Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a novel by Mitch Albom. It recounts the life and death of an old maintenance man named Eddie. After dying trying to save a little girl, Eddie finds himself in heaven where he encounters five people who have significantly affected his life.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven was published in 2003 by Hyperion, and remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for 95 weeks. 

Plot Summary
On his 83rd birthday, Eddie (Voight), a war vet and a maintenance worker at the Ruby Pier amusement park, dies while trying to save a girl who is sitting under a falling ride. When he awakens in the afterlife, he encounters five people with ties to his corporeal existence who help him understand the meaning of his life.

Full Story line
The story opens with Eddie, in his twilight years, working as a maintenance man at Ruby Pier. Ruby Pier has been a constant location in his life: his father worked there before him and he used to play there as a child and teenager. It is here that he dies, trying to save a girl from a falling cart on a broken ride.

The first person Eddie meets in heaven is "The Blue Man", real name Joseph Corvelzchik. When Eddie was a boy he stepped out into the street causing Joseph to swerve and crash. This caused him to have a heart attack and affected his life connecting him to Eddie eternally.

The second person Eddie meets is "The Captain," Eddie's commanding officer in the Philippines during World War II. In life, the Captain had made a promise to his troops: No man gets left behind. He makes good on this promise one day by saving Eddie's life, shortly after which he is killed by a land mine.

Ruby is the third person Eddie meets. As a young woman, Ruby's husband Emile sought to capture her eternal youth and the happiness of their marriage by building an amusement park in her name: Ruby Pier. Emile injures himself in a firework accident at the pier and subsequently meets Eddie's father in the hospital. Because of this, she is able to recount to him his father’s final living moments. Ruby helps Eddie understand the importance of forgiveness.

Eddie's fourth meeting is with Marguerite, his wife. Eddie recalls their life together, simple but happy, until the events of Eddie's 39th birthday. After an argument Marguerite attempts to drive to Eddie to apologize for yelling at him on his birthday, but she never made it — instead, a terrible car accident put her in the hospital. After that tragic event, Eddie and Marguerite's marriage changed. They often sat in silence that was permeated by sullen tension. As time passed, however, they were eventually able to overcome their emotional disconnection and became loving companions once again. In Heaven, Marguerite teaches him about their love, bringing him consolation.

The final person Eddie meets is Tala, a young girl Eddie saw in a burning hut during the war in the Philippines. He tried to run into the hut to save the child but was stopped, shot in the leg by his captain, thus saving Eddie's life. In heaven, Tala teaches Eddie that he had a big role in keeping people safe at Ruby Pier and should know that his life was useful in many ways.
Eventually, Eddie drifts away to his own personal heaven: Ruby Pier and he reunites with Marguerite atop a Ferris wheel at Ruby Peir. (copied from Wikipedia)

A different story line. I wonder if this is true, who will be the 5 people I meet then?

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