There are endless interpretations of what Heaven is; it has occupied the many religions and theologies of our kind. To some it is a paradisiacal garden of luscious plants and flowing streams. To others, it is the end of all suffering. I’m not sure which Heaven I believe in, but Mitch Albom’s interpretation in his novel “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” fascinated me.
Following the life and death of a maintenance worker named Eddie, this beautiful book captures the transience of life and our inextricable connection to others. After an heroic attempt to save a little girl’s life, Eddie dies and is sent to Heaven, where he makes some unexpected encounters with people from his past. Each of the five people he meets have significantly impacted on or been impacted by Eddie’s life in some way or another. As a result, they each have a lesson to teach him in the final explanation of his life.
This is Albom’s version of Heaven; a series of meetings with loved ones and strangers alike, that guide Eddie towards enlightenment. The chosen people are as unexpected to the reader as they are to Eddie, which makes for a gripping read as we become emotionally involved in the elucidation of the protagonist’s life on Earth.
I finished the book in 2 days, which is unheard of for me as I am a painfully slow reader, but I found this touching story somewhat comforting to my soul.