Book Review: The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

Ev Norsworthy

During this time of physical distancing and a bit of social isolation, it has been the perfect time to read more and one of the best novels I could suggest to fill your time would be The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. Mitch Albom is not only the author of The Five People You Meet In Heaven but also well-known novels such as The First Phone Call From Heaven and Tuesdays With Morrie. At first you may be hesitant, many of us remembering being forced to read some of Albom’s other works, particularly Tuesdays With Morrie in a high school English class and dreading the lecture where your teacher realized you hadn’t read or at all comprehended the chapters you were suppose to read by that class but don’t let that memory deter you, The Five People You Meet in Heaven is not only an entertaining novel but also a text that will leave you thinking about life, death and the afterlife even after you breeze through the two-hundred pages. While you may think that this is the last topic you want to think about during a global pandemic, The Five People You Meet in Heaven actually helped not only distract me from the current affairs of the world but also gives you a new perspective on the topics.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven begins with a tragic accident with an amusement park ride that kills our main character, Eddie. From here we follow Eddie through his journey after the accident where he realizes heaven isn’t a one stop end to the journey but learns that he must first meet with five people from his past to review portions of his life and during this time, we anxiously await to see what has come of the young girl he was trying to save when he died during the horrible accident.

Much of this story is told through flashback chapters, short pieces of stories from Eddie’s younger years told by some who seemed to play an insignificant part in his childhood, but whose path was more connected with Eddie’s than anyone could have realized during life to those which seem to be obvious connections like people from Eddie’s days in the army. The novel continues with this format, a few chapters for each person and then onto the next person until the end of the novel where everything is tied together for both the storyline about Eddie’s journey to an afterlife and the storyline about the little girl that Eddie was trying to save when he died.

In short, I enjoyed this novel and found it to be a very quick read, both because I was engulfed in the story but also because the novel was written in a way that is accessible to all audiences and not written solely for those willing to work through plot points, dense language and confusing context. Another reason that I highly suggest this book is because while it deals with ideas of death and a potential afterlife, it doesn’t feel as though the other is pushing any of his own beliefs or those of any group which is quite refreshing for this genre. Throughout the novel there aren’t many specific points where it feels like the author is sharing a concrete belief as to what kind of afterlife there is, or how you get there but rather just the general idea that after death there may be another journey rather than a quick final destination. Overall, the best thing about The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom is that this is a book that really leaves you thinking even after you read it cover to cover so I will leave you with the same question this book left me with and encourage you to buy your copy so you can answer for yourself, “who would your five people that you would meet in heaven be?”