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The Five People You Meet in Heaven Paperback – Deckle Edge, March 1, 2006
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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!
Albom raises some interesting, thought provoking questions and leaves some unanswered, which makes for a better read, especially considering the subject.
I hope my review has been helpful to you. It encourages me to continue writing and updating my reviews. Please leave a comment if you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer if I can be of help.