i.Eddie lives an insignificant life as a maintenance man for the rides at the Ruby Pier amusement park. One day a mechanical failure causes a fatal accident. Eddie rescues a young girl from her death but in the effort, he is killed. This is when the adventure begins.
Eddie enters heaven and discovers it is not a garden but a place where he will meet five people whose lives intersected with his in some significant way on earth, some readily known to Eddie and some unknown to him. These five explain the meaning of Eddie’s life and the purpose of heaven. Through this best-seller fictional story, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, author Mitch Albom teaches us his understanding of the meaning of life.
In heaven, Eddie learns five key lessons from the five individuals. First, every life is interconnected so each person impacts others throughout his or her lifetime in ways that may not be recognized. Second, we should live sacrificing for others, for such acts inevitably lead to good outcomes. Third, forgiveness is necessary to find inner peace. Fourth, love is a powerful virtue that lasts eternally. And finally, our life, as insignificant as it may seem, has a purpose.
Heaven is a place where we find inner peace with ourselves when we learn these lessons. Through this process, we are cleansed of negative thoughts and scars we carried in our lifetime and find true inner peace. After this, we will choose our heavenly dwelling. There we will wait for newcomers whose lives intersected ours on earth. We will be one of the five people they will meet as they learn the meaning of their life on earth.
What accounts for the popularity of Albom’s work? He addresses two life questions that every individual wrestles with and desperately seeks answers to: What is the meaning of my existence? and What happens after death? In a creative way, here is a story that offers significance to each person’s life and hope beyond the grave.
Albom is an excellent writer and is sincere in his effort. This story causes each one of us to wrestle with these key questions of our existence and eternal destiny, issues many choose to ignore but must inevitably face. He also teaches some valuable life lessons. For these reasons, the story is enjoyable and thought provoking.
But after reading the story, I found that Albom’s answers fall short of providing satisfactory solutions to every person’s dilemma. In some ways he gets us closer to the answer, but never really gets there. Christians will find that he gives us some appetizers, but fails to deliver the main dish. In what follows, I will present a biblical critique of this story and explain how Albom scratches the surface but never finishes the quest for meaning, significance, and eternal hope.
ii. MitchAlbom – BIOGRAPHY
Mitchell David Albom was born on May 23, 1958 in Passaic, New Jersey. Albom is not only a best-selling author; he is also a newspaper columnist for the Detroit Free Press, radio host for ABC and WJR-AM in Detroit.| Albom grew up in Philadelphia, PA and attended Brandeis University, where he graduated with a degree in sociology. He then attended Columbia University for his Master’s Degree in journalism and business administration. Mitch Albom has written seven other books, including the bestseller, Tuesdays WithMorrie(1997). His other works include Live Albom I (1987), Live Albom II (1990), Live Albom III (1992), Live Albom IV (1995), “BO” (1989), which is the autobiography of former University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, and Fab Five (1992), which is a story about the University of Michigan’s men’s basketball recruits who became starters as freshman, during the 1990’s. The Five People You Meet in Heaven was published in 2003. Aside from writing novels, Albom has also been deemed the #1 Sports Columnist in the Nation by the sports editors of America. He has received over 100 writing awards from National Sportswriters and Broadcasters Associations, Headliners Club as well as many others. His work has also appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, GQ Magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and TV Guide. Mitch lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.
The other books that Mitch Albom wrote areThe Time Keeper, Tuesdays withMorrie, For One More Day, Have a Little Faith and Sports books. iv. I choose this book, The Five People You Meet in Heavenbecause our teacher says that this book was good, I will learn moral lessons in life. And my vocabulary will be expanded because of the unfamiliar words I will encounter. v.
Before I start to read the book, I am expecting that I will not get bored while reading, I expect that I will truly understand what am I reading, I expect that I will get the moral lessons what the author was trying to say to his reader.Since I have finished reading the book, I am glad because I meet all of my expectations before. I have enjoyed reading the book even though it is too long, I got bored sometimes but it’s normal for me because it is my first time to read a novel. I have learned many lessons in life, the story was great. I agree unto whatBoston Globe said, “Albom has the ability to make you cry in spite of yourself.”
