And….we’re up and running with 2022’s reading mission.
A mission/target I still haven’t defined but hey ho, here’s book one, ‘The next person you meet in heaven ‘by Mitch Albom.
Many, many, many years ago I read ‘The five people you meet in heaven’, I’m going to guess at it being almost 20 years ago because I’m pretty sure someone at university leant it to me.
The five people you meet in heaven tells the story of Eddie, he’s a maintenance man at the fairground at Ruby Pier.
On his 73rd birthday he’s killed in a tragic accident; the rest of the book see’s him meet five people in heaven, five people he’s had an impact on – and vice versa – during his lifetime.
Eddie has always believed he’s lived a wasted life, the five people he meets in heaven show him how far from the truth that is.
It is a wonderful book, find it and read it if you haven’t. Then follow it up with this one.
When Eddie is killed at Ruby Pier, he dies saving the life of 8-year-old Annie. The next person you meet in heaven picks up with Annie….
No act done for someone else is ever wasted.
The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. Only a girl at the time, injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by the incident.
Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.
But when her wedding day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey. It will lead her to her very own five people, whose responsibility it falls on to teach her about the meaning of her life, and to her inevitable reunion with Eddie.
I worry when it comes to sequels, especially if it’s a sequel to a book I’ve loved. I don’t want the original story to be tainted, I don’t want the book to lose any of its magic.
Mitch Albom’s created that magic again without telling a carbon copy of the original. The next person you meet in heaven is every bit as wonderful as the first book, it’ll make you think, the twist at the end will break your heart and put it back together again.
I’m not sure what I believe in.
I remember a science lesson at school about energy and how it can’t be destroyed, it’s converted into something else. Science is not my strong point so feel free to correct me if any of this is wrong. The human body is made of energy so based on that when we die that energy doesn’t disappear, it converts into something else so we’re always around I suppose.
A bit stale that to be honest.
I like to believe there is something else after this life, I’ve never really given it that much thought, I certainly don’t think I’ll sitting on a cloud playing a harp.
I like what Mitch Albom creates in his stories about Eddie and Annie, it is strangely comforting.
They both, through their five people, learn valuable lessons about life, they’re given the chance to say the things they didn’t while they were alive. They both learn the meaning of their lives.
While for Eddie it was about showing him that nothing is wasted, for Annie it is all about learning to forgive herself.
The next person you meet in heaven again enforces the idea that no life is wasted, we all have a positive effect on the lives of others, it isn’t always the people closest to you, it may be someone you barely know, you may not even know about it.
This isn’t a book that’s preachy, it isn’t filled religious doctrine, there isn’t even a mention of God. It’s a story about humanity and broken people, it’s a story as much about life as it is death.
It is a beautiful tale and superbly written, it’s poignant and moving.
Above all that it ends with hope.
“All endings are also beginnings; we just don’t know it at the time.” Mitch Albom
P.S I’d wager on a few Albom books appearing on here over the next few weeks, it’s sent me on back catalogue trail…
Have you read the five people you meet in heaven or the next person you meet in heaven? What did you think?
Journalist, writer, traveller, music lover, collector of hats, news addict, bookworm