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The Five People You Meet in Heaven Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 1, 2006
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
This life-affirming fable ironically opens at the end of the life of a seemingly ordinary man. Known as "Eddie Maintenance" to those he works with at Ruby Pier, Eddie led what he saw as a disappointing life working as head of maintenance at a seaside amusement park. Upon his death, he learns that heaven is a place to make sense of his time on earth and that he will meet five people from his life who will help him understand its greatest lessons. Accompanied at times by music that sounds psychedelic rather than heavenly, reader Singer conveys this uplifting story in an earnest manner. However, the soft-spoken intonations he employs for women and the gruff but bashful voices he uses for men add an extra dose of sweetener to this already sentimental tale, as does Singer's plaintive rendition of Eddie and his wife Marguerite's song, "You made me love you." Still, those who turn to this audio book for Albom's (Tuesdays with Morrie) musings on the meaning of life will not be disappointed by his message-each of our lives are inextricably connected to those around us-or his compelling vision of how we might view life after death.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The premise of the book is that when you die, you meet five people. They are not always the five most important people in your life (parents, grandparents, spouses, children, etc), but sometimes people who you met in passing or who you'd rather forget. Sometimes it's someone you don't really even know. But they're always someone who has had an important impact on your life.
In The Five People You Meet in Heave, the story follows Eddie as he meets his five people and his life's meaning is revealed to him. He meets five people, only one of who he really would have thought would be on his 'five people' list. The story is heartbreaking and moving and life affirming. I am still a sobbing mess every time I re-read it. I can't tell you how many highlights and pencil marks my hard copy of this has, and probably just as many for my kindle version. Yes, I have both a hard copy and a kindle version. I treasure my original copy, but love having the digital version at my fingertips everywhere I go. This book is THAT good. It's the kind of book you pass along to a friend who is struggling or a teenager in need of guidance and searching for the meaning of life. If you only read one book, make it this one!
I found this wonderful story, this simple, touching and inventive view by Mitch Albom - an author - with a vivid imagination - of a fictional heaven - where ones life, their purpose and their interconnection with the world and their fellow human beings is explained to them - through a series of story telling by those (selected by someone else - unexplained - God Maybe) who (known or unknown) were affected by one's life or that affected the main character's life throughout his or her life experiences quite refreshing. Where decisions, actions and/or inaction in various ways along their path made a big difference in that persons adventure, successes and failures. It was like medication for the previous books negative implications. In fact it was restorative, invigorating and solemnly calming for my inner soul.
FIVE People You Meet in Heaven touches you at a level that causes one to think "Hmm, so that could have been me on this or that day." Or "wow who would the 5 individuals be in my life?".
And about Mid Book you begin pondering, contemplating, questioning yourself and remembering people, events, dates, important occasions, career choices/changes, survival situations and narrow escapes and the like - wondering - whom your list would include. Was it this guy or that guy or this family member or that - or was it that coworker and on and on to infinity about the countless people you have brushed up against in your life.
It is delightfully fun to try to go back and come up with a worthy list of names that would make you the person you are today, or find that special event which put you in the situations you were in or are in now, or the position or career you are holding now and on and on. And as this only happens when you die - you being wondering also "How That Might Now Happen To You! And for what reason or purpose?". As I said it is delightfully fun to ponder all these and just 'go with it'. And the negateers and naysayers or those condemning souls who simply trashed this and every book like it have to be those anti-religious bigots or upset by 'everything morally based' or the 'hate the concept of heaven' list or the 'only government is my God' list or some other such nonsense. They have a sort of ingrained Neanderthal-like anti-intellectual problem of negtiavism in the wrong enviornment syndrome sort of thing. This is not a political book or a social engeneering book, it is fiction, fun and challenging your imagination stuff. It is sad that they simply cannot enjoy a fun thought provoking book when they see one. Sad, just sad.
This book is pure and simply fun, thought provoking and challenging throughout - I was halfway through the book when asked - what it was about. In attempting to explain it up to that point and only having read about the first three entities and encounters - I found it was easier thought about - than explained and trying to tie it all together without reading it all - made it difficult. I explained my deductions one way. But by the time I finished reading this exceptional book/story and read the last page.
I realized I had been snookered by the brilliance of the authors tapestry weaving. And I was caught completely off guard and found the truth at the end was something completely different than what I imagined at the middle of my reading. Which caused me to instantly review mentally the entire story over again - to find where my error was made - at guessing the outcome incorrectly. I found it - and I wonder if others will as well. I loved it.
I applaud the author for giving me a great read, an easy read and a spellbinding read and a mental puzzle to ponder that made me keep the book close by - to pick it up whenever I could. Surprisingly I began on a Saturday about noon on a road trip and finished it at my Granddaughters Birthday Party the very next day - so I could pass it on to a friend of the family - who had expressed an interest in it when he saw it on the table next to me.
If you look to condemn - I am sure someone can - but I found it intriguing, fascinating and meaningful at a number of levels. Of course the most significant contemplation I had while enjoying this literary ride - was in real life if this were true - there could actually be a dozen or two dozen or scores of people or even more - in every person's life - who significantly affected in some way each of our lives similarly to the characters in this meaningful work.
Something think about - no doubt. My congrats to Mr. Albom.