The Five People You Meet in Heaven Study Guide


There are no random acts in life

Eddie learns from the Blue Man that there are no random acts in life and that all lives intertwine in some way. The Blue Man's death exemplifies this theme: If Eddie's ball had never gone into the street, he would not have chased after it, running in front of the Blue Man's car. Thus, the Blue Man would have never become so anxious about almost hitting Eddie and gotten into an accident and killed.

Lives are sacrificed to save others

During WWII Eddie's Captain sacrificed his life for the sake of the three other soldiers. As they were escaping in a vehicle, they came across a suspicious area. The Captain got out of the vehicle to inspect the land and ended up getting killed by stepping on a land mine. Had the Captain not been willing to get out and survey the land himself, all four would have driven over the landmine and been killed.

Forgiveness and Letting go of Anger

Eddie hated his father for ruining his life. Even after his father's death, Eddie could never seem to let go of the anger he held towards his father; in fact, Eddie was so angry with his father after his death, that it seemed to still ruin Eddie's happiness. While in heaven, Ruby teaches Eddie to let go of his anger and to forgive his father.

The Power of Love

Although Eddie was miserable throughout most of his life, his love for Marguerite was the one thing that made him happier. After she died, Eddie felt extremely empty without her. When he meets Marguerite in heaven she explains to him that, even after her death, she had always loved Eddie. Eddie learns that although life ends love endures.


The mood is somber, yet thoughtful throughout the novel; each person makes Eddie reflect on his life, and also how his life has been intertwined with the others. However, the reflections of Eddie's life prove to be quite somber; he had a terrible relationship with his father, stayed in a career in which he was not happy, became injured in the war, and was overall depressed. We feel quite sad for Eddie throughout the novel; but as Eddie's five lessons unfold, Eddie, and we the readers, see the reasoning for all these events in his life.

Mitch Albom - Biography

Mitchell David Albom was born on May 23, 1958 in Passaic, New Jersey. Albom is not only a best-selling author, he is also a newspaper columnist for the Detroit Free Press, radio host for ABC and WJR-AM in Detroit.

Albom grew up in Philadelphia, PA and attended Brandeis University, where he graduated with a degree in sociology. He then attended Columbia University for his Master's Degree in journalism and business administration.

Mitch Albom has written seven other books, including the bestseller, Tuesdays With Morrie (1997). His other works include Live Albom I (1987), Live Albom II (1990), Live Albom III (1992), Live Albom IV (1995), "BO" (1989), which is the autobiography of former University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, and Fab Five (1992), which is a story about the University of Michigan's men's basketball recruits who became starters as freshman, during the 1990's. The Five People You Meet in Heaven was published in 2003.

Aside from writing novels, Albom has also been deemed the #1 Sports Columnist in the Nation by the sports editors of America. He has received over 100 writing awards from National Sportswriters and Broadcasters Associations, Headliners Club as well as many others. His work has also appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, GQ Magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and TV Guide.

Mitch lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.

Literary / Historical Information

World War II played a significant role in Eddie’s life; it is where he was shot in the leg, which caused his life long injury, and also where he killed Tala. WW II was a complex war fought from 1939-1945 in Europe and from around 1937-1945 in Asia/Pacific. It was one of the largest conflicts because it involved a majority of the world and it is also where the first two atomic bombs were used.

WW II involved many civilian deaths and genocide by Germany, the Soviet Union and Japan.

The background and history of WW II is extremely involved and complicated; however, since Eddie fought in the Philippians, a brief history of the war in the Pacific and Asia is as follows:

In the early 1930’s Japan invaded China; the United States, Britain and the Netherlands stopped trading oil and steel with Japan, in hopes to discourage Japan’s war efforts in China. Japan needed oil for its war efforts, so on December 7, 1941, they attacked America’s Fleet at Pearl Harbor. This marked America’s entry into WWII. Japan then invaded countries across Southeast Asia and the Pacific (Indonesia is very rich in oil).

At the same time, on the European front, Germany declared war on the United States, bringing America into the war in Europe also.

America finally halted the Japanese expansion throughout the Pacific during the famous Battle of Midway. After Midway, America and Japan began a fighting campaign throughout several islands across the Pacific; in the novel Eddie fought one on of these islands (name not specified). Eventually the Japanese lost most of their fleet and the U.S. gained more control over the Pacific.

Also during this time, in Japan, America dropped two atomic bombs in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japan finally surrendered on September 2, 1945.

WWII was a very gruesome and traumatizing war for civilians and also the soldiers who fought, such as Eddie. Eddie’s life was physically and mentally changed after WWII. He had a permanent gunshot injury, which affected his physical activity for the remainder of his life; he also suffered severe trauma after serving time in a prison camp. He would often wake up in the middle of the night with terrifying nightmares. Unfortunately, this was fairly common for soldiers who survived the war; though they had returned home, they had never mentally left their experience of the war behind.

Cite this page:

Radisch, Sharon. "TheBestNotes on The Five People You Meet in Heaven". . 09 May 2017