The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

Xw12_4      During my adventures into the land of literature, I am occasionally a sucker for inspirational/spiritual books, particularly the ones that practically anybody can find uplifting and don’t browbeat the reader into a specific dogma.  Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Prophet… you name it – short and sweet and not too heavy-handed.  That’s why years ago, I read Tuesdays with Morrie on the recommendation of a coworker and liked it very much, although I figured that it was a "one hit wonder" for the author, and didn’t bother reading The Five People You Meet in Heaven when it came out a couple of years ago, despite its popularity.

     If you liked Tuesdays with Morrie and its gently inspirational style, do try The Five People…, which is a pretty easy read and stands on its own merits just fine.  The main character is Eddie, an 83 year old maintenance man who dies trying to save a small girl from an amusement park accident.  What follows is his initiation into heaven, from five people that either knew Eddie or were connected in some way to him.  They share with Eddie their perspectives on the values of his past life, which he gradually reassesses, through flashbacks of some of his more traumatic experiences. 

   Yes, it’s another twist on the "You think your life was a waste, but look at how many people you helped" theme, but it’s still a fun light read, and will get you to thinking – just the ticket for reading on the bus, the doctor’s office, or a park bench on a sunny day. 

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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