Thursday, April 16, 2009

Book Review: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Here is another piece from Mitch Albom that I miraculously finished in one day. The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I could not stop flipping one page to another. I was curious to find out the next persons that the main character is going to meet in heaven.

This book tells about the story of an old man named Eddie, a maintenance manager, who was killed in a freak accident to save a little girl from crash in an amusement park called Ruby Pier where he worked and spent most of his life. After Eddie died, he finds himself in heaven, experiences different stages of his life from childhood to adulthood and meets five persons who affected his life significantly. From his encounter with each person, Eddie learns something about his life that he never apprehended before on earth.

Eddie first encounter is the Blue Man, a man who died from heart attack when he was driving his car to avoid hitting Eddie when he was a young kid. The Blue Man teaches Eddie about strangers. How people are all connected. He says that strangers are the people that you have yet to come to know.

Then, Eddie meets his Captain. The man who led him during World War II in the Philippines. His Captain was killed in an explosion when he was trying to save his troops. His Captain reveals that he was the one who shot Eddie's leg during the war to prevent Eddie from running into a burning hut. Eddie thought that there was a child inside the burning hut and he was trying to save the child. From his Captain, Eddie learns about sacrifices.

Third person that Eddie meets was Ruby. Ruby happened to be the person who was in the same hospital room with Eddie's estranged father when he was very ill. Ruby tells Eddie all the final moments of his father life and what caused his death. She teaches him about forgiveness.

Forth person Eddie meets was his late wife, Marguerite. She teaches him about eternal love.

Lastly, Eddie meets Tala. Tala was the child who was inside the burning hut during Eddie's time in the Philippines. Turns out, Eddie was not hallucinating. Tala tells him that she had forgiven Eddie and she explains to him his life purpose. She tells him how Eddie had safe many children and many people from harm through his work as maintenance worker in the amusement park.

Then the book was closed with the story of Eddie finally finds his heaven. He finds himself sitting in a Ferris Wheel with his beloved wife, Marguerite. His home. A place where Eddie waits for the persons who need his guidance before they find their own heavens later on.

This book presents an unconventional concept of heaven. Heaven in this book is not about finding a beautiful place beyond the sky where good souls meet angels, Jesus, holy persons or anything that is written in the Bible. According to this book, heaven is the state when a man feels most contented and comfortable during his time on earth.

If the person was a singer, his heaven could be a stage where he could sing beautifully, wow thousands of audience and receive endless standing ovation. If the man is a cook, his heaven maybe his kitchen where he could keep his hands busy making nice food. If the man is a painter, maybe his heaven would be his studio or garden where he could turn the white canvas into a beautiful painting. Heaven could simply be a state when you are happily chit chatting with your family in your living room or when you are taking a walk in a park with your lover. It can be anything that the person loves most.

This interpretation of heaven in this book is indeed to the contrary of the one be always believe in the Bible. Which one to believe is subject to personal belief. I am sure this book's main purpose is to teach their readers about the wisdom of the connections of the many parts of human's life. Everything happens for a reason. Past is the cause of present. Present is the cause of tomorrow. Only time will tell. However, one thing that made me think after I finished reading this book was about the persons that we are going to meet after we die and people whom we are going to guide to heaven.

1 comment:

  1. Singing is not the heaven for a singer... the ovation is.

    Teaching is not the heaven for a teacher... laying ridgepoles for the future is.

    Cooking is not the heaven for a chef... Sheer bliss from the people who eat your food is.

    Painting is not the heaven for a painter... The acknowledgment on your painting is.

    Once will never understand even simple time with those you love is called heaven if you never experience losing any of them.

    You will never know heaven if you haven't experience hell.


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