Challenge #11 ~ “A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge.”
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I read another of Albom’s works a few years back – The First Phonecall From Heaven – and was rather impressed (although the ending was a disappointment.) Thus, going into The Five People You Meet in Heaven, I wasn’t too sure what to expect – would Albom just take the easy way out at the end again? Was the fantastic beginning to his novel last time just a fluke? Would they end up being eerily similar? Yes, no, and no.
Again, Albom began the book strongly. The premise was interesting, and he executed this well with strong character development (at least for the protagonist) and an enticing plotline. In fact, I was propelled through the initial chapters of heaven on the hope of establishing what happened to the little girl. This ran out of momentum eventually, of course, which left me with no inspiration once I’d put the book down (although, when open, the writing still managed to spur me onwards). I became more anxious as the ending approached, scarred by how disappointing the last had been. Thankfully, The Five People You Meet In Heaven was much less disappointing at the end, but it still didn’t feel as if it was an adequate fit.
The huge strength of The Five People You Meet In Heaven is well-explained on the cover by Tan – the book makes you see the world anew. At first, I interpreted this to mean that it was ground-breaking, unique and real game-changer, but after-reading I see it more that it will spark questions on the interconnected nature of humanity, and the role of consequences. In this sense, Albom leaves a long-lasting mark on his reader, although it’s a shame the writing quality doesn’t match. Thought-provoking, sure, but the literary style is nothing special.
Recommended for fans of:
- No Parking at End Times by Bryan Bliss
- All These Lonely People by Gervase Phinn
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier