I recently came across this novel on my parents’ bookcase and I am thrilled I picked it up. Eddie is a war veteran, who dies in a tragic accident on his 83rd birthday in an attempt to save a young girl.
This is perhaps one of the most thought-provoking books I have read recently, asking questions of why we live the lives we do and the meaning behind them. The book follows Eddie, after he dies and wakes up in the afterlife, continuing with his journey through heaven where he meets five people who each had an impact on the course of his life. Despite several of these people being unknown to Eddie himself, they all altered the course his life significantly and when he arrives in heaven they are there to explain the reasons for why his life turned out how it did.
This novel concept led to an intriguing story that I couldn’t put down, particularly since the simplicity of Albom’s writing results in a quick read that requires no effort on the part of the reader. The book addresses philosophical questions around the meaning of life and the afterlife in a remarkably concise manner that forces you to confront the impact you want your life to have on those around you.
Throughout the book we are also given snapshots of different points in Eddie’s life, spending brief chapters on earlier various birtrhdays of his. This allows us the opportunity to understand why Eddie feels the way he does about his life as well as giving us greater insight into his thoughts at the time when he encountered some of the people who are waiting for him in heaven.
This is an excellent book about forgiveness, acceptance and lost love that I would whole-heartedly recommend.