Book Review: The Next Person You Meet In Heaven

The much anticipated sequel to Mitch Albom’s bestseller, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” has been released as “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven.” (Harper, 213 pages)

In his first work, Albom tells the story of Eddie, a disillusioned war veteran who worked as an amusement ride mechanic and died while saving young Annie

in a tragic accident at the Ruby Pier amusement park.

His current work centers on Annie, who bears the physical and emotional trauma of that fateful day she spent at Ruby Pier when a cart broke free from Freddy’s Free Fall ride.

The cart killed Eddie whose heroic action was able to save Annie’s life, though she was seriously injured. Burdened by disfiguring scars and guilt for believing she was responsible for Eddie’s death, Annie’s life on earth was filled with loneliness and sadness until the days she was reunited with her beloved childhood friend Paolo.

The two married but the star-crossed lovers could not escape doom as a honeymoon ride on a hot air balloon ends in tragedy.

In the imagination of Albom, the soul’s journey to heaven is not a calm passage towards a warm all encompassing light at the end of a dark tunnel. It is a journey of enlightenment, though it begins with a series of painful purgations, as the soul must learn its worth.

The spiritual guides are “persons” who may seem to be insignificant — and need not even be human — as in Cleo, the little mutt who comforted young Annie on earth and serves as one of the “persons” she meets in heaven.

Albom’s work is a lovely moral story which reminds us that the trials on this earth can be a preparation for the infinite joy and love that awaits us in the next world.