Why Mitch Albom's Heaven Books are a MUST Read for Everyone

Have you ever heard the story that describes a young mother whose morning was not going as planned? You know, the one about the morning that nothing was going right? The coffee pot was malfunctioning, the kids were screaming, the dog was barking, the car wouldn’t start, and because of this she was going to be very late for work? The one where this mother sat in her stalling car crying out, “Why me? Why this morning? The one day of the week I absolutely can’t be late to work!”? This story is a story where a hardworking woman, a mother to four, & a loving wife makes it to work alive. Little did she know that if she had left on time that morning, she would have been right in the middle of the major car accident. If she left on time, she would have crossed the major highway intersection right at the exact moment a drunken driver lost control of their car and, fishtailing, slammed right into a tractor trailer coming through the intersection. Because of the size of the tractor trailer, that driver was only slightly shaken, while if instead it had been the mother in this story, in her small Volkswagon, the accident surely would have been fatal. Because of the exact series of events that happened that morning, that mother, whose family so deeply relies on her, was spared. So why her? Why this morning? -- it was a matter of life or death. Was it the act of God? Was it fate? Who's to really say? 

I have heard and seen little clips like this on the social media but the depth of the meaning behind them was never quite as clear to me as it was after reading Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Albom challenges all readers to reevaluate their perspectives on life to learn of its real value and meaning.  

Image courtesy of AutographPros Image courtesy of Target

Mitch Albom is the author of The New York Times Best Selling novels The Five People you Meet in Heaven and its much awaited sequel, The Next Person you Meet in Heaven. Despite the immediate assumption of a religious affiliation, these books lack just that. This allows their heartfelt and inspiring messages to touch the lives of anyone who flips through their pages. These books explore the vision of heaven we all are hopeful for. Can you imagine having the meaning of your life explained to you through the eyes of someone else? The purpose you had in being on earth, as defined by the ways in which you connected with the life of another? Albom inspires readers to, even in their darkest of times, pick themselves up, shake themselves off, and know there is a purpose for each of us – & a very specific one at that -- no matter how bleak that possibility may seem. 

We meet Eddie “Maintenance” when he is a mere few hours from his death but it is not until after he dies in attempts to save a little girl’s life that we learn how impactful the life of this amusement park maintenance man’s life actually was. The stories relayed in Albom’s narration of the life and after-life of Eddie taught me to move through my life with a much different perspective -- a brighter one at that. I had stumbled upon these books at a very hard point in my life and I really needed to hear the messages in it. The narration was nothing short of eye-opening, jaw dropping, heart swelling, & tear jerking in the most unexpected ways. As a Catholic, I could definitely relate to the depiction of heaven described because it is what we all would hope our entrance into the next stage would be. Albom takes care to craft an experience for readers that connects them to their spirituality in what ever form that takes. Mitch Albom, a man whom does not consider himself very religious, has written these books and a few others with celestial or religious aspects, such as Have a Little Faith and The First Phone Call from Heaven, in a way that demonstrates his belief that at their core, “all true faiths are...amazingly similar” as he stated in an interview with NPR.

Image courtesy of The Gospel Herald

I say that these books are a must read for everyone because the messages of each story, especially the first of the two, are so unexpected but so so necessary for everyone to know and keep in mind as they move through life. As college students, our lives can get so chaotic so quickly. They become filled with so many things that distract us from living life to the fullest. Negativity, stress, worry, and sadness inevitably fill our hearts and minds because of the different triggers we are surrounded with in today’s society. These books remind us how to take a step back from that, reflect on how to make the most of the short time we have here and value the time we do have with the people around us. 

  Image courtesy of My Student Voices