Rating - * *
I decided to review both books together, primarily because ( no particular order)
• the underlying theme is more or less same
• they are both by the same author
• and because I read both of them within ten days of each other
It’s not that I hadn’t heard about the books till a month ago, I had. And many times I had picked it up from the shelf in a bookstore only to replace it with a catchier, relevant and less preachy book. Probably I was not in the frame of mind to learn about humanity, morality and the other –tys- that are out there in the world.
The premise of the book Tuesdays with Morrie, is about a dying old teacher and his student and the exchange that follows between them during the last few months. It’s not a bad book, but it’s not great either. The lessons, the good values, family, love et al -I have heard it before - in school, our parents and even my boss! So there's nothing new in the book for me. Neither is the story. I am guessing all dying people grow wisdom tooth and then take it upon themselves to dispense this new found wisdom and love to people around them or rather whoever is willing to listen. What strikes me as strange is that, Morrie had a full life, and a life in which he had in general been a good person and a teacher. So what was different about the last few months? Probably the only difference was that the student, i.e. the author Mitch, viewed it from a different perspective after having gone through the metamorphosis of a student to a working adult. Yes, I have to concede that Morris's illness was not pretty, and that requires courage.
I had seen the movie some six years ago, and I still remember that it had made an impact on me that time (although the impact didn’t last long). But the book failed miserably in this respect. It’s one of the rare examples of a movie being better than the book. Watch the movie, skip the book.
Five people you meet in heaven is better than TWM. There’s a story and there is the karma factor. What you do has wider implications and our actions affect more people than we think it does. I agree to this thought and it is well corroborated by the people whom Eddie meets in heaven. The people whom he meets are those with whom he had close bonds to those whom he had never interacted directly, yet each of these lives intertwined and touched and transformed each other. The writing is simple, its not as preachy as TWM and that’s why it is a better and quick read. There are some touching moments, but they are fleeting, at times the stories get stretched out (the one with his wife, surprisingly enough. Also it didn’t really have any message that I could decipher) and at times they are real short (the blue man). When you finish the book it will leave you with questions - about fate, about people, about life, about work and about yourself. Try to find answers, maybe then you won’t be as confused as Eddie about life's purpose.