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The Five People You Meet In Heaven Hardcover – Unabridged, September 23, 2003


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Product Details

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  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (September 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1920798218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1920798215
  • ASIN: 0786868716
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,539 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Part melodrama and part parable, Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven weaves together three stories, all told about the same man: 83-year-old Eddie, the head maintenance person at Ruby Point Amusement Park. As the novel opens, readers are told that Eddie, unsuspecting, is only minutes away from death as he goes about his typical business at the park. Albom then traces Eddie's world through his tragic final moments, his funeral, and the ensuing days as friends clean out his apartment and adjust to life without him. In alternating sections, Albom flashes back to Eddie's birthdays, telling his life story as a kind of progress report over candles and cake each year. And in the third and last thread of the novel, Albom follows Eddie into heaven where the maintenance man sequentially encounters five pivotal figures from his life (a la A Christmas Carol). Each person has been waiting for him in heaven, and, as Albom reveals, each life (and death) was woven into Eddie's own in ways he never suspected. Each soul has a story to tell, a secret to reveal, and a lesson to share. Through them Eddie understands the meaning of his own life even as his arrival brings closure to theirs.

Albom takes a big risk with the novel; such a story can easily veer into the saccharine and preachy, and this one does in moments. But, for the most part, Albom's telling remains poignant and is occasionally profound. Even with its flaws, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a small, pure, and simple book that will find good company on a shelf next to It's A Wonderful Life. --Patrick O'Kelley

From Publishers Weekly

"At the time of his death, Eddie was an old man with a barrel chest and a torso as squat as a soup can," writes Albom, author of the bestselling phenomenon Tuesdays with Morrie, in a brief first novel that is going to make a huge impact on many hearts and minds. Wearing a work shirt with a patch on the chest that reads "Eddie" over "Maintenance," limping around with a cane thanks to an old war injury, Eddie was the kind of guy everybody, including Eddie himself, tended to write off as one of life's minor characters, a gruff bit of background color. He spent most of his life maintaining the rides at Ruby Pier, a seaside amusement park, greasing tracks and tightening bolts and listening for strange sounds, "keeping them safe." The children who visited the pier were drawn to Eddie "like cold hands to a fire." Yet Eddie believed that he lived a "nothing" life-gone nowhere he "wasn't shipped to with a rifle," doing work that "required no more brains than washing a dish." On his 83rd birthday, however, Eddie dies trying to save a little girl. He wakes up in heaven, where a succession of five people are waiting to show him the true meaning and value of his life. One by one, these mostly unexpected characters remind him that we all live in a vast web of interconnection with other lives; that all our stories overlap; that acts of sacrifice seemingly small or fruitless do affect others; and that loyalty and love matter to a degree we can never fathom. Simply told, sentimental and profoundly true, this is a contemporary American fable that will be cherished by a vast readership. Bringing into the spotlight the anonymous Eddies of the world, the men and women who get lost in our cultural obsession with fame and fortune, this slim tale, like Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, reminds us of what really matters here on earth, of what our lives are given to us for.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Mitch Albom is an author, playwright, and screenwriter who has written seven books, including the international bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time. His first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller, as were For One More Day, his second novel, and Have a Little Faith, his most recent work of nonfiction. All four books were made into acclaimed TV films. Albom also works as a columnist and a broadcaster and has founded seven charities in Detroit and Haiti, where he operates an orphanage/mission. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

