This book is an oldie but a goodie for me. I purchased it probably a good 8 years or so ago and have re-read it so many times I have lost count. It had been such a long time since my last read that I couldn’t even remember the five people mentioned in the title. My recent re-reading of this book was sparked by a decision made between a few co-workers and myself to start a book club. We would each take it in turns to produce a book of our choice for the group to take turns in reading. Apparently it was such a success that one of the girls who read it has already asked to borrow it again. But on to the book.
This book has a simple concept: when you die you meet five people. These people will have touched your life and changed it in some way or form. You may or may not know these people. Each person will have a lesson to teach you, something to learn in death. You will meet each person one by one until you then take the place in a queue for someone else, someone whose life you have shaped. Waiting for them to join you in death for you in turn to teach them something. This book focuses on Eddie Maintenance, an amusement park worker and his journey.
The story is told in a mixture of Eddie’s perspectives pre and post-death, flashbacks to his previous birthdays and the aftermath of his death. Albom weaves a beautiful narrative through life and death with many a hidden moral for you to take and to apply to your own life. His characters are vivid and unforgettable, each with their own story to tell and even though Eddie seems a little gruff and angry at the world you fall in love with him and his kind heart. I constantly find myself racing to finish the story, to find out who each of these significant people are and what they have to teach. You find yourself with Eddie on his rollercoaster that is death (see what I did there, amusement park pun).
This is a short and sweet story that never fails to touch my heart. I love this concept and if there is to be anything after life, I hope it is this! I urge you to give this modern almost fable a go. I assure you, you will not regret it. Albom is a master of words and I give this book five amusement park ferris wheels in memory of Eddie.