Initially I was quite reluctant to share this book with just anybody else as this book is so personal to me. But then again, the story is too good to be hogged alone so, here I am :) This book was introduced by a fren of mine who claimed that this story reminded her so much of me. And the fact that Veronika Decides to Die was also my first Coelho’s book, I just have to confess - I’ve read this book so many times before until I’ve lost count ;p
This book talks about life and sanity, what it feels like being the ‘mad ones’. Coelho’s interpretation of madness was spot-on lucid given that he himself has been admitted to the institution for 3 times when he was younger. So, he’s the most perfect figure to talk about this issue.
Okay, so the story revolves around a girl from a small town who seems to have everything figured out. She got a job, her own place, boyfriend, you name it. But just because she felt that she knows how & where her life is heading to (like few years down the road she’ll be married & then became a mother, she’ll stay at home & devote herself solely to her family bla bla bla…) she decided that it’s pointless to go on living since everything is so predictable. So on one fine day, Veronika decided to kill herself.
Allow me to digress a little, FYI it is common for most ppl who resort in to suicide to perceive suicide as the only way of having control over their life when everything else falls apart. What so cynical about Veronika’s story is, she has the control over all elements of her life but she bravely decided to change the course of her life coz she thought it was too conventional.
But the twist to this story is, she survived her suicide attempt only to find out that she got only another 2 weeks to live (due to heart damaged caused by the overdose of sleeping drugs). She woke up in an institution called The Villete where she met a few significant characters – Zedka, who suffered from major depression, Mari who suffered from severe paranoia / anxiety disorder and Eduard the schizophrenic.
Learning the fact that she’s dying somehow gave her another reason to live life as she felt the helplessness of not having control over her predicted demise. And being among the mad ones has given her the freedom to do or say whatever she wants because there will be no more fear of being judge as well as the fact that she got nothing else to lose. For the first time in her life, Veronika wanted to live her life to the fullest.
If I were to describe this story in a nutshell, I’d say it’s story about the fear of losing control, losing yourself in life & relationship as you grew older, and the more you feel like you’re losing it, the harder you struggle to liberate yourself.
But that’s not just it, there is another twist at the end of the story, which is so mind-blowing btw, and I just gotta say this, Coelho has the most amazing talent in crafting the perfect ending for all his stories. So, watch out as I’ll do more reviews on Coelho’s other masterpieces.