From the author of the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, a novel that explores the unexpected connections of our lives, and the idea that heaven is more than a place; it's an answer.
Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?"
To the reader:
Eddie is an elderly war veteran, a widower who has worked his whole life at Ruby Pier, an old seaside amusement park. His job as the head of maintenance -- the same job his father once held - is to keep the rides safe. Although Eddie, a strong, quiet, barrel-chested guy, is beloved by the kids who come summer after summer, he sees his life as a string of meaningless days. He has done nothing significant, he feels, and has no hope of ever changing that.
On his 83rd birthday, a hot summer afternoon, Eddie is killed in the first accident to occur in all his time at the pier. A cart comes loose from its cable and Eddie dies trying to save a little girl before she is crushed. The following excerpt from "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" picks up after his last moments on earth, when everything goes white, then black.
The sky was a misty pumpkin shade, then a deep turquoise, then a bright lime....
The Five People... is at BookBrowse because it more than met the criteria of having received exceptionally good reviews (even from tough critics such as Janet Maslin in the New York Times), and certainly visitors appreciate it (the reader reviews are glowing). However, at the risk of being exposed as the cynic I am, I found it fairly hard going. I think I would have been happier if it had been titled 'The Two People You Meet in Heaven', or perhaps at a stretch, 'The Three People', because by the time Eddie met his 4th person I was beginning to feel that the point was being labored just a bit.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (407 words).
Mitch Albom had published a handful of books before he hit paydirt with Tuesdays With Morrie in 1997 which, surprisingly, far outsold Morrie Schwartz's own book, Morrie: In His Own Words which had been published earlier.
Albom says that the lead character in The Five People... was inspired by his uncle, Edward Beitchman, who was also a World War II veteran, who also died at 83, and also lived a life like that of the fictional character, rarely leaving his home city, and often feeling that he didn't accomplish what he should have.
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