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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

I just made a new friend. Well, okay, I’ve never really met him, nor will I be able to anytime soon. I value his friendship just the same. Morrie is the kind of best friend everyone should have. Yep. I finally got around to spending my Tuesdays with Morrie.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom was a national best-seller several years ago, but like most things popular in the national market, I eyed it with suspicion and stuck to my already lengthy list of books to read. I’m sure if I would have paid closer attention to what the “critics” were saying about Tuesdays with Morrie, I might have actually read it then; but, I’ve tried a few of those so called inspiring titles and found many of their messages significantly lacking in inspiration or even good writing in some cases.

What changed? Well, let’s call it audio book deprivation. See, my addiction to books is both rampant and well defined. I simply must have books available to me no matter where I am or what I’m doing. This means driving, exercising, doing (ugggh) house work, relaxing, you name it. Some of these times are very dangerous to bring an actual book into; in fact it may actually be illegal in some states. So, I use audio books. Now, some people don’t like audio books and I will admit that there have been a few that I simply haven’t been able to stand the voice of the narrator or their interpretation of the story. However, on the whole I can add a few more books a week by being able to listen when my hands and eyes are otherwise occupied.

I discovered audio books when my first two children became old enough to argue over who got to choose the radio station in the car. Viola! No more arguments. Well, maybe a few times when they didn’t want to get back out of the car before the chapter was over but that’s another issue. I found listening kept my mind occupied enough to keep it off of other unpleasantries as well. It’s been good for me and I love it.

Now back to my Morrie story.

I was suffering audio book withdrawal, and needed to make a trip to the library. Enter the problem. The library I had to visit that particular day makes no distinction in what reading group an audio book is most appropriate for. You have to go through title by title to find things or know exactly what you want to pick it out immediately. I had a whole afternoon, so I browsed. Enter Morrie. I shrugged and put him in my library bag figuring it couldn’t hurt. I had no idea how uplifting it could be.

No, the messages aren’t that unique, but their presentation is very effective. This is an account of actual events passing between a dying man and his one-time student. It’s very interesting to hear the perspectives of life given by a man who knows his days are limited. It is not death he fears, but rather passing on without helping others understand that if you’ve lived a good life there’s really nothing to fear.

What matters in life? Like many of us suspect, it has very little to do with what the world tells us matters. In Morrie’s opinion it all boils down to love. I’ll let him explain it more, but Morrie and Mitch discuss every aspect of life: health, love, children, dying, work, money, you name it. His insights are the gentle whisperings are familiar, but they feel like they’re coming from a beloved friend or wise grandparent sitting across from us, patting our hand and saying, “It’s all right. You can stretch beyond the world’s opinions and be who you really want to be.”

I would highly recommend spending a few days with Morrie yourself. Yes, you’ll have to censor his language on approximately three occasions, but it is very forgivable. In fact, I recommend getting your hands on the audio if you can. Even if you’re not an audio book person, there is an extra treat at the end. After listening to Morrie’s story read by Mitch Albom, you get to hear portions of the actual recorded conversations between the two men. Hearing those sweet words of wisdom from Morrie’s own lips was my favorite part of the book. In this case, the hype was well deserved in my humble opinion. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is definitely worth the read, or if you can, the listen.

Return to the Neighborhood


Barb said...

I loved this book too! I really enjoy books that inspire me to put my life in perspective and remember to give attention to the things that matter the most!

Alison Palmer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Barb. I agree, books that make me think and feel without preaching at me about how I should be are definitely the best.