Book Review: Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Book Review_ Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho Feature Image

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho- is a brilliant portrayal of a young woman at a crossroads between hopelessness and emancipation, as well as a poetic, jubilant celebration of each new day as an opportunity. In his most recent international blockbuster, the author responds to one of the most common queries of millions of people: Why am I here right now? & Why do I continue to live?

There is this phase in everyone’s life where they feel like everything is going south, and despite (seemingly) having everything, there’s still a void that doesn’t seem to be occupied. This book showcases this feeling through Veronika’s life, which also gives us a glimpse of the author’s own experiences.

Veronika, a 24-year-old Slovenian woman who seems to have everything going for her in life yet decides to commit suicide, is the subject of this book. This book addresses madness and is based partly on Coelho’s experiences in several mental hospitals. The main takeaway is that collective insanity is referred to as sane.

Wait, don’t leave yet! There’s a lot more of this ahead, and it’s not something you would want to skip. Keep on reading!

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho| Book Review

The Author

Paulo Coelho Author of Veronika Decides to Die

Paulo Coelho

Brazilian novelist and lyricist Paulo Coelho de Souza was born on August 24, 1947. Since 2002, he has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. With the success of The Alchemist, which he wrote, he wrote another 28 works. Paulo Coelho was raised as a Jesuit and was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His parents placed Coelho in a mental facility when he was 17. Before being discharged at age 20, he managed to break out three times.

In 1980, Coelho got married to the artist Christina Oiticica. They used to split their time between a rural residence in the French Pyrenees and Rio de Janeiro for half the year each, but they now make Geneva, Switzerland, their permanent home.

After returning to Brazil, Coelho worked as a lyricist, writing songs for singers Rita Lee, Elis Regina, and Raul Seixas. The Alchemist was written by Coelho and released by a small Brazilian publishing business, which printed 900 copies before deciding not to reissue it.

In 1994, HarperCollins decided to release the book. Subsequently, it rose to become a global bestseller. Coelho has typically produced at least one novel every two years since the release of The Alchemist. The Pilgrimage, Hippie, The Valkyries, and Aleph are the only four that are autobiographical; most of the others are largely fiction.

A TV series based on the characters from Coelho’s books The Devil and Miss Prym, Brida, and The Witch of Portobello was announced to have been developed in 2018.

Book Overview| Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho cover image

Full Title: Veronika Decides to Die

Author: Paulo Coelho

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Publishing Date: January 1, 1998

Page Count: 208

Themes: Compliance, Death, Madness, Philosophy

Main Characters: Zedka, Dr. Igor, Veronika Deklava, Mari, Eduard

Setting: In this book, a 24-year-old woman’s attempted suicide and stay in a psychiatric hospital are chronicled. The story is set in Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana, a few years after Yugoslavia’s dissolution.


Paulo Coelho leads the reader on a distinctly contemporary search to find meaning in a civilization overwhelmed by anguish, monotonous routine, and pervasive conformity in Veronika Decides to Die. Based on actual events in Coelho’s life, Veronika Decides to Die explores the meaning of crazy and champions people who do not conform to social norms.

Book Summary| Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Veronika, 24, seemed to have everything she could want: youth and beauty, many beauty lovers, rewarding work, and a kind family. Her life, though, is lacking in certain ways. There is a gaping hole inside her that nothing could ever possibly fill. Veronika decided to end her life in the morning on November 11, 1997.

She takes several sleeping tablets intending never to wake up. When Veronika finally awakens at Villete, a nearby mental hospital, the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal, to which Veronika is naturally shocked.

Veronika’s heart has been so seriously injured by the drug that she only has a few days to live, even though the overdose did not immediately kill her. The narrative follows Veronika during the ensuing rigorous week of self-discovery.

Veronika is surprised to discover that she is drawn to the Villete prison and its residents, who each uniquely capture the essence of the human experience. Veronika learns to feel emotions she had never really let herself feel before, including hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening, in the heightened state of life’s final moments.

In the eleventh hour, she finds that every moment of her life is a decision between living and dying, and she is more open to life than ever before.

My Takeaway From the Book

quotes of Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

This book was particularly heart-touching for me, and the message it screamed, I heard it all loud and clear. Death is not a remedy for issues and challenges. Everything in life is a struggle for survival.

Coping with life is not important; what is important is manipulating the concept of life and its components. Every moment of life is beautiful and should be cherished because it can be the last. Live each day such that it brings you delight always.

What Did I Think of this Book?

This story’s flawless composition has made me appreciate life more. Live life as it should be, and always have faith in yourself. This book’s main theme is suicide. Some people have different ideas on this.

Some people could believe that those who choose suicide are narrow-minded, while others may not understand. When a loved one or close friend decides to take their own life, it is a horrible and extreme experience.

The other issues of this book—such as balancing craziness, mental soundness, and the difficulties people encounter when they feel at odds with society, are truly fascinating. The notion is that everyone is unique but that most people expend the necessary energy trying to be like everyone else.

It examines the value of life, contrasting the carefree repetition of days with the thrill of realizing each day could be our last and living it to the fullest.


This book holds a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

Conclusion| Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

In the end, I would want to say that Veronika discovers that she is unbound. At the start of the narrative, Veronika seemed to have it all: a career, boyfriends, and fame. She eventually feels as though these things enslave her, which is what prompts the suicide attempt.

Veronika is essentially set free twice. She is unfettered since dying is the only thing that can be done to a person. Second, because she carries the term “mad,” people anticipate strange behavior from her. She is now free to carry out the activities for which she has lived in fear.

It is concise, readable, and provides insightful fuel for thought. It is recommended!

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