The Next Person You Meet in Heaven

Mitch Albom. Harper, $23.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-287224-1
In this simplistic follow-up to The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Albom tells the story of Annie as she finds herself at the pearly gates and imparts five more lessons on readers from five more people. Albom’s readers will remember Annie as the child Eddie the maintenance worker saved from a grisly death in the first book, but his sacrifice didn’t do much to turn her luck around. Sweet, unassuming Annie takes a hot air balloon ride with her new husband, and both are nearly killed when their balloon runs into power lines. Annie insists on giving her battered husband one of her lungs. The next thing she knows, she’s meeting her first person in heaven. What ensues is a series of travels through episodes in Annie’s depressing life, and the lessons she has learned from them. But did Annie’s sacrifice save her husband? Now that she’s in Heaven, is there any way for her to know if he lived? Between misunderstandings with her mother and heavy-handed heartbreaks, readers will see these seeds of wisdom coming from miles away. Just as Albom’s themes are rarely morally ambiguous, his prose style is also straightforward, though it’s surprisingly unsentimental. Newcomers to Albom might find his goodness cloying, but fans of the first book will have plenty to appreciate here. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/23/2018
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