V: Slovenia

This isn’t the first book I ever read by Paulo Coelho, but it is one of my favourites. Veronika Decides to Die is a dramatic story of love, life and death. It highlights ways in which all of us make decisions every second of our existence relating to living and dying.

Even the title sounds dramatic. Veronika is a girl that from the outside seems to have a pretty good life. Nothing particularly bad happens to her, there’s no tragic backstory. But she just felt unsatisfied. Her suicide attempt did not “succeed” and so she finds herself in a hospital for patients with mental disorders. She is told that the overdose damaged her heart and she had one more week to live before she dies. With only week to live, Veronika re-discovers herself sexually and emotionally, falls in love, and starts wanting to live. It’s almost like the intensity of a short space of time highlighted the priorities of her “bucket list”.

Anyone who thinks life is not worth living should give it a try. I’d maybe even go so far as to say that doctors and other medical professionals should read it in order to have a better insight into the mind-set of patients.