The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
The beginning of The Five People You Meet in Heaven is a little bit sad. Eddie is an 83 year old man working at Ruby Pier. Ruby Pier is a. But hatred is a curved blade and the harm we do to others we also do to ourselves.” ― Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. tags: ruby- anger. The lead character in The Five People You Meet In Heaven is a grizzled war veteran The last hour of Eddie's life was spent, like most of the others, at Ruby .
Eddie then finds himself awake and uninjured and realizes that he feels young and much more energetic. He also felt calm when he landed. He meets a man known simply as "the Blue Man" who suffered from argyria caused by silver nitrate poisoning and worked at Ruby Pier's sideshow while it was still open, during the days of Eddie's childhood and whose real name is Joseph Corvelzchik. Through their conversation, Eddie finds out that he is dead, has gone to Heaven and has embarked on a journey through five levels of Heaven, at each step meeting another person who has had a significant impact upon his life, or upon whom he has had a significant impact.
He also finds the reason for his sudden energy, youth, and stamina - in the five stages of Heaven, you will feel exactly the same way you did young, old, healthy, sick, strong, weak as you did when you knew the person you are meeting.
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Eddie asks why Joseph, whom he does not know, is his first person, and Joseph informs Eddie that he died when Eddie and his brother threw a baseball which landed in the middle of the road, this caused The Blue Man to have a heart attack and pull over the car and collapse.
From this, Eddie learns his first lesson which is that there are no random events in life and all individuals and experiences are connected in some way. The second person that Eddie meets is his former captain from the army, whom Eddie finds sitting in a tree in a Philippine rainforest. The Captain reminds Eddie of their time together as prisoners of war in a forced labor camp. Their group escaped after a lengthy period of time and burned the camp during their escape as an act of relieving some of the stress placed upon them during their long stretch in captivity.
Eddie remembers that he had seen a shadow running from one of the huts that he set aflame, although he never identified the figure.
The Captain confesses that he was the one who shot Eddie in the leg to prevent Eddie from chasing the shadow into the fire, which would have certainly caused Eddie's death because he promised that "no one gets left behind". This saved Eddie's life despite leaving him with a lifelong injury and severe limp that Eddie repeatedly blames as the main reasons for his never achieving a life outside of Ruby Pier, a place he had grown to loathe in his old age due to his mother's failing faculties making his father's taken-over job and a life at the pier impossible to escape.
Eddie then learns how the Captain died — something he had never put much thought into before, as the men in his platoon had lost touch with each other after the war, and Eddie was in no condition at the time to fully realize what had happened after his injury. As the Captain and his men were making their escape from the prison camp, the men tended Eddie's leg in the back of the truck as the Captain cleared the path ahead. While he was scouting the road in front of the truck, the Captain stepped on a land mine that would have killed all the men had he not set it off.
Instead, the battlefield became the Captain's final resting place and Eddie learns his second lesson — the importance of sacrifice, both big and small. After this revelation, the Captain shows Eddie the true nature of his Heaven, which is not in fact the battlefield that Eddie remembers. The war-torn environment around them makes way to the most serene, beautiful nature landscape that Eddie has ever seen.
Eddie looks at the Captain to see a man he hardly recognized without the layer of ash and dirt on his face - a young man in a pristine, clean army uniform who explains that for his Heaven he wished to see what the world was like before war, fighting, conflicts, and cruelty.
Eddie watches the Captain walk away after he tosses Eddie his old combat helmet. Inside the helmet, Eddie finds a foreshadowing of things to come: The scene changes and Eddie finds himself outside in a snowdrift, but he notices that the snow is neither cold nor wet. He notices a diner where he sees his father through a window and begins yelling and pleading for his attention. When his father appears to not be able to see or hear him, a well-dressed woman named Ruby appears and introduces herself to him.
He assumes she must have been rich based on the manner of her clothing. She tells him that she has not always been this way and proceeds to explain to Eddie her story. Ruby tells Eddie that she had once worked as a waitress at the diner and explains that Ruby Pier was named after her by her husband Emile, who built it in tribute to her. Emile was wounded while fighting a fire that burned much of Ruby Pier and later died from pneumonia.
Ruby confesses that she picked the diner because that was where she had met Emile and wanted the diner to be a refuge for anyone who had ever been hurt in any way by Ruby Pier, which she grew to despise as it took so much away from them. This is the reason that Eddie's father, a harsh and abusive man, became a part of Ruby's Heaven.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Ruby teaches Eddie to release his anger and forgive his father for all the trouble and hurt he had caused, only after she showed him the true cause of his father's death different from what he had always believed had happened. Mickey Shea, a man who worked on rides at Ruby Pier with Eddie's father, was at Eddie's house drunk and in a terrible emotional state. He pulls out a flask, downs it, and then proceeds to try and force himself onto Eddie's mother.
Eddie's father walks in at this point and manages to stop the drink fueled rape, then chases Mickey all the way to the pier, where Mickey jumps into the freezing water as an attempt to evade him, even though unable to swim. Eddie's father jumps in after Mickey and saves him instead as they had long been friends and he felt he owed him despite his recent drunken behavior towards his wife.
Eddie's father later dies after falling ill due to being in the freezing water when he rescued Mickey. Ruby tells Eddie that he needs to forgive his father and tells him that hatred was a deadly weapon, "We think it attacks the person we hate, but hatred has a curved blade, it also attacks us".
Then Eddie moves on to another heaven. Eddie now awakens in a room with several doors. Behind each of the doors, there is a wedding from a different culture and Eddie meets his late wife, Marguerite, in one of the weddings.
They spend an extended period together, moving from one wedding to the next and catching up on all the things they had not been able to share since Marguerite's death. They remember their own wedding, and in the end, Marguerite teaches Eddie that love is never lost in death, it just moves on and takes a different form. He begs her forgiveness for never making more of his life, never leaving his job at the pier, and for not giving her a better life she so richly deserved.
He explained that, although he shot Eddie, he kept his promise by not leaving him behind and even sacrificed his life so Eddie and two other soldiers were able to live.
He also teaches Eddie that when one loses something, they often gain something else. Ruby The third person Eddie meets in heaven and also Ruby Pier's namesake. She teaches Eddie to let go of his anger and to forgive his father for the damage he caused in his life. Marguerite was the only happiness in Eddie's life. She is the fourth person he meets in heaven and she teaches him the lesson that love is not lost with death.
Tala The fifth person Eddie meets in heaven. Tala was the little girl who Eddie saw crawling into the burning fort during the war. One day, The Blue Man borrowed a car to practice his driving. Eddie was a young boy and was playing baseball in the yard.
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Eddie missed a ball and went to chase after it in the street. The Blue Man nearly hits Eddie, but swerves and keeps driving. The Blue Man is bothered by the event and stressed out. He has a heart attack and crashes in a nearby alley while Eddie is safe.
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The Blue Man goes on to tell Eddie the lesson to be learned from this event. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind. We may not realize it, but someone will be affected. You never quite know what the impact of a simple good deed will do for someone else!
While in Vietnam, Eddie and his fellow soldiers were captured. For months, they were held in captivity and forced to work in a coal mine. Finally one night, Eddie was able to distract the guards with his juggling skills and the rest of the men took out the guards.
After the escape, the soldiers burned down the village with gas and fire. As the village was burning, Eddie thought he saw a shadow in one of the burning huts. To get him out of there, the captain shot Eddie in the leg and they got out of their safely. The captain then shares his story. Once Eddie was discharged due to his leg injury, he returned home. The captain kept going with the team and one day, he was driving down a path and came to a gate.