Well, one day, one book. I’ve read the whole thing. It only took me a couple of hours to read in the end. It’s not as long as it looks on account of the short passages and short chapters. I’ve always found that I read books with short chapters far quicker than those with long ones. I think it somehow tricks your brain into reading on… ‘it’s only a short chapter, just one more then I’ll go and get on’.
One chapter more, and, you’ve read it all. What of the book itself though? Again, I enjoyed it. And there I was thinking I was choosy. As I expected, this book’s completely different to the others I’ve read this week. A much more modern book in a much more modern setting; and a new country too…this one’s written by an American and set in America. Unlike Rebecca where I always felt the narrator was hiding something from me, this book’s the exact opposite. During the course of the book, Eddie, the narrator, tells you all about his life…the people, his work, the places, the feelings. You come to have a strong image of Eddie, you feel you know what he looks like, how he moves, even what he’s thinking.
The premise of the book is an unusual and interesting one. It does exactly what the title says and introduces you to Eddie not only through the day leading up to his death, but through the five people who await him in the afterlife. It’s a refreshing take on a life Eddie feels hasn’t amounted to much. And it makes you consider your own life, what five people would be waiting for you? Would you know them when you saw them? Have you already met them?
The book’s saturated with the idea of there being no shame in living an ordinary life, in fact, the very idea that there’s no such thing as an ordinary life rings loudly at the book’s end. Despite Eddie’s simple life, as a reader you’re encouraged to take a certain pride in him and the work he does. It would be so easy to feel sorry for Eddie, but Albom does not let you. That’s not what this story’s about. We’re not here to pity anyone, merely to learn from them and the life they’ve lead.
I defy anyone not to think having read this book. Not about Eddie, you’ve made your peace with him while reading the book. Having closed the book, it’s more about yourself that you’re left thinking. Considering your own life as though you’re a spectator on the sidelines. Wondering, as I said above, who will be there to meet you? What will your heaven entail? Who will you have to wait for?
It’s a thought-provoking book, but I think that’s fairly evident from its title. It’s less haughty than I’d imagined, though. It doesn’t preach, doesn’t have its own agenda. Doesn’t hold itself up as the only truth, as I’d worried it might. It’s a good, and surprisingly easy read. I’ve already recommended it, I’ll do so again. Read it. It might even make you feel better about the way you live, about the years that’ve passed…it’ll soothe that nagging worry that haunts so many of us…the ‘what ifs’, the ‘it could’ve been me’…instead it makes you consider that perhaps things just…are; and maybe, at the end you’ll come to realise that ‘it was you’, after all.
Book number four…well, I’m off to the library tomorrow having read all the one’s I got last time, so I’ll let you know.