Book Review: The Five People You Meet in Heaven

by Mitch Albom

5 out of 5 stars

"All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time"

I hadn't heard of this author before even though I've since found out he's tremendously successful. So it was a new beginning for me to read writing from such a wonderful author. I originally picked this book up and also read the sequel 'the next person you meet in heaven' because it is a similar subject matter to a new novel I am writing.

The five people you meet in heaven tells the story of Eddie, a lonely war veteran, who tragically dies on his eighty-third birthday. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his - and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden but a place where you earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. These people may be loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each one of them changed your path forever.

For me this book is a masterpiece. A literary achievement I can't get out of my head. I'm not surprised it's received such success. It's writing style will be loved or hated but I firmly sit in the love category.  It is almost poetic and wonderfully appropriate for the  the surprising world in which we arrive - the afterlife. The plot is thought-provoking, mesmerising and truly moving at times. There is a quote on the back that says "this book is a gift to the soul" and I also believe it truly is. I only hope I can be such an accomplished writer as this Mitch Albom one day.

That said, the sequel to the book does fall a bit flat for me. The characters are less engaging and because I devoured it so quickly after the second book it felt that the themes from the original were repeated too much at times. Nevertheless I would encourage everybody to try these books, if only for their take on a place we all avoid thinking about but is the one place that's certain for us all.