09 October 2008

200-word review: 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' by Mitch Albom

What a load of sentimental codswallop! I read this book because it was on the list of 100 best novels I posted a while back – the only explanation for this is that it was inserted by the kind of person who sends sickening chain e-mails about ill children or dying old men. I expected the epilogue to contain a demand to pass the book on to ten people in exchange for something good happening to you.

Here’s the story: 83-year-old Eddie dies in an accident at the amusement park he’s worked at most of his life. He goes to heaven where he meets five people from his past who explain his life to him. Even in a nutshell this book sounds nauseating, and it lives up to its promise. If the premise wasn’t bad enough, then Albom’s visualisation of heaven is cringeworthy. He half-heartedly describes skies changing colour and people flying, but in a disjointed way that just feels like he thought, “Hey, this isn’t ethereal enough, I’ll stick some trippy stuff about dry snow and clouds in there, that’ll work.”

Sorry, but it doesn’t work. What you have here is the world’s longest glurge e-mail put into book form.

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