Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

This book has been sitting on my shelf to read for probably five years!  I've always meant to read it, but the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions.  When a friend of mine mentioned he had just started it and then suggested we read it together, I decided to go for it.  I'm glad I did!

This book is an easy, but ever so pleasant read.  The author's writing style is not verbose nor complex, yet it is still engaging and quite enjoyable.  I did not, as I do with so many books, think to myself that perhaps the author should invest in a thesaurus or take a grammar or creative writing course.

I found the character of Eddie (the main character) to be likable.  I was easily able to identify with him.  Perhaps other readers may not, but so much of his story matches mine.  This made him immediately likable.  Even if other readers to not share such similarities with Eddie, I still think his character will be engaging though perhaps not on such a visceral level.

I found as Eddie worked through the five people waiting for him in heaven that his character developed quite nicely.  I suppose one could say that the changes and growth in Eddie's character were hardly surprising, but that in no way detracted from the story.  I found Eddie's responses to his five people to be completely appropriate and even thought provoking.  Of course, I would say the whole point of this book is to make the reader pause and consider.

In addition to truly enjoying Eddie's character, I must admit, I enjoyed the book as a whole.  I enjoyed how the author showed the meeting with the person waiting for Eddie in heaven and then explained the meeting with a flashback from Eddie's life.  I enjoyed the leisurely pace in which Eddie worked through his five people and I loved the lessons he learned from each of his people.

After reading this book, I've thought often about who my five people might be, if this were to be how heaven actually worked.  I truly appreciate that this book did more than just tell me a story.  I love how this book has made me think about things.  Not just "things".  This book has made me think about how I interact with people and made me think about the events my actions may, or may not, set in motion.  It has made me more mindful but it has also opened my mind to a whole new set of possibilities.

Now, I will say that for some, this book may present a problem.  While I would say this book is appropriate for teens and older readers alike, I know that some readers may have an issue with how heaven is portrayed.  Yes, this heaven in no way resembles the Biblical representation of heaven.  I understand that.  I have no problem with that.  I know what my Bible says about heaven.  I know the truth.  However, I know some readers will not read anything that is contrary to what the Bible teaches.  That's fine.  If you are one of those readers, do not read this book.  However, if you are comfortable with reading someone else's non-Biblical interpretation of heaven, I am certain you will enjoy this book.

All things considered, I highly recommend this book.  It is by no means a difficult book to read, but that very simplicity is what allows the reader's mind to really absorb the story and to truly appreciate what this book does.  I promise, the book will make you think.  Please take the time to read this book.  I am the world's slowest reader and I read it in two nights before bed.  Without a doubt, it was time well spent.