As mentioned yesterday I’m an extremely picky Reader, but I don’t hate a book. It takes a lot to get me to hate a book but when I do I tend to devolve into a Hulk-like creature.
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
This book made me MAD. I tend to avoid self-help meant-to-give-you-a-life-changing-epiphany books. This might be the remains of my childhood stubbornness and my teenage rebellion, but I HATE it when people tell me what to do. Alright. That’s a bit of a broad statement. I hate it when people claim that they have it all figured out and that if I follow their ten easy steps I’ll reach the same level of nirvana.
Books like Five People are full of themselves and a thinly veiled form of self justification. I’m being a little harsh. I know. The main concept of the book was that your life is not isolated it’s connected to everyone and everything around you. This isn’t a new topic to me, one of my favourite novels Cloud Atlas is just that. Five People takes this concept one step further: it explains WHY your life is the way it is and how these connections give it meaning.
The main character dies trying to save a young girl at the Amusement Park he works at. He dies and goes to Heaven and as the title states meets five people. Each person is meant to prove his life had some meaning and help him overcome his grief and issues with his Father.
I had two problems with this book. First the novel itself. It felt like a was reading a sermon, but a sermon that tried to disguise itself as a novel. There is one meaning to this text and by GOD you are going to understand it. It’s hard to engage with a text like that.
My other major problem is with the lessons themselves. I’ll narrow this down to the one “lesson” that really upset me. One word: THE WOMAN. Eddie remembers his Father threatening his Mother and it’s alluded to that his Father beat her and Eddie. But the book tells us: don’t worry. It’s okay, he really did love his family.
What the Hell?
PTSD is discussed in the book, but in relation to Eddie. In one of the pinnacle scenes between Eddie and his Father. Eddie has returned from the Warfront due to an injury. The author goes to great detail in describing Eddie’s mental state. His Father walks in one night drunk and screams at him and physically threatens him. This of course was the end in their relationship. While in Heaven this event is justified as the motivation he needs.
After reading the book I hunted around the internet to see what other people thought about it. One comment really struck me home:
“It’s as if Mitch is trying to justify his relationship with his father through this book.” – Anonymous Forum Poster
Now I know nothing about Mitch’s biography, so I’m not sure about the validity of this person’s argument.
I know a lot of people adore this book and I know there is a good chance I will be flamed for this. But man, this book. I’m not impressed at all.