There is a reason this book was on the New York Times Best Seller List for 95 weeks. When it came out almost ten years ago I remember the fuss, but I never read it. My sister brought it home about a week ago from a pile of “To Share” books at work and tossed it into my lap.
(I see how it is. You just want to read to the review on here to see if it’s good, then you might read it after that.)
The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, revolves around a man named Eddie. Eddie is old and grumpy. His wife is dead, he never got along with his father, and he hates his job as a maintenence worker at Ruby Pier, an amusement park that he has been stuck at his entire life. He checks the rides every day and occasionally makes balloon animals for children who ask. One day, one of the rides breaks and Eddie tries to save a little girl who is underneath the falling car. When he wakes up, he is young, full of energy, and can run around this new world that he discovers is actually someone else’s heaven.
In the afterlife, Eddie travels to other peoples’ heavens…specifically five people that had a great impact on his life. The first is the Blue Man, one of the ‘freaks’ in the Ruby Pier show of Eddie’s childhood. The Blue Man explains some of the rules of heaven – how Eddie will travel and what he can expect. He also learns the first lesson of the afterlife: that everyone is connected somehow. He continues traveling and meets the four other people that had the greatest impact on his life. There’s his formy army captian, and Ruby (who teaches him about his father), then his late wife Marguerite, and finally a young girl named Tala who was killed during World War II while Eddie was a soldier. Each person he meets along the way has a new lesson for him and plays a part in Eddie’s understanding of his life. He must come to terms with everything that happened over his lifetime before he learns whether or not he saved the girl from the ride at Ruby Pier.
This book was a fantastic read, and I think anyone who picks it up will truly enjoy it. It shows that everyone is connected somehow, in some way, and that every action in life has some sort of a consequence.