31 July 2008

The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom

I watched the movie of this book some time ago. I really enjoyed the movie. Having my own fairly defined views of the afterlife, watching someone else's interpretation can be problematic. But Albom manages to avoid any theological thorns while presenting a very moving story. Recently a friend lent me the book and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn't diminish the movie in any way. I was not surprised to find out that Albom wrote the screenplay.

The story is about Eddie. Eddie is a maintenance manager for a small theme park, the like of which we don't actually have here in Australia. He's pretty much a grumpy old man, unhappy with how his life turned out. Obviously, he dies - otherwise he wouldn't be meeting people in heaven.

The five people you meet in heaven are there to help you work through issues of life. I really loved this concept. Who we are is so tangled up in what we've experienced that I do believe there is sorting out that needs to take place on the other side. Maybe that's why heaven is eternal - maybe that's how long it takes ;-) Still Albom thinks it'll only take five people. Eddie's give have an extraordinary range - people he doesn't know at all, people he was intimate with - but each having had a profound effect on his life.

I think the major thing of this book for me is that there are no insignificant people. Everyone has an impact on other people's lives. We should never undervalue ourselves or others. Life is not about how much money you make or how "successful" you are; it's about how much you impact others for the better.

Great book. I would be happy to find a place on my bookshelves for it. I give a 10 without hesitation. Actually, I'd be happy to find a place for the movie too.

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