Thursday, January 3, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom

5 people you meet in heavenThe Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
Published: September 23, 2003
ISBN-10: 9781920798215
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Copy / Kindle
Recommended for someone looking for a sentimental read

Summary (from 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.

Thoughts on Content (4.0 / 5.0): I think that it is human nature to ponder what happens in our next chapter.  There are a number of books with this theme—some fiction, some nonfiction—and they are all fairly similar. Because of that, I can’t say that I can fault this books similarity to others on that point.  I did enjoy how the story unfolded, with the story of Eddie told 3 ways.  I also found the identities of the 5 people, in most cases, to be surprising, which kept my attention throughout the book.

Thoughts on Style (4.0 / 5.0): I had never read anything by Mitch Albom before, but I had heard about his books.  Frankly, I expected him to be a bit saccharine.  I’ll admit, some of his writing did remind me a bit of Nicholas Sparks (who, let’s just say, is not my favorite writer), but most of it hit me as being very genuine.  I enjoyed how he developed the characters.  While Eddie, obviously, is the most transformed character, the other characters are also dynamic.  This book is not very long, but it is well-paced.  It can easily either be read in one sitting or broken up over several periods.

My Thoughts (4.0 / 5.0): I started reading this book the night of December 13th, which was the night before the school shooting in Newtown.  Odd or God, but I found this book to be a great comfort for me.  I don’t know if it led me to enjoy this book more than I normally would, but I did ultimately enjoy it.    I’m not sure I will read any more of Albom’s work, but this one was a winner.

I was not solicited for this review and received no compensation.  All opinions are mine, and mine alone.

AFFILIATE LINK: Purchase this book at Amazon.

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