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on April 6, 2004
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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on November 15, 2003
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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on October 20, 2003
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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on December 23, 2003
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. This is a stretch because, again, our hero here is not trying to get back to his former life.
Instead Albom, I believe, in "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" makes a simple statement: one life touches so many others, both known and unknown, in a variety of ways. Often we like to think that we are alone here and that an action today has no impact on anyone else. Instead Albom poses questions about how a boy's simple act of retrieving a ball from the street might result in an ultimate consequence for an unknown passer by.
I did not find Albom's book to be preachy in any sense. Instead the author seems to simply state that a life lived has its wonders and consequences and when it's over it's over. Or is it? "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" does offer the interesting scenario of a newcomer becoming a player in the unfolding drama of Heaven's next arrival.
Don't look for answers about what Heaven might actually be. I don't think Albom in his work was trying to offer anything new to the established canon of accepted Christian scripture. Rather enjoy a very interesting story about one man's view of what might be. And if you're not interested in a thoughtful, introspective ride, there's always Seinfeld reruns.
Douglas McAllister
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on August 28, 2004
(This is the first book review I have done on anything since I think I was in grade school when we had to do book reports to earn gold stars, so forgive me if I am not as eloquent of a writer/reviewer as people before or after me might be.)

I am a U.S Marine Veteran and current college student. I am a female and 27 years old. I am still trying to find my reason for being here on earth I guess.

I read this book late last year.... then months later I started seeing ads in papers/flyers telling people how wonderful the book was. I simply nodded, and smiled in agreement. I think it was the title that caught my eye... as I am one of those who always wonders what life will be like after THIS life... what is in heaven... and those can be scary thoughts. My grandmother had passed away in Apring of '98... and after reading this book... I kind of smile from time to time and think about all the lives she must have touched in some way over her years... and that puts me at peace with it all.

Read this book if you want to be at peace with everything...

I know it helped me, and it's a book I will forever cheerish.
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on October 17, 2003
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. So what? As I raced through its pages, I began thinking to myself, "gee, the content is good and the writing is solid -- why can't more books be as effortless to read like this?"

Reading so many books over so many decades, I was still blind-sided by what is revealed on the last page. (Don't cheat -- it has no text -- but it's a doozy.) Only a person with a heart of stone will feel nothing after he or she sees that last page.

However simplistic, I won't fault Albom for knocking out something aimed straight from his heart to mine, even if he doesn't always connect. "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" refuses to be dismissed and its fans will always outnumber its critics. And this is a great thing, you know, people arguing the merits of ANY book.

In sum, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" is on my list of "guilty pleasures." But in truth, I don't feel guilty. And you shouldn't either.
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on October 5, 2003
Mitch Albom as taken the experiences of a man's seemingly useless life, and unwrapped a story that is a gift to each of us.
His use of the language, and ability to evoke real emotions from his character AND his reader at the same time is truly amazing.
I found this to be a fairly quick read, and read it in one 4 hour sitting. The Author tugs at hearstrings, provokes thought and smiles as the main character sometimes fumbles his way through a timeless heaven, discovering that in the end, his life had more meaning than he could ever imagine.
Mitch Albom is going to solidify his status as a national treasure with this book.
Give this book to everyone on your Christmas list!
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on October 5, 2003
Mitch Albom has done it again. He has put together a masterpiece. A man who has spent his entire life working on an amusemnet pier fixing the rides, died trying to save a small child from an accident. He wakes up in "heaven" and meets five people from his past. The five of them explain why his life has not been a total loss as he assumed that it was. The five people are all conected to him in some manner. Some of the five were very important in his life and some never met him, but were still connected. The main character Eddie meets everone in different settings that they consider "Heaven" and why they consider it "Heaven". The five of them explain various parts of his life and why things turned out like they did. The end of the book wraps up nicely and is a bit of a surprise.
Mitch Albom has taken a very complex idea and explained his version of "heaven" in an easy to read style. The book never drags and it leaves you with a good feeling. Although it has religious connotations, it is not a book on relious beliefs. Any version of "heaven" can be used in place instead. Albom never lectures on beliefs, but instead focuses on Eddie and trying to answer why his life turned out like it did. Eddie represents everyone of us who ever thought about their life either not measuring up or being a failure. By showing Eddie his life through others eyes, he actually shows that the unimportant life is very important to at least a few and more likely many that we never even knew we affected. That is the true beauty of this book. Highly reccommended.
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on September 24, 2003
I would highly recommend this book to anyone searching for a beautiful, life-affirming way to spend an afternoon. Mr. Albom has written a book that is a cut above and well worth your time. I could not put this book down!
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on October 13, 2003
I picked this book up, when I was wandering through a Border's book store, a few weeks ago. The story sounded very interesting from the information I read on the back cover, and I found it to be very captivating. I found the story to really be a parable about life, and really that is where it is effective. The story about Eddie, though it may be fiction/fantasy based, does show how people can affect your life even without you being aware of it. You don't have to believe that the premise could be true to enjoy the story. I was completely unprepared for the final person, as I am sure most readers will be. The person I expected it to be didn't appear, but rather the one person who had the most impact on his life from the day Eddie saw the person. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to readers of all ages.
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