Tuesday, 20 October 2015

the five people you meet in heaven: review

The five people you meet in Heaven, written by Mitch Albom and published in 2003, now often makes lists of books you aught to read (and features on my page 100 books) and along with it's interesting premise I thought I would give it a go.

The story is of an old man (Eddie) who, on the event of his death, reaches Heaven (or a Heaven invented by Albom for this book) and there meets five people who affected his life in some way and help him to understand the meaning or purpose of it all.

With this in mind I began reading but was initially disappointed, partly because Albom didn't introduce the story in the way I was expecting, or the way I would have written it, and partly because I think he over explains things a bit too much, rather than letting the story do the telling. He also seemed to be struggling to understand the Heaven he had invented, with vague references to God (who doesn't appear) and confusing settings. Slowly this does iron out and the story becomes clearer and although it is fairly obvious which way the book is heading there is a nice ending that I didn't quite predict. Albom is also brave in so openly offering five 'lessons' to Eddie, which other authors have, in my opinion, sometimes struggled with (E. Nesbit, Five Children and It) and occasionally succeeded wonderfully (Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird). Personally I found the lessons unclear, although the ending helped to clarify them a little.
     The book is not long (under 200 pages) and is easily readable and overall I found it enjoyable and a little moving. I'm not convinced it would make my top 100 books, but as a simple story it's worth a read.


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