The Five People You Meet in Heaven [ラフカット] (英語) ペーパーバック – 2006/3/1
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A specially produced paperback edition -- with flaps -- of the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller, that has sold more than six million copies in hardcover
Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.
Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.
One by one, Eddie's five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.
In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you've ever thought about the afterlife -- and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who loved Tuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.
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 number-one New York Times bestseller that has since sold more than six million copies worldwide. Both books were made into acclaimed TV films. Mitch also works as a columnist and a broadcaster, and serves on numerous charitable boards. He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.
I was lucky enough to end the twenty-tens with a brilliant read, The Way: A Girl Who Dared To Rise. Picking another great book with which to start the ‘twenties has made me very happy.
Eddie is a fairground maintenance man with tonnes of experience of both life and his work. He is an Army veteran. On his eighty-third birthday, he meets with a tragic death while trying to save the life of a little girl who is a split second away from being crushed by one of the rides.
Death is not the end. It is the beginning.
Eddie arrives in Heaven and meets five people who have either had a significant effect on his life or whose lives he has significantly affected. He discovers much more than he ever knew about the back stories of his interactions with these people.
The book is beautifully crafted and very thought-provoking.
One of the people whom he meets in Heaven was never known to him during his life, yet she had a significant effect upon that life.
Another, predictably, so this is not really a spoiler, is his wife. Their love for each other made my heart boom and brought tears to my eyes. All five of the meetings stirred deep emotions in me.
There were several passages which resonated deeply with me.
As an adult runner, I have often spread my wings as I run through the countryside and imagined that I am an aeroplane, so I loved this:
It might have seemed ridiculous to anyone watching, this white-haired maintenance worker, all alone, making like an airplane. But the running boy is inside every man, no matter how old he gets.
Having lost my own father in March 2019, this short extract sprang off the page at me:
Through it all, despite it all, Eddie privately adored his old man, because sons will adore their fathers through even the worst behaviour. It is how they learn devotion. Before he can devote himself to God or a woman, a boy will devote himself to his father, even foolishly, even beyond explanation.
Although there a many more quotes which I could cite in this review, I’ll leave you with this one on forgiveness. It ties in well with another book that I read in the past year, Forgiveness Made Easy by Barbara J Hunt:
“Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves. “Forgive, Edward. Forgive. Do you remember the lightness you felt when you first arrived in heaven?”
This really is a wonderful book. You should read it.
Why did I not find you sooner?
I count myself unmistakably lucky to have read something so fundamentally perfect that words alone cannot praise it.
This goes way beyond storytelling. It’s a light in the dark, the up when you’re down, a balm to soothe even the deepest pain. It’s the patient thread of providence that invisibly and inexplicably binds us all.
As I have fallen hopelessly head over heels in love with Eddie the maintenance man and the Five people he met in Heaven I am acutely aware that no other book may ever compare. But it’s one I can see myself returning to often.
So, dear book, thank you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
There are some really wonderful passages of writing in this novel. Sadly however, the majority of the book is written in a much less clever way. Whilst there are certainly some passages you'll want to read again and again, some of the writing reads far too simply. I'm one for embellishment, so this might just be a personal thing rather than something to put off would-be readers. The ultimate twist of the novel is predictable, although admittedly I do feel that Albom did a good job in the execution of the twist.
Bottom line? Give it a try. A book so concerned with death probably shouldn't be considered nice, but that's my lasting impression of it days on after completing it - it's a nice read. It's not an earth-shattering or amazing read, but it's worth giving it a look.
Eddie is a difficult character to like in the beginning - he’s a little bit grumpy old man, a little bit endearing old man, and a serving of lost soul. He’s dedicated to his job as maintenance man at the amusement park, respected by his peers and known by regular visitors but there’s still a feeling that he’s floated on the periphery of life for a while.
I really liked the idea of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and it touches on some pretty deep topics as Eddie moves through heaven, meeting people that he knows, knows of, or was never really aware of, and revealing his life story chapter by chapter. My issue however, is that it was pretty much the story of a characters life dressed up to try and feel more dramatic and thought-provoking than it actually was. It’s sweet in places, moving and shocking in others, but it’s not the kind of book that I finished and felt like I had a lot to say about it.
In short, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a good idea, and has some interesting ideas, but it wasn’t as emotional or compelling as I’d hoped for.
No matter what happened seemed to be o.k. and everyone had a non sensical reason for doing everything right or wrong.
It seemed a little preachy and overtly keen to spread a positive message. Not necessarily a criticism. Reinforced in the story, is that it is the people in your life that are the most important. Another positive message emphasised is not to dwell, live life to its fullest and not let yourself be shackled by expectations you have created or ones that other believe are key- live your own life.
I must have owned about 3 copies of the hardback version of the book and lent them to friends to read and enjoy. I know they have also taken Eddie to their hearts as the books have never been returned but passed on by them for others to discover the stories of Mitch Albom.
The Kindle copy is for me to enjoy time and time again.