. This story takes place in several different locations in both heaven and on earth.The novel begins at Ruby Pier. Eddie grew up very close to Ruby Pier because his father worked there for a living. Ruby Pier was thus a significant setting in Eddie’s childhood; the novel flashes back many times to Eddie’s childhood involving incidents at Ruby Pier. Ruby Pier is also where Eddie had his career as a maintenance man and is the very place where he was killed on his birthday.When Eddie is in heaven, which is the bulk of the novel and also where he learns the five lessons, he visits five different settings: Ruby Pier, the battlegrounds on which he fought in the war, mountains, various wedding receptions and a river.In the first chapter we are introduced to Eddie on his 83rd……. .Major Characters:
Eddie was the protagonist and main character around who the story centers; at the start of the story, he is killed on his 83rd birthday. When he awakes in heaven, he is taken on a journey to meet five people whose lives intertwined with his in many ways which he never expected. Eddie’s Father
The antagonist, belligerent drunk, not very supportive or caring towards his sons. He worked at Ruby Pier and often returned home drunk and was violent toward Eddie and Joe. He hurt Eddie in three major ways, throughout his life, by silence, violence, and neglect. He saves his friend, Mickey Shea, from drowning which causes him to catch fatal pneumonia. The Blue Man (Joseph Corvelzchik)
The first person Eddie meets in heaven. He was a sideshow worker at Ruby Pier when Eddie was a child. He was killed as a result of Eddie running in the street after his ball. The Blue Man teaches Eddie his first lesson, which is that there are no random acts in life, and that all incidents are intertwined in some way. The Captain
The second person Eddie meets in heaven. Eddie’s commanding officer at war.
He has a “full head of dark hair” and looked to be “only in his 30s.” The Captain saved Eddie’s life by shooting him in the leg. He died by stepping on a land mine while checking to ensure there was a clear path ahead for his men.He explained that, although he shot Eddie, he kept his promise by not leaving him behind and even sacrificed his life so Eddie and two other soldiers were able to live. He also teaches Eddie that when one loses something, they often gain something else. Ruby
The third person Eddie meets in heaven and also Ruby Pier’s namesake. She teaches Eddie to let go of his anger and to forgive his father for the damage he caused in his life. Marguerite Eddie’s wife and only true love. Marguerite was the only happiness in Eddie’s life. She is the fourth person he meets in heaven and she teaches him the lesson that love is not lost with death.She dies at the age of forty-seven of a brain tumour. Tala
The fifth person Eddie meets in heaven. Tala was the little girl who Eddie saw crawling into the burning fort during the war.She is a Filipina. Although he lived most of his life in denial, he finds out in heaven that he did kill her in the fire. She teaches Eddie that his life did have a purpose which was to keep children safe at the pier.
.The mood is sombre; each person makes Eddie reflect on his life, and also how his life has been intertwined with the others. However, the reflections of Eddie’s life prove to be quite sombre; he was overall depressed. We feel quite sad for Eddie throughout the novel; but as Eddie’s five lessons unfold, Eddie, and we the readers, see the reasons for all these events in his life.Also dramatic, because of the flashbacks. ii. Conflict:
The first being Eddie vs. himself. When Eddie was young he never had the desire to work at Ruby Pier like his father did. After Eddie returned from the war, he was very depressed and angry at what he had done with the remainder of his life. He never had another career aside from Ruby Pier and he eventually moved back into the same apartment building, where he grew up, to take care of his mother. We can tell that Eddie internally stores a lot of regret, hatred and anger about his life The secondwas between Eddie and his father. Eddie’s father had never shown him love, approval or any signs of encouragement. He would often get drunk and violently yell at and beat Eddie. After Eddie returned injured from the war, his father yelled at him and tried to hit him; Eddie blocked his father’s attempt and his father never spoke to him again. Eddie feels that his father damaged him in three ways: neglect, violence and silence. This conflict is resolved when Eddie meets Ruby in heaven; she teaches Eddie to let go of his anger and forgive his father.
.The climax happens towards the end of the novel when Eddie meets Tala and she says “You burn me. You make me fire”. This is the climax because throughout the novel we see that Eddie has been tormented his entire life, after the war, not knowing if he had killed an innocent child in the burning hut. He has experienced many nightmares and could never seem to get that scene out of his mind. It is here that Eddie sees he did kill an innocent child in the war and that he was not hallucinating as the other soldiers had thought. After Eddie learns this about Tala, he is able to wash her skin of the burns and she leads him to the outcome and resolution of the story.”The little girl at the pier. Did I save her?”. Eddie died trying to save the life of a young girl at the funfair, Amy. He remembers trying to pull her out of the way of a falling cart. Tala tells him the truth. “Did I pull her out of the way?” Tala shook her head.
