Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his -- and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where five people who were in it explain your earthly life to you. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.
One by one, Eddie's five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure? The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.
These five meetings -- some of which are with people who are strangers to Eddie, others with people he knows intimately -- take this gruff but gentle man through the different stages of his life, and through each new person, some hidden truth is revealed. As Albom unfolds Eddie's story, he gradually sheds light on the web of connections between each individual and a world of strangers, so that life is revealed not as a straightforward story of what we have achieved but as a vast network, too large for us to perceive clearly from the inside. This theme, running throughout The Five People You Meet in Heaven, makes a perfect starting point for discussions of how these hidden linkages are at work in our own lives.
I personally loved this book; I am so happy that it was included on our reading list. It just gave me