Thursday, 22 December 2016

BOOK REVIEW: THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN by MITCH ALBOM


First of all, let me tell you the amazing story behind how this book came into my life, for I did not choose this book - this book chose me. A few years ago an acquaintance mentioned this book to me and told me to read it after a very deep conversation about the existential matters in our lives and the lives of those around us. Anyway, years later I still hadn't read it and this book popped into my head out of the blue, and I told Ben about it. Then, sure enough, we were walking along in hove and Ben said 'Look, there's something between that hedge and the wall beneath' so I went over and pulled out THIS BOOK! Inside was written 'Ruth's book, Chris's book' and then 'Anybody's book'. How bloody well amazing is that? If that isn't true synchronicity then I do not know what is my friend.

The five people you meet in heaven is about a beautiful man called Eddie, it is his eighty-third birthday, and he is still working as a maintenance guy in the amusement park where he grew up. He's father had worked there before Eddie too, but Eddie had always aspired for bigger and better things. This birthday is different to any other birthday for Eddie, as this particular birthday is also Eddie's deathday. Eddie is going about his day as he does every other day, carrying out mediocre chores and plodding along as usual until he is stuck in the midsts of a tragic accident and dies. 

It really brings to light how we could all die at any second and we still all walk around worrying about pathetic things that don't matter, undergoing pointless tasks, and indulging in unfulfilling acts and shit conversations. It has made me realise that really we should live in the here and the right now, and if you aren't doing something that fills you up with complete love, then don't fucking do it at all.

When Eddie reaches heaven he meets five different characters that have had a huge impact on his life, whether he has realised it or not. Each person carries a different type of heaven with them. Which is another thought-provoking concept - one man's heaven could be another man's hell, and so what if another man's dream life, is another man's death sentence? So why are we all striving for the same things? Why are people so wrapped up in striving for exactly the same things in life? It's bizarre, yet it's considered bizarre to aspire to have a life that is completely the opposite of the ordinary. How very bland and boring for us.

The five people Eddie meets in heaven aren't the people one would imagine they would meet in heaven, but perhaps that is a human's emotional attachment and ego speaking as opposed to the true journey of life and its lessons. One would expect to meet their Mum, Dad, Brother, True love, and Greatest teacher in life, but perhaps the one's you think to be these things here on earth, aren't the one's that are in the grand scheme of things. 

Eddie finds lots of unresolved issues unravelling for him in heaven. Such as he's broken relationship with his father, his war wound that made him disabled and the reason he got 'stuck' in for what he perceives to be a pointless and pitiful life. It really made me think that no life is pointless because it is a unique, and like no other. It's our own unique experience and we should cherish it, and hold it with both hands while operating with sheer love in it. 

This book really drums home that we are all connected to with all of its strange twists and turns. We are all connected - you only have to go onto a 'meme's' page to see that we are all thinking and feeling the same things. One google search and you've found someone going through exactly what you are going through. The problem is; we are all connected yet so disconnected. This book honestly made me want to talk to everyone on my coach and train when I was reading it. We all have the opportunity to meet so many special and amazing people every single day and what do we do? We sit on our phone's communicating with those people we already know. While I love the people in my life and am so grateful for all of the special bonds I do have; I don't want to restrict myself and cut myself off from making more of those connections. We are also all connected in that we all die, yet no one really wants to speak about death (not here in Britain anyway), yet it is really comforting to know that, especially if you're dying or are witnessing a love one passing over to the other side.

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the book:

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

"All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair."

"Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside... We think that hating someone will hurt them, but hatred is a curved blade, and the hate we do to others, we also do to ourselves."

"Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else."

" 'You have peace,' the old woman said, 'when you make it with yourself.' "

"Each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one."

"Heaven can be found in the most unlikely corners."

"In order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did and why you no longer need to feel it."

"Lost love is still love, Eddie. It just takes a different form, that's all... You can't hold their hand... You can't bring them food... You can't move them around on the dance floor... but, when those senses weaken, another one comes to life... Memory... Memory becomes your partner. You hold it, you dance with it... Life has to end... Love doesn't."

This book has given me so much perspective due to the fact it had so many thought provoking ideas running through its pages. I cried, I laughed, it comforted me, and it scared me but I could not put it down. I was hooked from the moment I found it in such bizarre circumstances, but I fell in love with Eddie instantly. The book has reinforced to me that we must cherish our lives and those in it and we shouldn't get too caught up in the things we cannot change. Just ride the rollercoaster as Eddie would, and read this book somewhere in between doing so because you won't regret it and it will give you a whole new take on things! 

Peace out Potatoes xo
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1 comment

  1. Wow, This is brilliant. I cried half way through reading the last quote. So beautiful. Sounds like a must read. Thank you for bringing my attention to this book

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