The next person you meet in heaven: Review

Book: The next person you meet in heaven

Author: Mitch Albom

Publisher: Sphere

Pages: 213

Price: Rs 499

In the year 1996 my mother was operated for brain hemorrhage. After spending almost 11 months in the hospital including 17 days in coma after the brain surgery and later developing several internal complications, she was finally back home. It wasn’t a smooth journey for her as well as for the family. Even today when I think of that particular day when she had a respiratory choke for almost three minutes, turning her entire body into bluish-purple colour, I find it nothing less than a miracle to see her completely active and normal 22 years down the line. Where was she during those three lifeless minutes when the doctors had almost given hope touching her cold body and asking me to be prepared for the worst?

In the year 2007, I lost my younger brother who was very much attached to my mother in a road accident. He was mere 25-years-old when his life was cut short by an individual’s rash and negligent driving. When my mother was critically ill, did he pledge his life in exchange for my mother’s? Will he be waiting for us at the gate of heaven as and when our turn comes to reunite? All such questions and many more used to bother me on and off. Until I read Mitch Albom’s widely read and enacted on stage book Tuesday’s

With Morrie. It was the beginning for a long term relationship between me and Mitch, so much so that whenever I got an opportunity to gift someone a book it had to be Tuesday’s With Morrie. Mitch’s latest ‘the next person you meet in heaven’ is yet another window to all such questions and also a kind of connect to that real you which we always try and hide behind pretention. The flow of incidents, simplicity in the language and putting across those thoughts which we always had in our mind but never expressed has been author’s forte. In this book too, Mitch has taken readers into various segments and shades of life. Somewhere a hope of reconnecting with your loved ones, somewhere a hope of letting us know what they had to say to us during their final moment and yet through this book make us accept that we are far from the reality is Mitch’s skill.

Like his previous ones, this book too makes readers vision bit blur on some occasions, with tears that compel you to insert a bookmark and take a  break to gather yourself again.  Try holding back, and it comes out in a much intense flow. Very few authors have the skills to connect that deeply with readers, Mitch has it mastered.

Annie, Eddie or Paulo are not just characters in the book. But somewhere down the line they are one amongst us. At one point they may be just us, we never know. Just as I did, I’m sure you all will also get few answers to your long pending questions deep within your heart. I’m now better prepared when the time shall come. Mitch, through this book has erased the fear of death within me. Rather, just like the curiosity to know what’s next for review. Here I’m thinking, who shall be the first one to receive me at the gates of heaven (if I’m spared from going to hell).

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