Yes, absolutely, it is schmaltzy. I sometimes found myself getting annoyed at how hard Albom was working to make me care about Eddie...to be meaningful...or to play with my emotions. And yet, there were times when I was genuinely touched by the writing or something that was happening. I really loved the ending...and that's as much as I can say I really loved.
In the end, it is certainly thought-provoking in regard to his view of heaven. But I found it (at least most of it) too depressing a view of heaven...i.e., if that's what I have to look forward to, why would I want to go?
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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 ...