asylum.


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Why Readers Liked Veronika Decides To Die? - A Book Review

I am great fan of Coelho's and absolutely love his books and the messages that they impart. This is the third book of his that I have read and I found his latest book to be no different! This is an excellent book - it will have you questioning your own life and the value that you do or don't place on it.

As some of the reviewers have said - this is a book about life and not about death and I could not agree more. After an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, Veronika awakens in a mental hospital with a grim death sentence hanging over her head of only having five days left to live. Her conformist way of life, her mediocrity, her stifled creativity, as well as her unwillingness to take risks or challenges, are all brought into the limelight for the reader to "feel". The reader experiences many emotions on Veronika's journey during the remaining five days of her life. We are treated to what her dream "would have been" if she followed her heart and allowed her emotions and passions to shine through.

Veronika's five-day metamorphosis is in effect her rebirth into life. She allows her buried feelings, passions and creativity to surface and to be acknowledged. Her brief stay also influences other patients in the hospital, as they too undergo their own rebirth into the joy of living.

The ending of this tale will come as a surprise to some readers, to others maybe not. Nonetheless, this book is excellent and will re-confirm to the reader just how precious, joyous and love-filled life is. This book also brings home many messages, the most important one being - life is what you make it - it is your choice and your choice alone - one can either live life to the fullest or be a walking zombie as Veronika was.

I thoroughly recommend this book as another inspiring and thought provoking book by Paulo Coelho. I very much look forward to his next book.

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:

5.0 out of 5 stars In Praise of Life, August 30, 2000

By Judith E. Pavluvcik (Dreaming of the beach in Hawaii, but living in the reality of the desert in Arizona!!)

About the Author: Paulo Coelho

Early Years

Paulo Coelho was born August 24, 1947, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He attended a Jesuit school. As a teenager, Coelho wanted to become a writer. Upon telling his mother this, she responded with "My dear, your father is an engineer. He's a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?

After researching, Coelho concluded that a writer "always wears glasses and never combs his hair" and has a "duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation," amongst other things. At 17, Coelho's introversion and opposition to following a traditional path led to his parents committing him to a mental institution from which he escaped three times before being released at the age of 20. Coelho later remarked that "It wasn't that they wanted to hurt me, but they didn't know what to do... They did not do that to destroy me, they did that to save me.

At his parents' wishes, Coelho enrolled in law school and abandoned his dream of becoming a writer. One year later, he dropped out and lived life as a hippie, traveling through South America, North Africa, Mexico, and Europe and becoming immersed in the drug culture of the 1960s. Upon his return to Brazil, Coelho worked as a songwriter, composing lyrics for Elis Regina, Rita Lee, and Brazilian icon Raul Seixas. Composing with Raul led to Paulo being associated with satanism and occultism, due to the content of some songs. In 1974, Coelho was arrested and tortured for "subversive" activities by the ruling military government, who had taken power ten years earlier and viewed his lyrics as left-wing and dangerous. (read more on Wikipedia)

2008 Buchmesse Interview - Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho: A Warrior's Life: The Authorized Biography

Paulo Coelho: A Warrior's Life: The Authorized Biography
Paulo Coelho: A Warrior's Life: The Authorized Biography

(Fans of Coelho's work will eagerly tear through this attentive, satisfying biography.)

Brazilian journalist, politician and biographer Morais writes with an unapologetic eye, neither judging Coelho nor seeking to justify his actions, smartly presenting the facts for readers' appraisal. Coelho himself provides a generous level of access and candor, giving readers the feeling that they are getting a privileged view despite the biography's "authorized" label; what makes Morais' biography especially revealing is his access to years of Coelho's diaries, a goldmine for biographer and reader.

About the Author

Fernando Morais, the author that helped establish the biography as a literary gender in Brazil centers his investigative verve on the Brazilian personage that has become the great myth of Brazil's recent history.


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Veronika Decides To Die Film Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Veronika

Veronika Decides To Die Film Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Veronika
Veronika Decides To Die Film Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Veronika

Veronika Decides To Die Movie Trailer

© 2010 NAIZA LM

Reader's Feedback! - Tell us what you think...

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    • KathyZ1 profile image

      KathyZ1 4 years ago

      Useful lens. Thanks for your shaing.

    • ayannavenus profile image

      ayannavenus 4 years ago

      have read all his books. my favourite of his is the alchemist. nice review of veronica

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      Very nicely presented review of Veronika Wants to Die. I really liked this book and pretty much anything Paulo Coelho writes. Blessed.