What’s it about?
Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”
This book was recommended to me by several members of my book Meetup so I decided to give it a go. As this was quite a short book, I’ll make my thoughts quite succinct too!
In essence, this book is one persons’s interpretation of an afterlife, one, which, I’m not quite sure I’d want to be honest. I thought that being hauled over the coals in your afterlife for how you lived your life is not something I find appealing – surely that’s Hell, not Heaven…. Having your relationships with people analysed and witnessing the impact we have on others, even those we don’t know, from a distance and then not being able to change or atone. I didn’t really engage with Eddie’s character either so wasn’t awfully bothered what he going to be subjected to (I know…harsh!).
It’s bittersweet, sad and sentimental, but it just wasn’t for me, however appealing the presentation of the book was; being slightly smaller than A5 with a textured cover and small illustrations to the start of the chapters.
There was only one real moment when I thought ahhh that’s a shame, and that was to do with the car accident, if you’ve read it, you’ll know which bit. I’m afraid I don’t do so well with over-sentimental drama. If I could sum this book up in one word it would be schmaltzy – enough said!
Small print for info
No of pages: 224