284 of 314 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Yeh on April 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just got this book today when someone recommended it to me and when I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I skipped dinner and didn't do my homework but it was just that good. It leaves you wondering if you ever made a difference in someone's life here on earth. Then it makes you wonder who the five people you will meet in heaven are. This book was truly inspirational. It makes you want to go out into the world and try and make as big as impact on people's lives. I recommend anyone to read this book whether you believe in heaven or not. It's an absolutely amazing book.
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633 of 724 people found the following review helpful By Beth on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Without going into the set-up of the story (which you can find in other reviews), I'll simply say this amazing little book is on my Christmas shopping list for those that are the dearest to my heart. This is a book I want to share with everyone! Not to scare anyone away from it -- by the end of this story, I was a sobbing mess! The first four of Eddie's people give little pieces of the puzzle, profound little tidbits to help him understand more about the events in his life. But his "fifth person" reveals Eddie's true purpose in life, a life that Eddie felt was a "nothing existence" on Earth. He learns from his fifth person that his life was an incredibly important piece of the tapestry of life's experience here -- one that meant more to people than he could ever have dreamed. A truly inspiring piece of American literature that EVERYONE should read!!
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87 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Andy Tan on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
To tell the truth, after reading Tuesdays with Morrie from Mitch Albom, I did have high expectations for this follow-up.
And I must say that my expectations were more than surpassed by another winner from him.
The interweaving of Eddie "Maintenance"'s various aspects of life from his childhood, teenage years, courtship, military service, marriage, middle age to old age and finally the beginning of his journey through heaven was beautifully and intricately spun in this short tale.
The poetic descriptions of the various "steps" in heaven that Eddie traversed through in search for inner peace before his final resting destination and the 5 lessons he had to learnt brought to mind the eternal existentialistic questions of why we are here and what our life purpose is, in a quiet and non-intrusive manner. So much so that we can be prompted to examine our own lives more sympathetically.
The message I got from Mitch Albom at the end was that Eddie could have been anyone of us and that we do not need to wait for our turn to meet our five people in heaven to recognise that whatever we are doing now has meaning and has purpose in wonderful and beautiful ways and that we should never allow ourselves to belittle our lives.
Not quite the tearjerker as Tuesdays but Five People has certainly touched my heart and a few others in more ways than one. I hope that you will allow this beautiful book to touch yours too.
Kudos to Mitch Albom and a big thank you to his uncle Eddie for being the source of inspiration for this would-be classic.
God bless
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Great literature invariably draws the reader in and invites him to think, to make comparisons between what he is reading and how it compares to ones own life and thoughts, to weigh in on whether there is agreement or disagreement. Story telling, on the other hand may be as simple as watching the latest brainless sitcom on television.
So where does "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom fall out? After reading the book my opinion--and obviously opinion is as different as fingerprints--is that Albom's book firmly fits the former and not the latter.
The book tells the story of a good man who lives a full life but doesn't know it. He feels shortchanged and, following his death, wonders what it all might of meant. The five people he meets help him to accept life as it was and to find some closure for the future. Some of the five are individuals he remembers some are mere phantoms that passed by without leaving much of an impression on him--or so he believes. Each teaches a lesson (and, yes, each lesson has applicability to every life) and clarifies how his interaction impacted life.
I hesitate to say more because Albom's book is written in such a way as to make it an entirely different statement and experience for each reader. My memories, feelings and experience are markedly different from yours and Albom's story struck chords with me that simply won't be the same for you.
Don't try to compare this one to "A Christmas Carol" (there is no opportunity here as Scrooge had to go back and make amends). Don't compare it to "It's a wonderful Life" (this really isn't a story about how a life made life wonderful for his peers). Some have compared it to Homer's Odyssey.
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707 of 918 people found the following review helpful By David Kusumoto on October 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In my mind, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" is a fine book. Regard it as a fable of what might happen to some of us after we're dead.

People have argued that it's too sentimental -- and riddled with more cliches than what's found in director Frank Capra's filmography.

But its structure -- as a book -- is marvelous. "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" moves quickly and is never dull. I believe it's the kind of title that will never go out of print. And yet it will forever polarize readers.

I think it's too easy for intellectual snobs to scoff at works like "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" -- excluding or denigrating all that's mainstream and "popular," as if the unwashed masses who made this book a success are all wrong -- and they themselves are clear-headed and right.

Just ignore them. "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" is for you if you find thick and weighty titles a little daunting after a while. It's the perfect "break," a refreshing change of pace for a guy like me who's used to reading so many books that feel like work -- filled with depressing themes or mind-numbing sentences -- determined to impress critics or juries who give out prizes.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" cuts through all that and gets straight to the point in fewer pages. It's not designed to please snobby critics who are always suspicious of commercial success. And in my view, it's mean-spirited to read reviewers accusing Mitch Albom of "selling out" -- when it's obvious that he's tapped into something that resonates and brings optimism to many people who might otherwise avoid books.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" is a great response to fashionable pessimism among wine-and-cheese intellectuals. This book isn't Hemingway.
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