If you are looking for a book which is ‘intellectual’ or is a so called ‘classic’ then put this book back on the shelf. But if you are looking for an honest, genuine book told straight from the heart, then yes, pick it up and you’ll find yourself never wanting to put it down. ‘An old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lessons’. The book absolutely does justice to its title and is followed by the real-life story of Mitch Albom, who rediscovers Morrie Schwartz, his college professor in the last months of the older man’s life( Morrie has a terminal illness). Albom visits Morrie every Tuesday and their rekindled relationship turns into a final class: Lessons in how to live.)
Mitch Albom surely knows how to touch hearts by his simple yet powerful and unpretentious stories. But this one is indisputably the best of the lot. As I turned page after page, I found myself constantly looking for a pencil only to mark so many different paragraphs and pages that inspired me, moved me or had me think about things in my own life. The simplicity, the tenderness and the emotions it evokes makes the reader sort of attached to this book, to the story, to the characters. In addition to the great story, the layout of the book is pretty interesting. Albom intermingles old memories from his college days in Morrie’s classes among the short chapters dealing with specific life lessons like aging, love, and death etc. Through his use of imagery and reflection, he manages to convey an impacting story in an equally gripping fashion. There are themes after themes in this great fiction, narrated beautifully, surprisingly in a very few pages.
I think every person should read this book at some or the other in his/her life. You’ll find at least one lesson that will greatly inspire you only if you decide to quit your Oh-this-is-hardly-a-classic facade. I found many, but the lesson which truly moved me was, in Morrie’s own words– “If you hold back on the emotions – if you don’t allow yourself to go through them – you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive right in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.”
The book is literally full of such amazingly simple statements. Personally, I found my lesson and I am sure even you’ll find one, if you decide to pick this book up, read it with an open mind and revel in it. And yourself. As Morrie proudly says- “Accept who you are; and revel in it.”