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THE TAPESTRY OF LIFE...
on February 4, 2006
Written in clear, spare prose, this slender tome is a pleasant little book that can easily be read in one sitting. It is a sentimental look at life and the hereafter. This book, the Spanish text edition of "The Five People You Meet in Heaven", focuses on an individual named Eddie, who is the chief maintenance mechanic for the rides at a seaside amusement park called Ruby Pier. It is around him that the book revolves. Eddie is a somewhat embittered and lonely old man who tragically dies on his eighty third birthday, while trying to save a child from certain death when an amusement ride comes loose from its moorings.
When he dies, Eddie meets five people in heaven. Each of them imparts a special lesson about Eddie's life. Each lesson allows him to understand the meaning of his life a little better. The five people that he meets show Eddie, and the reader, how we are all connected, and that the smallest acts can often have great impact on others, both positively and negatively. The book's bottom line message is that everyone has a purpose in life, whether or not it is readily apparent to one. It is as if there were a cosmic tapestry, with the life of one interwoven with the life of another, the threads crossing unknowingly but creating a larger picture.
Although the author definitely manipulates the sensibilities of the reader, that is not necessarily a bad thing. The book, however, is somewhat predictable and, at times, a little reminiscent of a treacly Hallmark greeting card, both schmaltzy and touching. It was no surprise that the book ended up as a Hallmark Hall of Fame production and turned into a made-for-TV movie. The film is quite enjoyable, and Jon Voight is terrific in the lead role. I actually saw the film before I read the book, and the film whetted my appetite for the book. While not as good as the author's other book, "Tuesdays with Morrie", it is still a book that will resonate, if only because many will find its simple message comforting. Profundity, after all, may be found in simplicity.