>The Five People You Meet in Heaven

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Several days ago, someone told me I should see the movie “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” The movie is based on the book by Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven (New York: Hyperion, 2003). At the beginning, I was not very much interested in seeing the movie, but then my wife surprised me and checked out the video from our local library. I am glad she did.

I was so touched by the movie that I decided to read the book. Two days after watching the movie, I received an invitation to interview Mitch Albom. I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven in preparation to interview Albom. My interview with Albom will be the subject of another post.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a story about a man named Eddie. Eddie’s story begins at the end of his life. I do not want to tell you much about the movie or the book because then, I will give you the plot of the story.

I do not know about you, but when I watch a movie, I do not want to know the plot of the movie ahead of time. I like to be surprised by the plot and enjoy the story as it unfolds before me. Without revealing much of the plot, let me say a little about the movie and the book.

The story of Eddie is about a man who was a war veteran and who worked in an amusement park almost all of his adult life, just as his father had done. Several events in his life caused Eddie to lose the optimistic plans he had for his future. As a result, he became an embittered old man, who believed that his work in the amusement park was meaningless work. At the end of his life he was sick, lonely, filled with regrets, and harboring sentiments he had never revealed to anyone.

The book celebrates several of Eddie’s birthdays and in most of them eventful things happened that affected his life. Then, on the last day of his life, the day he celebrated his 83rd birthday, Eddie was killed in a tragic accident in the amusement park. What happened after he died is the plot of the book.

In the afterlife, Eddie meets five people who explained to him the meaning of his earthly life. Some of these people were known to Eddie and others were strangers and yet, all of them changed Eddie’s life in profound ways. As a result of meeting these five people in heaven, Eddie discovered that one person affects the other and the other affects the next. The aim of the book is to show that there are many stories in the world but that these stories are all one.

I strongly recommend both the movie and the book.

Buy the book at Amazon.com.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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