Mitch Albom's book The Next Person You Meet In Heaven turned out on a full bookshelf
Credit: Leslie Rott

Leslie Rott

I’ll admit it. I’m a Mitch Albom fangirl. I’ve read all of his books. And while I can safely say that Tuesday’s with Morrie is by far my favorite — not the most original choice, I know — I have never been disappointed by any of his books.

Unfortunately, though, I have to say, all the way through, I found The Next Person You Meet in Heaven (Harper Luxe) to be a huge disappointment. It kind of felt like history repeating. It certainly wasn’t worth waiting 15 years since The Five People You Meet in Heaven to read.

Until the last 15 pages.

And then I cried.

Like a baby.

I’m glad I was alone while I was reading the end of it, otherwise I would have been super embarrassed crying big, ugly tears. That’s part of Mitch Albom’s gift. He gets you right where it hurts. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’ve dealt with loss or my impending marriage, and I don’t want to give away any key details, but it gave me all the feels in the end.

Recall that in The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Albom introduces us to a character named Eddie who dies saving a girl named Annie from a runaway roller coaster. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven is Annie’s story of life and death.

Was it the best book I’ve ever read? No. But it wasn’t the worst, either. And in the end, there was a lot of truth to it. In life, because we are human, we end up wasting a lot of time on the things that don’t matter and not enough time on the things that do.

In so many words or less, Albom asks universal questions, like:

  • Why are we here?
  • What happens after?
  • How do we live in the face of death?
  • And in the end, does it really matter?

I like reading Albom’s books because many of them come from perspectives that are different from my own.

In Judaism, the concept of heaven is fraught and contested. But for some people, heaven is very clear, or at least their idea of it, is very clear.

But really, a sequel published 15 years after the first book? I wonder how many people who read The Five People You Meet in Heaven are no longer alive to even read The Next Person You Meet in Heaven.

A cup of Detroit Water Ice frozen treat with a plastic spoon stuck in it on a table.
Leslie Rott | Detroit Jewish News

I’m going to say this, but don’t hate me because I’m truthful: If you’re like me and you love Mitch Albom with unwavering enthusiasm, spend the money on this book. If you like Mitch Albom and respect his loyalty to Detroit but won’t read his books just for the sake of reading, take the money you would spend on the book and go enjoy some Detroit Water Ice. You might just find that to be a more enjoyable experience.

There, I said it. I came, I read, I cried, I’m done.

1 COMMENT

  1. Mitch Albom’s latest book is the best he wrote to date. It has an emotional depth not found in any of his previous writings. It is a book written by a person who LIVED the emotions described in the book as opposed to OBSERVING them as a writer.

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