We tend to take life for granted. We keep chasing elusive goals set by others for us. Paulo Coelho’s “Veronika decides to die” reminds us to really live life each day as opposed to just existing. This is a story of a girl named Veronika who lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She has everything in her life a girl can ever dream of. She is young and pretty, has plenty of attractive boyfriends, has a steady job, a loving family. Still Veronika is not happy, still she is not satisfied, still her heart is empty, still her heart craves for something missing in her life, still she wants to end up everything and die. Finally she decides to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in order to stop that endless routine.
While she waits for her death, she decides to read a magazine. After seeing an article in the magazine which wittily asks “Where is Slovenia”, she decides to write a letter to the press justifying her suicide, the idea being to make the press believe that she has killed herself because people don’t even know where Slovenia is. Unfortunately her plan fails and she wakes up in Villete, a mental hospital in Slovenia, where she is told that she has a week to live. During her internment in Villete she realizes that she has nothing to lose and can therefore do what she wants, say what she wants and be what she wants without having to worry about what others think of her. As a madwoman, she is unlikely to be criticized. Because of this newfound freedom, Veronika experiences all the things she never allowed herself to experience including hatred, love and even sexual awakening. She starts to see her past relationships much more clearly and understand why she felt her life had no meaning. Veronika’s experiences lead her gradually to realize that every second of existence is a choice that we all make between living and dying. Through the story of her remaining days, Coelho encourages the reader to believe in hope and follow his or her own dream without the fear of being seen as mad.
This book reminds us that every moment in our lives is special and precious. Like other works by the same author, this one also is about those people who yearn for finding what life is all about. “Live each day as if it were a miracle”, he tells us. After I read this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I pondered its thoughts, and I wondered: if I were to die in 5 days, what would I want to do that I can't do today because the world will call me crazy? Well... it's actually a hard list to come up with. Some moments of the Veronika's story were even shocking and insightful for me. One of the Villete's patients tells Veronika to masturbate and to be bold in her imagination while doing it. By that particular moment, Paulo Coelho brings out the importance of sexuality in our lives and states that this theme continues to be a taboo and leaves many people unhappy and dissatisfied.
What is normal in our society? Why is it considered normal? Why people refuse from something very important for them under social pressure? These are just few issues which Paulo Coelho presents in his book. Reading this book didn't leave me indifferent, it was not just one of many books which are forgotten after some time. Thanks to "Veronika Decides to Die", i realize that everyday routine should not be an obstacle in living happy fulfilling life. Now I know that following the rules created by other people will not make me happy. If I am unhappy, it's not other people's fault rather it’s my own fault because I was not strong enough to follow my own passion. I believe that every reader will find something in the book that particularly meshes well with his or her own view of life.
The Quotes I love:
1. There is alwayas a gap between intention and action.
2. Nothing in this world happens by chance.
3. Some people always want to help others. Just so that they can feel better than they really are.
4. People think about sex only once a fortnight and transform that thought into action only once a month.
5. People never learn anything by being told, they have to findout for themselves.
6. You have two choices, to control your mind or to let your mind control you.
7. We are allowed to make a lot of mistakes in our lives, except the mistake that destroys our lives.
8. An awareness of death encourages us to live more intensely.
9. The danger of an adventure is worth than thousand days of ease and comfort.