Friday, January 18, 2008

Tuesdays With Morrie: Review

From Random House:

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.

I just finished reading this as part of the In Their Shoes Reading Challenge and the 2008 TBR Challenge. I must say it did not disappoint. It is the second book I've recently about someone struck by ALS. As the story begins, we read of Mitch, a college student, who has a unique relationship with one of his professors. This professor, Morrie, has a special interest in teaching his students all things concerning life. They form a special bond and throughout Mitch's college days, the two spend much time together. After graduation, Mitch looses touch with Morrie and throws himself into his work. Sixteen years later, he learns that Morrie is dying and feels deep regret from not keeping in touch with his mentor. After Mitch makes contact with his old "coach", the two resume their relationship where they left off so many years before. Morrie has a story to tell and wants Mitch to tell it. Thus begins their regular Tuesday sessions, which will continue until Morrie's death.

*I really enjoyed this book. ALS is a disease that slowly takes away ones ability to perform the simplest tasks and ultimately attacks the lungs so that breathing becomes impossible. The way Morrie chose to live with the disease was by living each day to the fullest. He surrounded himself with friends, family, students, and colleagues. He taught life lessons on how to deal with the disease. He kept such a positive attitude throughout his illness. He remained so gentle, so loving. He taught these lessons until his last breath.

Morrie's story made me think of my own grandmother. She doesn't have this disease, or any other, but I see her time slowly slipping away. The most simple tasks are impossible for her to perform. She has total dependence on others for almost all of her needs. As I read Morrie's story, I thought of her. I thought of how I could be her Mitch. I can sit with her and I can tell her stories. One of the best things we can do for our aging or dying loved ones is to be there, surrounding them with our love and care.

Morrie's spiritual state was not mentioned very much in the book. Only once did he reference "talking with God" about his situation. The bottom line, thumbs up to Mitch Albom for penning Morrie's story. I think it will be an encouragement to many who are afflicted with such illnesses in showing them to "love each other or perish."

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Joyful Days said...

I saw the made-for-television movie and loved the story. It's been one of those books I want to read "sometime." I'll have to add it to the list for sure!

gail@more than a song said...

I read this one a couple of years ago and enjoyed it for the most part. Did not however see the movie. Good review!