Fifteen years ago, Mitch Albom captivated the world with the tale of Eddie, a maintenance man working at Ruby Pier amusement park who believed he had done nothing extraordinary with his life. One day, he dies saving the life of Annie, a young girl, during a ride malfunction. After he dies, he meets five people in heaven that had a major impact on him during his life – and those he impacted, as well. Now, Albom has revealed what happened to Annie from that day forward.
Twenty years after Eddie saved her life at Ruby Pier, Annie is a 28-year-old nurse getting married to her childhood sweetheart, Paolo. After living a difficult life filled with many hardships and struggles, Annie believes she has finally found happiness. But tragedy strikes the day after their wedding day, and Annie finds herself embarking on her own heavenly journey – and meeting her own five people.
Albom said that out of all his books, readers asked him the most about “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” wanting to know “What’s next?” He also mentions that personal losses over the last few years, including his mother and father, prompted him to think deeply about life, loss and heaven. These two factors inspired him to further explore the life of Annie.
Annie is somebody who is extremely hard on herself. She blames herself for everything wrong in her life, calling herself “somebody who makes mistakes.” Flashbacks in the book named “Annie Makes A Mistake” start as early as 2 years old, and continue throughout different stages of her life.
Albom said he knows many people like Annie, and had them in mind while creating her character. Albom reminds the Annies of the world that it is not only important to be kind to others, but to themselves, as well.
“In ‘Tuesdays With Morrie,’ one of the most popular chapters is the one where I speak to Morrie about forgiveness,” Albom said. “Morrie says, ‘Forgive everybody everything.’ But what always stood out to me personally was his next line, where he tells me ‘And then, forgive yourself.’”
Albom’s new novel also explores the hardships we face on earth, and how they impact us.
“You can’t love without losing, and you can’t lose without loving,” Albom said. “The experiences we go through in life make us better and more whole, even the losses. A broken heart is a full heart. It’s a heart that has lived.”
“The Next Person You Meet in Heaven” is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and touching tale that reminds the reader to make their time on earth count.