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The Five People You Meet In Heaven

Published: September 23rd 2003.

Publisher: Hyperion (first published September 1st 2003).

Author: Mitch Albom.

Literary Awards: Lincoln Award Nominee (2008) Paperback, First, 196 pages.


Reviewed by Siti Debitha Dawinda, SK Togop Darat Ranau.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven was written by Mitch Albom and was first published in 2003. Upon its released, this book has been on the New York Times best seller list for 95 weeks straight and was then turned into a movie in the following year, starring John Voight. As interesting as its title, this novel offers a whole different outlook on the subject of life and death as well as the disparate possibilities of the afterlife. Afterlife is only known by the dead but unknown to those who still live. Thus, what makes this book interesting is how the author extended a pristine insight on the afterlife that makes those who read it long for it to be how it is for their upcoming journey.

Mitch Albom takes us to the life of an old wounded war veteran who soon after has been living the rest of his life as a maintenance man at an amusement park. He is to fix broken rides on the park in which he had always deemed as uninspired life. He despised the life he had been living but to no avail, he kept on and on. On the day of his 83rd birthday, he faced his death in attempt to save a little girl from a falling cart. Eddie awakes in the afterlife and reaches heaven. There, he meets 5 people whose purpose is to show him the true value and meaning of his life. He meets each person in his/her heaven and he has to go through 5 different heavens to meet all the said people and each of them is relevant to his life. He gets to choose his heaven once he is done meeting all five of them. The book ends with that. It is interesting how in this book, the first chapter started at the ends of Eddie’s life, giving the readers a different kind of experience. Not only is it somehow spiritual, it is definitely a wake up call for us to amend the relationship that we are building in real life as it is what shapes us into the person we are in the present.

Conflicts are also shown in this masterpiece, embedded by several characters. Eddie as the main character is supported by several other astounding supporting characters and their personas are all a delight to get involved with. Eddie is a broken man when he comes back from the war. There is not any hint of enthusiasm despite his chaotic working environment in the amusement park. Albom also lets the readers to grasp the idea of accepting oneself as who we are regardless of any mishap and dearth we are in possession of through The Blue Man and Eddie’s wife, Marguerite. The Blue Man, even when his own father disowned him out of embarrassment for how he has become, picks himself up and joins the Ruby Pier’s freak show and comes to terms with the way he is. Marguerite, who has been keeping her dreams to have children of her own, turns out to be infertile but decides to not dwell in perturb and sorrow. She thinks of alternate options and makes the best of every situation.

The author has well composed the story line and is great to set up scenery in the readers mind. It is not a heavy reading but rather light even though spiritual genres are not exactly what I would go to in a novel. It gets us to think on how the acts that we have done in real life would determine our wellbeing in the afterlife.


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