The Five People You Meet In Heaven is a short novel by Mitch Albom released in 2003. I read this novel during November break when I was trying my hardest not to think about work and wanted to enjoy a simple story. I wanted to read a short book with a narrative that would make me feel warm and fuzzy once it was done and this book certainly fulfilled that criteria.
The Five People You Meet In Heaven is about an amusement park maintenance man named Eddie, who dies in the first chapter. As you may have guessed from the book’s title, when Eddie dies he meets five people who have somehow touched his life one way or another and learns what the value of his own life was. This plot device allows the novel to deliver various life lessons but the writing is creative enough so that story is not predictable. The entire plot of The Five People You Meet in Heaven is summed up in its title, but it takes a simple structure and creates genuinely heartfelt moments through the use of foreshadowing and strong character building. You get to know and care for Eddie and his life, and eventually feel happy or sad with him as you follow his story as he meets his five people.
The entire plot of the book is that Eddie need’s to learn lessons from five people. Because of the book’s plot, it is able to address many themes, such as the idea that we don’t stop loving someone when they pass away and that they are always with you because of the memories you have with them, through the stories stories that the five people tell Eddie. The morals and ideas that you are supposed to take away from the book are almost always said directly by a character, usually one of the five people Eddie meets. This may be a little too heavy handed for some, but for me it added to its experience as a leisurely read because I did not have to over analyze the text in order to find the author’s message. I honestly liked this aspect of the book.
The main character Eddie is very well developed throughout the book, though maybe that is to be expected since this entire book could be summed up as a character study. When I started reading this book, I was immediately reminded of the popular book from 2012 titled A Man Called Ove, which was also adapted in 2015 into a film that was successful internationally. Both of these books focus on curmudgeonly, older men who are misunderstood in some way. As I read further into The Five People You Meet in Heaven, I realized that these two books are actually very different, but one thing that they both do exceedingly well in is unraveling characters who are misunderstood by younger generations and understanding where they come from, which I appreciated. These stories give perspective on things like aging, how we can sometimes overlook the elderly, and differences in culture within a society.
I really liked this book. There is this genuineness to it that is refreshing since a lot of recent fiction takes a more cynical approach to the world. Plus, it is fairly short and well written. Check it out if you’re interested.
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