Saturday, November 1, 2014

From the shelf: Veronika Decides to Die

Title: Veronika Decides to Die
Author: Paulo Coelho
Genre: Contemporary, Philisophy, Romance
Date read: September 16-23, 2014
Dawn Rates:  (5/5)

Summary (cr: goodreads)

Twenty-four-year-old Veronika seems to have everything she could wish for: youth and beauty, pleny of attractive boyfriends, a fulfilling job, and a loving family. Yet something is lacking in her life. Inside her is a void so deep that nothing could possibly ever fill it. So, on the morning of November 11, 1997, Veronika decides to die. She takes a handful of sleeping pills expecting never to wake up.

Naturally Veronika is stunned when she does wake up at Villete, a local mental hospital, where the staff informs her that she has, in fact, partially succeeded in achieving her goal. While the overdose didn't kill Veronika immediately, the medication has damaged her heart so severely that she has only days to live.

The story follows Veronika through the intense week of self-discovery that ensues. To her surprise, Veronika finds herself drawn to the confinement of Villete and its patients, who, each in his or her individual way, reflect the heart of human experience. In the heightened state of life's final moments, Veronika discovers things she has never really allowed herself to feel before: hatred, fear, curiosity, love, and sexual awakening. She finds that every second of her existence is a choice between living and dying, and at the eleventh hour emerges more open to life than ever before

In Veronika Decides to Die, Paulo Coelho takes the reader on a distinctly modern quest to find meaning in a culture overshadowed by angst, soulless routine, and pervasive conformity. Based on 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. Poignant 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.

My Review: (also in goodreads)

"Sometimes in the midst of tragedy and helplessness we see death as freedom, and internal oblivion"

"In a world where everyone struggles to survive whatever the cost, how could one judge people who decides to die. No one can judge. Everyone knows the extent of their own suffering or the total absence of meaning in their lives"

"That's how it should be with you; stay insane, but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different, but learn to do so without attracting attention. Concentrate on this flower and allow the 'I' to reveal itself. 'What is the real 'I'?' asked Veronika. Perhaps everyone else there knew, but what did it matter. She must learn to care less about annoying others. The man seemed surprised by the interruption, but he answered her question. 'It's what you are, not what others make of you'.

After reading this book, I now appreciate and understand the rough path Paulo Coelho had to walk on to chase his dream. This made me respect him more. A dream that everyone frowned upon especially the people who were supposed to support him all the way. Brida has always been a favorite of mine since the book itself has a sentimental value. This book however, lets me ponder that its never too late to realize and chase a dream. No matter how dire and hard it is, one must never give up.
Frustrations and madness may come along the way but one must always focus on that dream. I love how this book led me into reflection and discussion about things that everyone realizes but decides to give up. One shouldn't be pressured by society to do things they deem as normal. Everyone is unique, dare to be different because people who take risks and chase whatever makes them happy can truly find the meaning of living the life.

Till the next read...

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