Penulis/Author: Mitch Albom (2003)
Cetakan/Edition: First paperback, 2003
There is a substance why this novel became an international bestseller. It’s talking about the concept of heaven from a very different perspective. It’s unusual yet making sense and easy to accept. I admit sometimes it’s rather difficult for me to go along with extreme differences, especially when it comes to spirituality. But reading this book not only I learn more that it is necessary to be humble, it also confirms my belief that everyone is around for a good reason. Based on his uncle’s thanksgiving speech, Albom created his concept of heaven and shares that with us through this novel.
Eddie Maintenance, so he was called, worked for Ruby Pier for a very long time. He had intentions to move and work somewhere else, but after one thing or another the last time he knew, he was still working on the amusement park just like his father. Today is Eddie’s 83rd birthday. He does his ride-checks and all, then goes to have some rest at his usual spot. When he almost falls asleep, suddenly things got noisy and hectic. One of the rides has an accident and its cart is tilted at an angle making the people on the ride frantic for anything to hold. Eddie runs there and gives direction to the other staffs. Somehow his last direction isn’t loud enough or maybe it’s not given soon enough. The last thing Eddie remembers, he is holding a pair of small hands in order to save a little girl below the ride. Eddie dies on his 83rd birthday.
When we thought that’s the end of it, the real story emerges, his real ‘journey’ commences. The story shifts back and front between Eddie’s many birthdays and the time after his death. Eddie arrives in heaven. He feels better, he doesn’t feel the usual pain he carries on his back, but this isn’t his heaven. This is the heaven of people that connected to him, to his life on earth.
“There are five people you meet in heaven”, the Blue Man suddenly said. “Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at that time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth.” (page 35)
The first person Eddie meets is the Blue Man, a worker at the Ruby Pier who died on a car accident. Eddie didn’t know this person before, but apparently he was indirectly involved on the man’s last moment. The second person is Eddie’s Captain from the army. Eddie learns from his Captain, it was him who shot Eddie’s leg, which wound had left him walking in limb after the war. Eddie is so angry to know this but then the Captain told him something else that Eddie didn’t know. Something about sacrifice. The third one is a stranger. She is Ruby, the reason for the existence of Eddie’s and his father’s work place. She’s there to help Eddie to release his long list of angers and disrespect for his father. Ruby shows Eddie what he doesn’t know about the old man. The fourth one he sees is Marguerite, his wife. “Life has to end, love doesn’t“, that what Marguerite says.
Eddie’s ultimate meeting is a girl, another stranger. Her name is Tala. She shows Eddie how their lives on earth connected. Eddie is responsible for her death, but he makes good for her through his work at Ruby Pier. Tala helps Eddie to let go the angers, the guilts and the sad feeling. He washed her burned body to cleanse her and to cleanse his soul.
This is just novel, but its story will affect you so much that you will start to think about the purpose of your own life, of where you are right now, about your work and the people around you. Life is about thinking of others, about sacrifice, about forgiveness, about loving and about making good things while we still have the chance. Whatever you do, they will affect you and many others. Appreciate your life, my friends, with all the good things you can do.
PS: This novel reminds me of this book.