Number of Pages: 196
Release Date: January 1, 2003
“Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination, but an answer.
In heaven, five people explain your life to you. Some you knew, others may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?””
This book has been sitting on my shelf for a number of months now, and I have finally got around to reading it! I’ve heard great things about this novel, so I was eager to see what I would think of it. Looks like the positive reviews were right! The Five People You Meet In Heaven is short but sweet, and definitely gave me a lot to think about.
Simultaneously heartwarming and heart-wrenching, this novel delivers a powerful message in less than two hundred pages. I would have liked if there had been a bit more to the story other than Eddie’s death, but at the same time I think the narrow focus suits the general goal of the book. The short length did not hinder it from effectively conveying its message, which I guess is all that really matters.
The story itself was simple but extremely moving. Eddie had gone through so much in his life, and even though I haven’t been through many similar experiences it was still quite easy to connect with the uncertainty and regret that he was feeling. I liked how details of his life were slowly leaked through shorter side-stories scatter throughout the novel, and how everything connected and made sense at the end. The ending did a nice job of wrapping all of the details together and the bittersweet conclusion just fit the mood of the story perfectly. It was well written, the pace was great, and there was a significant amount of character development. Mitch Albom truly knows how to write a well-crafted story!
The main message of the story- that everyone is connected and that we all affect each other in some way- was a really powerful one that resonated with me. It made me think about how my actions, even the seemingly insignificant ones, can have a profound impact on the lives of others. There are things that we do every day that we don’t even realize, and perhaps we’ll never know the impact they have on other people. For this reason, I’ll probably end up rereading this book again when I’m older- it’s something that everyone should be reminded of from time to time! With that being said, I would have liked a bit more subtlety in the way this message was delivered. It was very obvious almost from the beginning, and at times I sort of felt like I was being hit over the head with it. The obviousness of the moral isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I guess I’m just used to reading books in which you have to work a littler harder as a reader to fully understand the depth of the message.
Overall, this novel was a short but powerful and moving one. Although there were some aspects of it that I wish had been done differently, I still really enjoyed reading it. It’s a valuable story to read at any point in your life, no matter your age!
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) 3 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! However, I would warn them that it does take place in Heaven and mention God several times. If this religious aspect bothers them at all, then I probably wouldn’t recommend it.
Have you read this book before? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!