22 February 2013
Independent Reading Project
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom follows a man’s journey through heaven after dying at the age of 83 in a horrific theme park accident. The novel proposes that when one dies, one meets with the five people that most influenced, affected, or defined one, before moving on. The story is told partly through Eddie’s interactions with his five people and also through vivid snapshots of his life, both of which allow the reader to see changes in his character and the development of his identity as he journeys through life. The changes in Eddie’s character before and after his death and the musings the author instills in the reader exemplify the theme that what defines an individual the most are the people around them and their relationships with them.
The novel begins at the end, right before Eddie dies in the accident. It is here the reader gets the first view of Eddie as an old man, weary of the world: “His plans never worked out. In time, he found himself graying and wearing looser pants and in a state of weary acceptance, that this was who he was and who he always would be, a man with sand in his shoes in a world of mechanical laughter and grilled frankfurters” (Albom 5). This initial introduction to Eddie delivers the reader with a vivid description of his weariness and resignation. Throughout this same first chapter, the author also interjects small stories of Eddies past, no more than a paragraph each: “Another story went...