‘All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time…’
On his eighty-third birthday, Eddie, a lonely war veteran, dies in a tragic accident trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his – and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden but a place where earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever. (Goodreads).
I enjoyed this book as the plot was extremely interesting to me. Afterlife is something that *almost* everyone is at least slightly intrigued about. The unknown is interesting and scary, and so I was intrigued by the idea of reliving your life through five people present in it. Through this concept we see moments and insights into Eddie’s history and the impact that his actions have had on other people throughout his life (some of which he does not know of until death). The figures he meets vary in the length of time present in his life or the impact they had on him, which I again found interesting. Every meeting seemingly has a moral to their part of the story, which I also enjoyed. It reaffirmed the idea that there is something to be learned from all experiences. It really made me consider my actions through life and who I would want to see or what stories those people could tell of my life.
I read this book the week after losing my grandfather, and in an odd way it comforted me. I can’t explain how, but I felt like I needed this read at this time.
“Holding anger is a poison…It eats you from inside…We think that by hating someone we hurt them…But hatred is a curved blade…and the harm we do to others…we also do to ourselves.”
The plot was both heartwarming in points, sad in others, and at times quite dark. I enjoyed the writing, and found myself writing down several quotes because they impacted me. I found the writing poetic and poignant at points, while not constant throughout.
“Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them – a mother’s approval, a father’s nod – are covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.”
I do not have a lot to say about this book, but I feel that it is definitely worth a read if you are interested in different perspectives or views regarding afterlife or what lies beyond death and what our lives mean to those around us and the consequences of our actions. I definitely feel that my perception of this book was altered by the circumstances under which I read it, however I would still recommend it to anyone!