Thursday, 19 May 2016

Book Review: Veronika Decides To Die

This book brought me a whole lot of feelings.

Last year I lost a friend to suicide and during that time when I was struggling to process what happened someone recommended I read 'Veronika Decides To Die' by Paulo Coelho. It brought me  sadness and acceptance, but I am incredibly glad I read it.

Veronika Decides to Die is a book about a young girl called Veronika. Veronika, as the title suggests, decides that she wants to end her own life. Veronika is popular, has a good job and a supportive family but she wants to give up her life through a frustration that this is it. This is all her life can offer her and she feels empty. She feels there is nothing else that she can give or wants to give in her life because she has it all...

This struck me straight off the page - how can someone give up when they think they have it all? What else was going through her mind? What led her to this?

The story unfolds and Veronika's attempt at suicide lands her in a psychiatric unit, closely monitored by a medical team - she is told that she only has a few weeks to live because of the damage to her system from her suicide attempt. Or so she is led to believe.

In that month Veronika put's her whole life into perspective with the help of the medical team and other patients. She learns more lessons in those 4 weeks than ever.

I won't tell you the ending but it is incredible. Get your tissues at the ready!

My copy is now full of notes - there are so many snippets to this book that can inspire you - if you're dealing with death or the loss of someone to suicide, if you're struggling with your own mental well-being or you're having a down day. It's all about putting everything into perspective.

This book made me think about those I have lost to suicide and to others who have lost loved ones through suicide. It's such a raw, intense feeling when it happens to someone you know, and I don't think you ever get over the shock.

I honestly believe suicide is a split second decision (I know some will disagree). What if you could press the slow-mo button before you make that decision? What if you had time to think about your whole life, intensely for a few weeks before you make your decision?

Suicide is such a common cause of death in our society and one that fills us all with so much sadness. Left with the unknown truth, the heartache and all the why, why whys?

One thing is for sure, Veronika Decides to Die made me reflect, made me think about life and helped me cope with losing our friend last year.

I just wish he could have read the book before he made his decision. Maybe things might have been different.


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