“Veronika Decides to Die” gives you an impression the book is depressing, right? I can assure you it isn’t.
Paulo Coelho, the best selling Brazillian author brings another beautifully woven story. It is bound to make you sad and leave you happy by the end. The story does begin with a depressing tone but takes a twist no one expects.
The story revolves around a 24- year-old girl, Veronika. Veronika lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia and has everything one asks for in life. She is beautiful, has loving parents, a lover and a job. But a feeling of fear that everything will go downhill for her after 24 takes over her mind. So, one evening she sits near her window with a bottle of painkillers. As she starts talking one pill at a time, she takes a look at all the things outside which she sees every day. Slowly, she started getting sleepy but death had not yet come.
The plan to kill herself fails and she woke up to find herself in a mental hospital, Villette. The doctor tells her that her attempt at suicide had failed and her heart had taken the toll of it. She finds out that she has a week only to live. Her world had taken an unexpected turn.
Coelho then goes on to explain how he came to know about Veronika’s story. He relates to her story because his parents also admitted him into a mental institution for his “unusual behaviour”. But Coelho appears in the story for a brief moment only.
Coming back to Veronika, shocked and resistant to live in Villette she tries to find a way out of there. But she fails at this too. Reluctantly she becomes friend with Mari, who suffers from panic attacks. Later she claims that she might have fallen in love with Eduard, a schizophrenic. Somehow she slowly gave in and accepted her reality. She decided to live the last few days of her life to the fullest.
Dr Igor, one of the main characters of the stories gives Veronika series of shocks to test his medical theory. He wants to prove through his experiment that he can shock someone into wanting to live again by convincing them that their death is around the corner. That is exactly what he did with Veronika.
Veronika finds herself on a journey to discover herself before she dies. She rediscovers her passion for piano. She played the piano every evening that lifted the spirits of many at Villette. She suffered a heart-attacks throughout the week, she found her desire to live again.
Coelho, makes you rethink your decisions and your routines. Just like all his other books, this book also successfully connects with its readers. Like Veronika, all of us have had moments in our life where we thought the only way out is to die. Paulo gives his readers a new hope to live. You will reevaluate your reasons to continue living. He leaves a hidden message that there a number of reasons in this world to live and suicide is not an option. A moment can change your life.
I recommend this book to everyone especially the people who have been suicidal some time in life. Veronika decides to Die is not a long read. The stories winds up in around 200 pages. By the end of the book, it will leave its readers happy to be alive. Paulo focuses on the fact that even the slightest of change in perspective can make a broken person stronger.