How quickly someone can go from being ready to die to truly falling in love with life? Touching on topics like spirituality, the soul, human spirit, following dreams, and the true definition of sanity, Veronika Decides to Die answers just this in way that only Paulo Coelho could. This was one of the more difficult books for me to get started on. As a matter of fact, I began the audiobook of it on a roadtrip and quickly turned it off in favor of finding something more uplifting while being on the road. However, after giving it a second try, this has become one of my absolute favorite novels. In a way that feels completely relatable, Paulo Coelho tells a story of overcoming the darkest night of your life in order to find hope and inspiration. Based on a true story, the book is written about 24 year old Veronika who decides to kill herself. The failed attempt lands her in the notoriously famous insane asylum known as Villette. Upon waking up, she is told that the attempt has damaged her heart and that she only has upwards of a week to live. As a result, Veronika grapples with her own hopelessness facing the inevitability of death. However, through the help of some new, “crazy” friends, she decides that she actually has love and hope for life and wants to live her last few days doing something only a truly insane person would, following her dreams. In a matter of days, she lives out a love story and her dream to be a pianist in such a way that she is able to awaken the desire to live a full life even in the hearts of those most lost. With a surprising twist ending that will have you furious, amazed, and thrilled, don’t miss out on, Veronika Decides To Die.
- Recommended by Brett— From August Staff Picks to Conclude Your Summer
Veronika seems to have it all - intelligence, talent, beauty, a loving family, an array of lovers, a stable job. But the mundane routine of day-to-day life, no matter how pleasant it may seem, has zapped Veronika’s life of all meaning, and she decides that the only great adventure left for her is death. So, she downs a handful of sleeping pills and awaits death’s embrace, fully confident in her decision. However, she awakes a week later in a mental hospital, and learns that she only partially succeeded - while she did not die right away, the pills have ruined her heart, and she has at most a week to live. What follows is a week of re-discovery, as the other patients around her show her the true meaning of sanity, of happiness, and of living. Veronika must reconcile her new-found passion for life and understanding of herself with the decision that she has already made, and the end that awaits her. This book moved me to my core; I loved it deeply and fully. This is one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read.
Recommended by Marissa
Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything—youth and beauty, boyfriends and a loving family, a fulfilling job. But something is missing in her life. So, one cold November morning, she takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up. But she does—at a mental hospital where she is told that she has only days to live.
Inspired by events in Coelho’s own life, Veronika Decides to Die questions the meaning of madness and celebrates individuals who do not fit into patterns society considers to be normal. Bold and illuminating, it is a dazzling portrait of a young woman at the crossroads of despair and liberation, and a poetic, exuberant appreciation of each day as a renewed opportunity.
About the Author
Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Adultery, among others, have sold over 175 million copies worldwide, and The Alchemist has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 360 weeks.
Paulo Coelho has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002, and in 2007, he was appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace. He is also the most followed author on social media.