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Sentimental Universalism Sap

  • Dec 20, 2006
I really enjoy Mitch Albom's first foray into popular literature, TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE. That book was kind of sentimental, but it was fairly well written and was from the heart. It was also a true story. I liked that book and it displayed that Albom was a writer with promise of becoming a strong literary voice on the pop literature scene.

However, when his next pop novel, THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, was released, I hesitated in reading it. It wasn't until one of my best friends bought the book for me that I finally read it.

The plot is pretty straight forward. Eddie, an octogenarian, has worked at a small amusement park most of his life. From outward appearances, it seems that Eddie hasn't had a very exciting life. There doesn't seem to be anything outstanding in Eddie's life. Then, on Eddie's 83rd birthday, he does something extraordinary: he risks his life at the amusement park saving a little girl from being crushed by some falling equipment from the sky. When Eddie gains conscience, he finds himself in Heaven, except Heaven looks a lot like Ruby Pier, the amusement park Eddie worked at most of his life. But things become strange when Eddie meets a figure from his past, the Blue Man. It is the first of five people Eddie is to meet in Heaven. Each of the people changed Eddie's life in some way and they come to him one by one to show him that his life was more wonderful than he ever imagined.

I can't fault the overall message of the book. Each life is important and every person is special and unique, even if we sometimes think our lives our boring and mundane. It's good to remind people of that.

However, we can remind people of that without reverting to over-sentimental mush. Even ignoring the clich├ęs, emotional manipulation, and the fuzzy secular humanist view of the afterlife, THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN reads more like a story written by a high school student for the creative writing teacher that he has the hots for or the treatment for a sappy 1980s teen-movie instead of the novel from the same guy who wrote TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE. The plot doesn't even make that great of a story. Eddie dies, he goes to Heaven (but it appears more like Purgatory), and he meets five people there (the book title says it all--it's the literary equivalent of SNAKES ON A PLANE). That's about it. Not much happens and for a story that's intended to remind people of the significance of life and living, THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN doesn't do a very good job. The book has a positive message, but the execution is awful. Feeding the masses drivel like this isn't going to help anyone and is more a disservice to society than anything else.

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review by . November 18, 2007
The book describes what it is like to die and meet people in  the afterlife through the character of Eddie. The character  meets with an untimely death by accident and awakens to find  an associate of 75 years earlier. Another story depicts  a mountainous and snowy field with elderly people eating pie  in a diner. Yet, another story shows his wife, Mary with hands  extended in heaven to welcome him home.    The book …
review by . July 06, 2010
As I read another one of Mitch Albom's books, I once again find inspiration.  While this book was fiction, it certainly had a message.      We all go through live and do not realize the impact we have on people's lives.  People that may seem largely significant and people that we may not even realize we left an impression,  This impression can impact their lives in a significant way.       The books recounts the life of a man who …
review by . June 29, 2010
A Connected Life: The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
The only thing we are guaranteed in life is that one day we will die.  Where do we go when we do?  Will we reunite with loved ones?  Is there a Heaven?  A Hell?   In Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven, not only is there a heaven but it is intermingled with our lives on earth.   The story starts off with a count-down of time before the instant of Eddie's death.  Eddie is an 83 year old amusement park maintenance man who is resigned …
review by . July 06, 2010
I've always enjoyed Mitch Albom - Tuesdays with Morrie was so simple and changed my life and how I see things. Five People You Meet in Heaven is a great read and can be spent with a rainy afternoon on the couch. You know a book is good when you think of it randomly in your life every once in awhile, as you interact within random experiences. You never who will come across that will make a difference in your life ... or the people they met in order to instill certain experiences that affected …
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
An amazing book! Mitch Albom is an incredible author. Tuesdays With Morrie is also a wonderful book my Albom.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
More impossibly cheesy inspiration from a terrible writer.
Quick Tip by . July 05, 2010
Interesting to think about. And better written than his first book.
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
Mitch Albom is a great sports writer but is far better off writing about the Lions, Tigers and dying professors than this sentimental glop.
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
Moving, exhilarating, intriguing, and brilliantly told. My first read from Albom, and certainly not my last. This is the book to read when you're feeling lost in the world, or perhaps just lost in yourself. I recommend the film as well -- excellent adaptation.
Quick Tip by . June 14, 2010
If you liked Tuesdays With Morrie you'll like this other book by Albom! Very inspirational and thought provoking!
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Part melodrama and part parable, Mitch Albom'sThe Five People You Meet in Heavenweaves 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 laA 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 ...

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ISBN-10: 1401308589
ISBN-13: 978-1401308582
Author: Mitch Albom
Publisher: Hyperion

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