Friday, September 26, 2008

Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom

Posted by lea at 11:11 AM
Mitch Albom is most famous for his book Tuesdays with Morrie, but personally, I think The Five People You Meet in Heaven is more enjoyable. The story revolves around the life (or rather, death) of eighty-three year old Eddie, a war veteran and maintenance man for the amusement rides at Ruby's Pier. From the beginning, we are told that Eddie is going to die soon, but that death is only the beginning.

The premise is that upon death, we meet five people in heaven who explain the meaning of our lives - something we often miss in our mundane day-to-day. The first time I read this book (around a year or two ago for my book club) it had quite a profound impact on me and I'm sure I shed a tear or two. This time round it wasn't quite the same (I should've written this review back then) but I still think it's a great little book.

It's an easy and absorbing read that does prompt you to think about the meaning of your life. And I couldn't help but wonder what happens if you go to hell - do you meet five people who tell you what your life could've been, leading to remorse and eternal repentance rather than understanding and acceptance, which is what happens to Eddie in the end?

Overall, it's a lovely and well written story with a fable-like quality that reminded me a little of The Alchemist. In both cases, the stories are profound but written with great simplicity, allowing the meaning to really shine through. There's a touch of the spiritual and eternal in both, a sense of fate and purpose that's quite inspirational. This book would appeal to a wide audience.

PS - I just googled and discovered they made a telemovie out of it with Jon Voight!


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