Veronika decides to die - Book Review

The 7th review of Paulo Coelho’s books I’m gonna blog about today is Veronika Decides To Die. Some of the first notes I would make about this book are:

  1. I did enjoy the book because it talked about matters worth thinking about. I felt like though Veronika Decides To Die was written in 1998, almost 20 years later, it still resonates with the current world.
  2. Expect an ordinary world in an asylum. Mad people are not mad after all. This asylum is not a bit scary like the one in the American Horror Stories series. I love the people lived here.
  3. However, though I like the ending of the book, I didn’t like the ending for the protagonist. Perhaps I expected it to be more tragic but instead, the author showed his humanity side as always.

Let’s go through the story-line of Veronika Decides To Die

Veronika – the protagonist of the book, who has everything and should be as happy as any young woman in her 20s. But she has no love for life and is constantly depressed about living. The fear that life will run downhill when her 20s passes. The powerless feeling of not being able to make a change in the world. These two reasons lead Veronika to her attempt to kill herself. But to her frustration, she doesn’t die of over dosing on sleeping pills. Worse, she ends up in an asylum, where everybody, including herself, continues to wait upon her death to arrive. Strangely, in a place where sorrow, madness, hopelessness and death are common things, Veronika found herself and love.

Why Veronika Decides To Die is worth reading?

1. Veronika Decides To Die teaches us To Live.

We all have different ideas on how to be significant and how a life should be if it is to be worthwhile. People can be content in many ways. But mostly, the fact that people are not happy with their life must essentially have something to do with them not being satisfied with who they are. Some are content with the expectations of others of them because those are what they expect of themselves as well. But to some others, these expectations can be stressful, even depressing if they can’t achieve them. And to a minority, these are plainly absurd and meaningless to them to pursue. But what makes this minority frustrated is that they haven’t known what else can they pursue instead of these expectations. It is easier to stop living physically or mentally than to try to bother our self with a quest of finding the meaning of our life. What if what we think is the true meaning suddenly becomes nonsensical? How long can one keep on finding and realising the finding is fruitless? The making of one self is a journey that never ends. But once we stop building, discovering our self, we stop living.

What makes a person hate themselves? - Cowardice perhaps. Or the eternal fear of being wrong, of not doing what others expect.
2. Veronika Decides to Die teaches us To Demand.

Stop thinking all the time that you're in the way, that you're bothering the person next to you.

How do you walk into a strange room? Is this you? A slouched figure, trying to walk as fast as possible to a corner, standing with folded arms and alerting eyes that pretend to observe and understand what’s going on in the room; but in fact, you are clueless. Have you ever marched in a space and demanded people to tell you the things you want to know, without feeling like bothering them? This is our common approach to life. We try to be considered as nice as possible. And we don’t want to risk it, even at the expense of our comfort. A detail I love dearly from the book, is about sexual pleasure. When was the last time you demand your partner to not finish before you can reach your orgasm too? This book is interesting.

3. Veronika Decides to Die teaches you To Fake.

Fake life in the normal world. Live true in the asylum. How can you tell a sane from an insane person? Probably from the confirmation of the psychiatrists and the strong recognition from a crowd. Then, even the “mad man” tells the truth, it would be wrong as well. Sadly, we are caught in this fine line between madness and sanity all the time. What is wrong, what is right is simply what has more supporters. Next time, if you believe in something that has not yet been proved before, remain sane to the world and mad to yourself. Then go on and turn your madness into truth. That’s how people change the world. A touch of madness is all it takes.

I feel a bit sad that the story-line wasn’t too special that it would stick to mind after reading. But Veronika Decides to Die, as a book in general, gives off valuable lessons of life.