An enchanting, beautifully crafted novel that explores a mystery only heaven can unfold.
Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. As the park has changed over the years — from the Loop-the-Loop to the Pipeline Plunge — so, too, has Eddie changed, from optimistic youth to embittered old age. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.
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 your earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. 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.
In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you’ve ever thought about the afterlife — and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who loved Tuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.
It is a tale of a life on earth. It’s a tale of life beyond it. It’s a fable about love, a warning about war, and a nod of the cap to the real people of this world, the ones who never get their name in lights.
Since its publication, it has sold over 12 million copies in 38 territories and in 35 languages.
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Mitch Introduces The Five People You Meet in Heaven
The lead character in The Five People You Meet In Heaven is a grizzled war veteran named Eddie, who dies on his 83rd birthday. The character was inspired by my real-life uncle, Edward Beitchman, who was also a World War II veteran, who also died at 83, and also lived a life like that of the fictional character, rarely leaving his home city, and often feeling that he didn’t accomplish what he should have....keep reading»
“Simply told, sentimental, and profoundly true, this is a contemporary American fable that will be cherished by a vast readership.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This is a story about a man named Eddie and it begins at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun. It might seem strange to start a story with an ending. But all endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
The last hour of Eddie’s life was spent, like most of the others, at Ruby Pier…keep reading»
Reading Group Guide:
Mitch Answers Your Questions
Songs that remind me of the book
Print-ready discussion guide for individuals and groups.
Using The Five People You Meet in Heaven in the classroom?
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- Lloyd Kramer | Director
- Jon Voight | Eddie
- Ellen Burstyn | Ruby
- Jeff Daniels | Blue Man
- Dagmara Dominczyk | Marguerite
- Steven Grayhm | Young Eddie
- Michael Imperioli | Captain
- Callum Keith Rennie | Eddie’s father
- Rebecca Jenkins | Eddie’s mother
- Callahan Brebner | Eddie as a boy
- Nicaela Weigel | Tala
- Shelbie Weigel | Tala
- Darcy Cadman | Young Joe
- Tim O’Halloran | Mickey Shea
- Zak Santiago | Dominguez
- Emy Aneke | Willy
- Elias Toufexis | Morton
- Billy Wickman | Smitty
- Kett Turton | Rabozzo
- Ava Hughes | Amy
- Hiro Kanagawa | Japanese Guard 1
- Taku Kawai | Japanese Guard 2
- Pablo Coffey | Pastor
- Janine Sabino-Albom | Swing Band Singer
“Earns tears with finesse and fearlessness.”
– Washington Post
“A miniature war movie, a revenge drama, a love story and a classic tale.”
– Chicago Tribune
“Beautifully acted and gorgeously produced.”
– USA Today
Hallmark Entertainment produced the three hour TV event of The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which aired on ABC-TV in December 2004 with an all star cast of Academy Award Winner Jon Voight, as Eddie, Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn, as Ruby, Emmy Award Winner Michael Imperioli, as the Captain, and Golden Globe nominee Jeff Daniels, as the Blue Man.
It was the first film of his books for which Mitch wrote the screenplay. Directed by Lloyd Kramer, the film was critically acclaimed and the most watched TV movie of the year, with 18.6 million viewers.
Watch the Trailer