#1: The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Publication Date: September 23rd, 2003
“Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination, but an answer. In heaven, five people explain your life to you. Some you knew, others may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”
I had to read this book in my freshman year of high school. When I read it for the first time, I feel like I was a little too young to understand what was going on in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I reread this book my senior year of college. I was 22 and I feel like that age gap of 14-22 really was able to change my perspective on how I read this book. I understood so much more about Eddie and what was happening when I was older because the older you are, the more about life and death you start to understand.
Rereading this book, I was able to see the spirituality that this book provided instead of just “having to read it for a grade”. I was able to see the connection with Eddie and spirituality. The ability to grasp that was almost life-changing for me in that moment. Being so stressed with finals and needing a book to really open my eyes, this novel was able to do that for me.
Mitch Albom has a way with words and does with every book he writes. After reading this novel, you hope to see what is going to happen in your “afterlife”, whatever that may be. The Five People You Meet in Heaven really makes you think and I enjoyed that.
The final thing that I really enjoyed about this novel were the very memorable quotes. Like I said, there were a lot of spiritual moments in this book, and the quotes made it that much better. Mitch Albom was teaching life lessons along with telling his story. It’s very rare when an author can really touch a person’s soul and he did just that.
“Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.”
#2: The Next Person You Meet in Heaven
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.
Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.
The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.
As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.
Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.
In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, we meet Eddie who dies saving a young girl from a certain death from a ferris wheel. We looked at Eddie’s spiritual journey throughout the book to see who he meets in heaven when he gets there.
In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, we meet Annie who is the little girl that Eddie saved all of those years ago. We learn about Annie, her childhood, her growth and her love-life. When Paulo enters, we learn that Annie and Paulo were childhood sweethearts that reconnected and found themselves getting married. When Paulo and Annie are in a bad accident on their wedding night, we see Annie’s journey through her eyes like we did with Eddie in the first novel of this series.
Just like The Five People You Meet in Heaven, you feel the spirituality running through each page. The stages of life that you feel everyday were definitely felt throughout this book. Again, just like the first in this series, there were many memorable quotes, especially about death and what happens in your afterlife.
“At certain moments, when death is close, the veils pull back between this world and the next. Heaven and Earth overlay. When they do, it is possible to glimpse certain souls already departed. You can see them awaiting your arrival. And they can see you coming.”
The characters and their development were both incredible throughout both books. Learning about Eddie’s life and why he helped little Annie that day was the perfect set up for a sequel without even realizing it. The sequel did come out 15 years later, but I feel as though there was no time in between. It felt as though one story ran beautifully into the next without any time in between.
Like I stated before, I loved the quotes in the first novel in this series, but I liked them even more in this book. There were so many quotes that I highlighted that I thought I would get bored, but I read them and enjoy them every single time. Mitch Albom really does have a way with words and I hope he keeps blessing us with his wisdom.
“No act done for someone else is ever wasted.”