The Next Person You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom
E-ARC, 224 pages
Published October 9th, 2018 by Harper
In this enchanting sequel to the number one bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie’s heavenly reunion with Annie—the little girl he saved on earth—in an unforgettable novel of how our lives and losses intersect.
Fifteen years ago, in Mitch Albom’s beloved novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, the world fell in love with Eddie, a grizzled war veteran- turned-amusement park mechanic who died saving the life of a young girl named Annie. Eddie’s journey to heaven taught him that every life matters. Now, in this magical sequel, Mitch Albom reveals Annie’s story.
The accident that killed Eddie left an indelible mark on Annie. It took her left hand, which needed to be surgically reattached. Injured, scarred, and unable to remember why, Annie’s life is forever changed by a guilt-ravaged mother who whisks her away from the world she knew. Bullied by her peers and haunted by something she cannot recall, Annie struggles to find acceptance as she grows. When, as a young woman, she reconnects with Paulo, her childhood love, she believes she has finally found happiness.
As the novel opens, Annie is marrying Paulo. But when her wedding night day ends in an unimaginable accident, Annie finds herself on her own heavenly journey—and an inevitable reunion with Eddie, one of the five people who will show her how her life mattered in ways she could not have fathomed.
Poignant and beautiful, filled with unexpected twists, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven reminds us that not only does every life matter, but that every ending is also a beginning—we only need to open our eyes to see it.
I received this book from publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I unexpectedly fell in love with Five People You Meet in Heaven when I first read it and in turn, that book broke my heart. The story was so exquisite and deep, unlike something I’ve read before and sticks with me until now. That’s why I was thrilled when I was approved, and dived in immediately when I have a weekend off.
In The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, we met again with Annie, the little girl Eddie saved in Five People You Meet in Heaven. Despite not being able to remember what happened that day at the pier, the accident left its mark on Annie. She was isolated and bullied by her peers, and her relationship with her mom deteriorated. At the beginning of this book, Annie’s life finally fell together and she’s marrying her childhood sweetheart. However, you know something bad is going to torn them apart, as this is why this book exists.
“Remember this, Annie. When we build, we build on the shoulders of those who came before us. And when we fall apart, it’s those who came before us who help put us back together.”
Just like in the first book, I love Albom’s concept of heaven. I think the idea that at the end of our live, we finally could understand the meaning and purpose of life, guided by those impacted our life the most, is a really beautiful idea. Especially since it also give the characters closure and happiness as evident in the books. And in this book, we see the idea is not only limited to person, but also pets and things that impacted us the most.
I find the story of Annie is so much sadder compared to Eddie, but maybe because I could relate to her more. I did not fought a war in Vietnam, nor have been in love with someone and losing her like Eddie did. But Annie? Being bullied, rift and fights with her mom, the isolation and loneliness, the fear of future… they all hit too close to home to me. Even though I learn a lot through Eddie’s journey, the close kinship I felt with Annie made this book hits even closer to my heart than the first one. As the result, I cried a lot while reading this book. And not just teary eyed, but like ugly-cried with snot and all. It really feels like seeing some truth about myself forcefully and having my heart ripped open.
“We are blinded by our regrets, Annie. We don’t realize who else we punish while we’re punishing ourselves.”
This book is divided into 2 timelines, both set in the present: the first one is during Annie’s journey, and the second one is what happened in the earth for real. Despite its heavy content, this book was a page turner and I eagerly turned the page to find out the fate of Annie and Paulo, delayed by my numerous tears. The ending was truly unpredictable and punched me, but it also felt like the right ending for this story.
Despite its short length, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven is a beautiful books on how our lives intertwined and affects each other. Yes, it is written in short chapters, but they are all count and packed an emotional punch for me. This book worth the 8 years wait and will delight everyone who enjoyed the first book. If you love The Book Thief, I highly recommended this series for you.