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Author Finds Answers About Life, Death In Book Inspired By Uncle

Posted October 9, 2003

— Many people are familiar with the name Mitch Albom. He is a sports columnist and the author of best-selling book, "Tuesday's With Morrie."

Albom has written another book -- a novel titled "The Five People You Meet in Heaven." The slender novel may be short, but its message direct.

"Just tell me if the last act of my life was a success or failure," Albom said.

Eddie is the character searching for that answer. After death, he has to know if his life mattered. The character is based on Albom's uncle.

"He was a grizzled World War II veteran, a barrel-chested kind of guy, the kind of guy who would hit you in the arm when he said hello. 'How you doin' buddy boy?' Everything was buddy boy," Albom said.

As a boy, Albom heard his uncle talk of dying. He never forgot a story, which led him to develop his own concept of heaven.

"If it's really a redemptive place. You'll get your questions answered," he said.

Writing is a natural for Albom, but this novel took six years to write. In the end, he wants everyone to get the message that everyone's life matters and it is a lesson we can learn now.

"It also shows that some of the questions of our lives can take some time to get answered and we can still be learning things until we get that final result," he said.

Albom said writing this novel was therapeutic. That is one of the reasons it includes a photo of his uncle.

"On the odd chance that books find their way to heaven, I wanted him to see his picture was in it and everybody down here on Earth got to see who he was to me. That was, I guess, the sort of journey that I was on when I wrote this."

Albom said if his uncle is one of the five people to greet him in heaven, "I hope he has a good review of the book."


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