In only his second book, author Mitch Albom deals with a complex subject such as afterlife. Not only does he address such a serious subject but he also urges you to introspect on life. Through The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the author conveys five important life lessons that fit every context and circumstance.
Eddie, having spent much of his life working as a maintenance man at an amusement park, considers his life rather insignificant. And it is with this belief that he goes to his grave on his 83rd birthday, as he dies trying to save a little girl from a falling cart.
After his tragic death, Eddie goes to heaven where he meets five people who share with him five nuggets of wisdom. As you go over the pages of this novella, these unexpected characters and events remind you of the interconnectedness of this world we live in – how each of our lives affects the lives of others; how the world is full of stories and all stories are perhaps part of one big story.
When in heaven, Eddie learns how every one of his actions has affected someone else’s life. One of the key lessons he learns on meeting the five strangers is the significance of making sacrifice. A crucial lesson that follows is the importance of forgiveness. The next person teaches him how lost love is the strongest form of love, even when separated by enormous distances. Eddie’s final life lesson is about the purpose of living.
The character of Eddie in this book is based on Eddie Beitchman, the author’s uncle with whom he shared a deep connection. According to the author, his uncle also had a near-death experience during which he felt his soul was floating above his bed. It was such events that inspired Albom to write The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
Albom, who is also the author of the bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, has explored baffling concepts of death and heaven in this book. Through his vivid imagination, the author succeeds in painting a picture of ‘heaven’, as we have grown up hearing about. For instance, after his death, Eddie lands under a misty pumpkin shade sky. This makes Eddie feel like he is in a safe place. Likewise, there is another instance where Eddie is floating. Through this, the author seems to convey the message that heaven is free from the earth’s limitations just like Eddie is free from the earthly burdens after he dies. Through this imagery of heaven, the author has touched upon the concepts of spiritual freedom and eternity.
This engaging narrative keeps you hooked. Eddie’s character is highly relatable and stays with you long after you have finished the book. Often poignant, this simple yet powerful novel is likely to get you in a contemplative mood as it tugs at your heartstrings.