“No pull.” Eddie shivered. His head dropped. So there it was. The end of his story. “Push,” Tala said. He looked up. “Push?” “Push her legs. No pull. You push. Big thing fall. You keep her safe.” Eddie shuts his eyes in denial. “But I felt her hands,” he said. “It’s the only thing I remember. I couldn’t have pushed her. I felt her hands.” “Not her hands,” she said “Those were my hands. I bring you to heaven. Keep you safe.” For me, this was the highest dramatic point also the most exciting part of the story.Eddie made up for Tala’s death by working at the funfair. By being the maintenance man at the funfair for most of his adult life Eddie had atoned for Tala’s death even though he did not know he was doing that. “Children,” she said. “You keep them safe. You make good for me.” iv. Resolution:
The first occurs in the diner when Eddie tells his father, “It’s fixed” (144). Here we see Eddie resolve the conflict that he’s had with his father for his entire life The resolution of the story unfolds immediately after the climax. Eddie’s worst fear had come true: he had killed an innocent child during the war while burning down the camp. After he learns this, Tala leads Eddie to the resolution in the fifth lesson. The outcome of the novel is that Eddie realizes his life had a purpose which was keeping the children safe at the pier. v. Conclusion of the story:
. This is a short novel about Eddie, whom we meet on his 83rd birthday, which also turns out to be his last day in this world. We follow him as he goes through his last hour and his death. However, this is just the beginning of the story. After his death, Eddie moves on to Heaven, where he meets five people whose lives have been affected by him or who have affected his life. Some of these people he knows well and some he has not met at all. During these encounters we get to know Eddie better and he gets to chance to understand why he had to live his life the way he did. He also gets a chance to resolve certain issues he had with his family and himself.
While alive, Eddie, who worked as a maintenance person at an adventure park, was never satisfied with himself and his life. However, as he goes through with his interviews with his 5 people, he realizes that we are all parts of a bigger scheme; like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle: even though individually they might seem insignificant, they are all needed to complete the picture. While reading the book, I was reminded of the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. It is a feel good book, which offers a pleasant take on life. Albom’s writing style is relaxed. He grabs the reader’s attention from the very first page, never letting it go till the very last.
i. This book was very interesting to me. I liked the fact that the author explains that everyone affects someone else’s life, in some shape or form. This book made me think of the people who come in contact with me every day and how they have shaped and affected my life. Also I wonder how big of an impact I had on others’ lives and if I actually somehow may have prevented something. ii. I did not like the fact that the author always jumped from heaven and Eddie’s birthday.It sometimes confused me. iii.
“You burn me”. During the escape from the mine Eddie and his squad had torched the buildings surrounding the mine. Eddie had seen something move in the building that he had set on fire. Before he entered the burning building he was shot by the Captain and placed in the truck and taken away. What Eddie, and the others, didn’t know was that there was a little girl, Tala, in the burning building and it was she who Eddie thought he saw move. Tala perished in that fire.Eddie washes her in the water. As he washes her the disfiguring burns that cover her body are washed away.
Before that he had made her a dog from pipe cleaners, a party trick of his, but she did not ask him to do it.Eddie died trying to save the life of a young girl at the funfair, Amy. He remembers trying to pull her out of the way of a falling cart. Tala tells him the truth. “Did I pull her out of the way?” Tala shook her head. “No pull.” Eddie shivered. His head dropped. So there it was. The end of his story. “Push,” Tala said. He looked up. “Push?” “Push her legs. No pull. You push. Big thing fall. You keep her safe.” Eddie shuts his eyes in denial. “But I felt her hands,” he said. “It’s the only thing I remember. I couldn’t have pushed her. I felt her hands.” “Not her hands,” she said “Those were my hands. I bring you to heaven. Keep you safe.”
Yes I will recommend this book to a friend, I actually like the book. The whole theme of the book was very interesting. It makes you think of the five people who you made a difference on and who the five people who made a difference on you. It also makes you think of what acts affect others and how much they are affected. They should make a sequal and tell the five people that Eddie will help in Heaven.At first when I started reading this book I did not really care much for it but when we read the last part it changed my view completely.