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Veronika Decides To Die Paperback – Apr 26 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (April 26 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060955775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060955779
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #391,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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SHE PICKED up the four packs of sleeping pills from her bedside table. Read the first page
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "trunchbull" on March 3 2004
Format: Paperback
Ok I'll start with the pros, then I'll lash out the cons at the end.....first of all, I do think the plot of "Veronika Decides to Die" is intriguing and original (a young woman suffers a failed suicide attempt and lands in a mental hospital, suspended somewhere between life and death, believing her days to be limited due to irreversible heart failure and acting upon this belief. During her stay at the hospital, her closeness to death renews in her an appreciation of the life she had attempted to take away. Through her exchanges with her inmates, she learns about love, madness, dreams, freedom and the need to break free from self-imposed inhibitions and social "norms." Here, some interesting questions are raised in the novel...what IS the "norm"? why does society fear that which is different/erratic/new? why is being "different" considered a kind of madness? and who is madder....those who live as they please or those who destroy their dreams and limit their potential in order to conform?
The intended message is inspiring and beautiful .. one must discover the true value of life, the richness with with it can be lived, the meaning of living it. We should not be apathetic and resigned to the dull norms, instead we should savor every mad moment, every whim, every impulse we feel...so long as we do not cause destruction to those around us....sing in the rain, climb a mountain, paint, dance, laugh with the joy of life and living, unleash the individual within you and cry, scream, go out and follow your dream. It is an inspiring approach to our existence and the book answers to a modern-day malaise inflicting thousands of people world wide: boredom/apathy/depression.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Lyman on Aug. 27 2003
Format: Paperback
The first part of Veronika Decides to Die is a bleak journey into the head of the fatalistic young woman who gives the book its name. Author Paulo Coelho does a good job here of describing the mindset that would lead someone to suicide, and in setting the stage for Veronika's rebirth in the later parts of the book. Really understanding the book, I think, requires understanding this part.
But understanding Mr. Coelho requires understanding the rest of the story.
There is a simple beauty to Mr. Coelho's style, in evidence as he describes Veronika's ascent from the depths of her private purgatory to her return to her place among the living. This evolution in Veronika is the crux of the book and it illustrates Mr. Coelho's strengths and weaknesses as a storyteller: his ideas are fresh and original and his sense of plot of solid. But his techniques as a writer, his dialogues, his pacing, are weak.
To be sure, Mr. Coelho's ideas are the cornerstones of his legion fan base. The ideas are not only visible in this book when it comes to Veronika's rebirth but also in interesting but minor parts of the story. One of my favorites was when Mari -- an antagonist to Veronika, a lawyer, and a fellow patient at the Villete hospital where most of the story takes place -- muses about how she would defend Adam in the eyes of God for the role he played in the Fall of Man. I also enjoyed the metaphor from Zedka -- another patient -- about the king and queen who rules a kingdom of mad people and how they reacted.
But I quarrel with Mr. Coelho's development of characters, and especially with his choice of dialogue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tony (Toronto) on Dec 27 2011
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine had suggested I read this, and based on the reviews I saw on here it seemed like a good bet. I was therefore surprised to find myself reading a novel that was poorly written with awkward dialogue that made me cringe as I read. It was also full of cheesy cliches, and overall frustrating to get through. The author's use of the third person at the beginning of the novel seemed stupid, awkward, and cheesy all at the same time.

Oftentimes it read like a psychology or science textbook rather than a novel. Example: "There was more. She knew that everything she could see around her was just a scene created by electrical impulses inside her brain, using light impulses that passed through a gelatinous organ called the eye." (p.106). (This one was particularly cringe-worthy!)

Maybe it was problem of translation to English from Portuguese, but still, why this book/author is so famous eludes me.

I don't recommend this book at all. I want 6 hours of my life back =)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SC579 on Aug. 13 2002
Format: Paperback
First let me say I am a huge fan of Paulo Coelho, but this book left me thinking, "How long does it take anyone to die?"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Moozhskoy on March 2 2002
Format: Paperback
It seems that most people reviewing this book are reviewing the message ("Life is good") rather than the book. Sure, the moral of the story makes you feel good, but that doesn't mean that the book is well done; in fact, the novel itself is weak. The story goes nowhere, the characters are as dead as Veronika wishes to be, and the ending is obvious from the beginning. Maybe it reads better in Portugese, but this one left me colder than the Slovenian winter.
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