Thursday, 27 March 2008

Veronika Decides to Die

Title: Veronika Decides to Die

Author: Paulo Coelho

Number of pages: 192

Started: 25 March 2008

Finished: 27 March 2008

Opening words:

On 11 November, 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 heating, brushed her teeth and lay down.

She picked up the four packs of sleeping pills from her bedside table. Instead of crushing them and mixing them with water, she decided to take them one by one, because there is always a gap between intention and action, and she wanted to feel free to turn back half way. However, with each pill she swallowed, she felt more convinced: after five minutes the packs were empty.

Plot summary:

The new novel from internationally acclaimed author Paulo Coelho -- a dramatic story of love, life and death that shows us all why every second of our existence is a choice we all make between living and dying. Veronika has everything she could wish for. She is young and pretty, has plenty of boyfriends, a steady job, a loving family. Yet she is not happy; something is lacking in her life, and one morning she decides to die. She takes an overdose of sleeping pills, only to wake up some time later in the local hospital. There she is told that her heart is damaged and she has only a few days to live. The story follows Veronika through these intense days as to her surprise she finds herself experiencing feelings she has never really felt before. Against all odds she finds herself falling in love and even wanting to live again...

Synopsis taken from Amazon

What I thought:

I’m not generally much of a fan of Paulo Coelho, although I certainly thought this book was much better than The Alchemist, which was a book that I really disliked. As for this book, I thought it was ok, but despite it seeming to want to be a book about someone finding a new zest for life when it is too late, it wasn’t what I would think of as inspirational. It was a bit too trite about things, such as mental illness, to be credible. It seemed to give the impression that people with a mental illness were just people who didn’t meet the social normal, rather than it being something that could be a severe psychological problem that couldn’t just be fixed by an injection of hope.

I also thought it slightly weird that he actually included himself in the story on a couple of occasions right at the beginning. But, as story goes, it was ok. Nothing spectacular but perfectly readable.

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