This is a beautiful inspiring novel about Eddie who dies after an accident. With the five people he meets in Heaven, we learn about the lives he influenced.
“There are no random acts, we are all connected. You cannot separate one life from another in the same way that you cannot separate a breeze from the wind.” The Blue Man, the first person Eddie meets in heaven.
Eddie Maintenance, as the kids in Ruby Pier (the amusement park by the ocean) call him, is 83 years old and about to die. His job is checking the safety of the attractions in the park such as the Tilt-A-Whirl. Eddie is a bit grumpy but the children love the way he makes animals from twisted pipe cleaners. He must have been on Ruby Pier all his life, except for his time in the army. There is a love story also, between Eddie and the beautiful Marguerite, from the moment they met many years ago. Approaching Eddie’s death we see that somehow other lives are involved. So-called coincidences have a tendency to shape our future in unforeseen ways. When Freddy’s Free Fall, the huge attraction, is on the verge of collapsing, a little girl is in mortal danger. Eddie cries, he forgets his limp and runs when he sees the girl trapped under the machine about to crush her. He jumps and feels a girl’s hands, a blinding light and then he feels nothing at all.
From then on the book shows us Eddie’s life as well as his journey in heaven. With Eddie, we learn that every life affects another and that even the simplest and apparently meaningless actions are never without cause. The first person Eddie meets in heaven is the Blue Man, standing in the 1920’s Ruby Pier. We become familiar with his sad life and why his skin turned so blue that he became a rarity, something to laugh at, at carnivals and eventually at Ruby Pier. The Blue Man explains Eddie why he feels a child again: as Eddie met him as a child, as a child he would meet the Blue Man in heaven. Like the journey through life, the journey in heaven follows the same steps from childhood to old age. The Blue Man further reveals that there are five people to meet in heaven, each of these lives was influenced by Eddie’s. It is not always clear how and Eddie might wonder why but this is the time to find out as “heaven is for understanding your life on earth”.
While Eddie tries to make sense of the people he meets in heaven, we feel his emotions as he grows up, first neglected, then beaten by his father and last of all the silence, inflicted upon him by his father who no longer wished to speak to his youngest son. We come to understand Eddie’s life, his ambitions and frustrations and Marguerite, the love of his life. The reason for the recurring nightmares Eddie has since returning from war is slowly and gradually disentangled as Eddie approaches his fifth person in heaven. Along the way we are invited to think about life ourselves, what is the meaning of it and how are we connected to and influenced by other people.
This contemporary American fable is a beautiful, touching and captivating tale of love and forgiveness. It tells of guilt and courage and considers sacrifice as “a part of life, it is supposed to be, it’s not something to regret, but something to aspire to”. I just love the concept presented to us in this book, it is overwhelming, astounding and yet consoling. It shows us that we humans are able to make up for the mistakes we have made and that everything happens for a reason. Look behind the masks of bitterness, anger, sadness and grumpiness in others and find real persons, listen to their stories. It is for that reason that at the beginning of the book, upon entering heaven, Eddie is not yet capable of speech “to understand better, to listen”. Do as Eddie, open this book as well as your heart and listen to the magnificent story presented by Mitch Albom. I have and felt inspired by this book, that is why it has become one of my favourites.
About the Author
Mitch Albom is an internationally renowned best-selling author of six books, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have collectively sold more than 35 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-nine territories and in forty-five languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.
|Publisher||Sphere; New Ed edition (2 Sept. 2004)|