The Five People You Meet in Heaven centers around an elderly man named Eddie. Eddie is tired. Tired of fixing stuff, tired of his leg hurting him constantly, and tired of his life. Eddie is an 80-something year old war veteran that has worked as a maintenance repair man at Ruby Pier almost all of his life. It’s Eddie’s birthday and he thinks it’s going to be just a normal day until he notices one of the amusement park rides go haywire.
Thankfully, two of the staff stop the ride, but they fail to realize that the cord holding the compartment is going to release if they were not careful. Due to being so experienced in his line of work, Eddie races to the ride telling them to stop. A small girl stands right where the compartment is about to drop as the compartment flies down. Eddie, agile with adrenaline, pushes the girl out of the way (not knowing if he saved her or not) and gets crushed by the ride he helped maintain.
He feels an impact but then feels absolutely nothing. Eddie wakes up feeling more youthful and free of injury. There, his true story begins.
Eddie goes on to meet five people throughout Heaven to discover how he made an impact on other’s lives and what his purpose is. Through his eye-opening experience, he realizes that even the simplest actions can change someone’s life and how everybody’s stories are interconnected.
I’ve heard many good things about this book in the past. I finally decided to pick it up and give it a shot during the grueling AP test week in May for something light to read. It looked enjoyable, short (196 pages), and an overall easy read.
Thought-provoking is the main way I would describe this novel. It gives one a sense of community when you read how Eddie changed people’s lives and how other people unknowingly changed his life.
One of my favorite quotes is “All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” Isn’t that so true? Some endings are obvious, but others aren’t so much. This book is full of awesome quotes like this.
The plot was fast-paced and very well thought out. There are a lot of flashbacks, but it doesn’t affect the flow of the story by any means.
If you are looking for an easy, uplifting read, I highly suggest The Five People You Meet in Heaven.
Questions for You
- Do you like amusement rides?
- If you could speak with anyone, alive or not, who would you want to talk to?
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