The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
Author: Mitch Albom
Book Review. Mitch Albom’s The five people you meet in Heaven is a remarkable book. This is not to suggest that it is magnificent literature: this is neither Albom’s purpose nor his achievement. The novel, is however, a magnificent work of inspiration and subtle power.
The book’s premise is stated on the blurb’s dust jacket, so what follows is in no danger of revealing key elements which lend so much force to Albom’s often sparse prose. Imagine if, after death you are not part of a celestial selection process which will either sentence you to heaven or hell. Imagine that you are not sent back to live another life as another being in another country, nor to spend your next existence as some other terrestrial being. Imagine instead, that this happened to you: you had your life, newly ended, explained. It was ordered in terms of incidences of great emotional impact and, in opposition to the earthly mass of confusion, you experienced an afterlife where sense was made of your time on this planet. In short, your life was rendered as being not only of worth, but as important, despite any doubts that you may have had or be having.
The above is exactly what happens to newly deceased Eddie (a character which Albom acknowledges is a tribute to his deceased uncle). It is unnecessary to add any further plot details. The strength of this novel lies in its ability to make the reader feel, to empathise and to sympathise with many of the daily frustrations, the desperation and the broken dreams which are part of Eddie’s and the other character’s lives, and to see both absurdity and hope in the whole journey of existence.
A book like The five people you meet in Heaven is a rarity. It is accomplished inspirational prose which avoids cliché and uplifts. If you read only one book over the coming Christmas holidays or you are looking for a gift for someone that will both read and be open to an uplifting engagement with the printed word; turn to The five people you meet in Heaven.
The five people you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom is published in Australia by Little, Brown which is a division of Time Warner Books.