Tag Archives: Mitch Albom

A trip to the library.

Well, I’ve been a bit naughty today and only read the prologue and first few pages of Middlemarch, but in my defence I only made it to the library to stock up on books this afternoon. I had a nice tete-a-tete with the librarian about The Five People You Meet in Heaven, turns out she’s a fan as well. Then another woman overheard us and asked what book we were talking about…the word is spreading.

I’ve ordered more books in as well, getting myself organised. Last time I went the librarian warned me that Middlemarch was going to be a long read, obviously I didn’t look up to the job, this only served to make me more determined to read it and so Middlemarch became destined to be my next book. I think, perhaps, it is going to be more of a challenge than the books I’ve read so far, for one it’s the oldest book I’ve tackled…I’ll be able to add a 19th century category to the blog. Also, the story looks a lot broader (although, how can any story be broader than Orlando? Hmm). Suffice to say I haven’t been put off by the pages I’ve read so far, but neither have I been gripped. We shall see.

Book number four…Middlemarch by George Eliot.

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Filed under Books, Fiction, George Eliot, Mitch Albom, Novel

Reassuring…a review of The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.

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.

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Filed under 21st century, Books, Fiction, Mitch Albom, Novel

A review of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Well, I’ve pored my way through the last hundred pages, the plot thickening as they went. I can’t help but think what a sad story it turned out to be. As the truth unfolds you can to see that each of the characters is caged in one way or another, whether it be by love, hatred, devotion, servitude, duty…everyone in the story seems to suffer from their own variety of entrapment.

I read with mixed feelings, not quite knowing whether or not I wanted the truth to come out, never coming to any definite conclusion about some of the story’s characters. It seems to me that the boundary between good and bad, right and wrong, truth and lie is blurred in this story. I don’t think I’ll ever quite decide who the real ‘baddie’ is. Each one of the characters seems to me to carry light and shade, there is no one to hold up as an example of morality; even the characters who don’t commit crimes themselves and who don’t utter hateful words stand by and knowingly let others do so. Nobody finishes with a clean conscience and nobody emerges unscathed or unscarred.

The story, as I mentioned yesterday, is well written and the plot drives the narrative well. The pace of the novel alters to fit the circumstances and never do we feel that events are passing us by or that the narrative is dwelling too long at any given moment. The characters are well drawn, and as the novel progresses we come to understand them better – their motivations, their nature, their hopes and fears. We never are told the narrator’s name, and I can’t quite make up my mind as to whether she earns the title of heroine. With the novel’s title being afforded to another character and, perhaps because she appears (to me, anyway) so weak, I don’t feel that she quite merits being called a heroine. Elizabeth Bennet, Bridget Jones, Woolf’s Orlando, even – these narrators strike me as heroines…I’m afraid I can’t say the same of the second Mrs de Winter.

That’s not to say, however, that I did not enjoy the book. I enjoyed it immensely. It’s gripping, intriguing, well written and exciting. Do I recommend it to you? Most definitely. Does it merit being held up as one of literature’s classics? Yes, I think it does.

Swiftly on to book number three…a more modern classic this time, The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom.

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Filed under 20th century, Books, Daphne Du Maurier, Fiction, Novel