- Monday, August 27, 2007

Five People You Meet in Heaven

by Mitch Albom

Searching for one with the ability of putting thoughts into text? This book is for you. Mitch Albom has successfully put something worth thinking of into a precise yet brief fiction story. Interesting characters with rather interesting events, all carefully planned. In its simplicity, it did well although I would say that Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" did better, or Albom's other book "For One More Day" was better.

This story speaks of an old man who died and entered heaven. Though to many, entering heavens signify a world of rest and unworrying haven; yet in this story, it is otherwise. Edward, or Eddie, the protagonist of the story, entered heaven only to find himself stuck with five different people he was somehow related to, and found that each of them had a lesson to teach him or a scenario to show him or a story to tell him. Each of them, in their own clever and creative manner, spoke to him and told him truths he was locked away from, thus, breaking his heart to a certain degree.

With its simplicity and flow of events, I perceive that the author is trying to tell us these:
Things aren't what they appear to be sometimes.
Have you ever got angry at a situation or with somebody, but after thinking it through, you were actually in the wrong? There was a certain amount of truth hidden from you, and knowing it at that point of time would have jeopardized something (perhaps a relationship, or an affection... something) that you treasure much at the moment. Which is why the Bible (Oh, I sound so preachy, but I think its really true) tells us: be slow to anger, fast to forgive. But yet again, how many can actually do that?

People's wellbeing are affected by your actions somehow
Believe it or not, every action you do has a reaction, and that reaction might be a person's unwillingness to depict his/her true emotions.
E.g. Mr A tells Mr B, "Eh, I got a new car. You got or not?"
Mr B replies, "Eh, stupid. Don't try to make me jealous lar. I got a moto only."
"Aiyo, don't so memalufying lar. Go get a new car."
"You think so easy like shitting in a bowl meh? If people shit lidat oso have to aim lar! Shit wrong place, miss the bowl how? You lick ah?"
"Eh, babi. Don't so mengviolencing la! Sabar. Breathe."
"Babi la you babi. Call me babi. I don like babi la. Babi here babi there. Bodoh like shit!"

See? Okay, maybe it wasn't that good an example. HAHA!

There is always a risk in doing anything.
Go to the toilet and look into the toilet bowl. There is a possibility of you accidentally stepping on something and falling into it, only to realize to have your poor face stuck onto a shit. Okay, it's just paraphrasing.

The little thing you do might end up being a huge thing for another.
It was originally your unintention to go set a fire on that poor petite little house. However, little did you know there was a small poor kid who was sleeping there. So what ended up in the end? The boy gets killed. Now, who's the murderer.
(P/s: Do you know my Psychology lecturer brings out scenarios like this? Perhaps I am infected with his tendency to do so too. Heh. Whatever. Who cares?)

Okay fine. I'll say what I disliked about the story.
I still prefer "For One More Day", which is more family-based with an interetsing character (apparently, it's the mother). But "Five People You Meet In Heaven" lacks this element.

"For One More Day" has a captivating storyline whereby the son undergoes a certain point of life, and a certain typical pattern of life is repeated; but "Five People You Meet In Heaven" does not.

Speaking of which, I think that "FOMD" has a really good and realistic protagonist, but "FPYMIH" did not. And honest speaking, I think that protagonist of "FPYMIH" is odd and unrealistic. It's worse that fantasy (at least fantasy has its peak), but this does not.

In short, it's an "okay" book. For me, I'd advise readers not to put so much expectation on it. But if you insist on reading it, think about the characters and ponder whether did the author succeeded in bringing moral values of life values out.


Suit Lin said...

Maybe the fact that made Eddie so endearing to me is that he seems so detached. (and in your words, odd and unrealistic?)

The reason why he was so detached is left to be speculated I guess, and perhaps like a mirror, I am enchanted by the reflection of my soul portrayed by this character.
Connected, yet detached.

ps: I want for one more day,PINJAM ME k. =)

pps: Someone again said that I should write less gloomily. %E^R*&%^$&$. *takes deep breath* never mind.

ppps: I don't know how to do my stupid assignment =(

pppps: I don't know why I cant stop ps-ing.

ppppps: me thinks my brother has the Red Alert 3, and also Yuri's revenge. (he never lets me play now cuz I beat him in RA 2, MUAHAHA)

pppppps: ok la you can stop swt-ing. Have a nice week ahead. =)

jeannie said...

You like Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" more than Albom's "The 5 People You Meet in Heaven"? I'm the opposite. I prefer Albom's more. I like Coelho's The Alchemist too but if I were to choose one, I'll choose Albom. Coelho's is quite profound in the sense that you'll have to think harder the philosophies he's trying to make. Albom put it in a much simpler way. Anyway, thumbs up for both books!

Jon Chu said...

Hence, preferences. :)