About Books #46: Tuesdays With Morrie

When I first read a book by Mitch Albom, I didn’t quite expect to fall in love with his writing as much as I did. Or to end up slowly buying all of his work. Well – very slowly, I should say. But so far, I’ve bought, read and loved three of his works. And obviously: Tuesdays With Morrie belongs right in that list!

The book

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, and 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. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neurone disease – Mitch visited Morrie 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.

The opinion

As is the case with, apparently, all of Mitch Albom’s writing, real life is very much so present in this book. His style is rather on the secdry, business-like. Don’t expect a lot of frills, the most poetic of language or the most fantastic scenes.  The focus in Albom’s writing, I feel, is always on the message, and that works for him. I’ve recently published a couple of posts on some of the books that changed my perspective, and in many ways: Tuesdays With Morrie was absolutely one of them.

Now, first off: I’ve never actually had the kind of relationship with any of my professors that Mitch Albom discusses here. If you did, though? If you had that one teacher, or professor that really inspired you? That could definitely add an extra layer to this book.

Second: if you’re going to read this book, know that you’re in for a lot of clichés. They’re packaged exquisitely in the frame narration of Morrie’s illness, but they’re a bunch of clichés none the less. It’s exactly that packaging, though, that framework of Morrie’s experience that gives them some additional value.

You know how sometimes you hear someone say something and – even though you’ve probably heard it a million times before – because of the context, or because of the person speaking, it rings that bit more true? It’s as if you’re only really hearing the words for the first time, understanding them more than you did before? That’s basically what this book offers you.

The rating: 3.75/5

This is not a book that everyone will like. The ratings on Goodreads certainly prove that – they’re about as much “one star” as they are “5 stars”. I can actually see both sides, because it’s true: this can read a bit like a “leveled up-Hallmark’s card”. On the other hand, for me at least, that didn’t take away from appreciating the book for what it (I think) intended to do. To truly enjoy this book, I think, requires a bit of a “suspension of cynism”. If you’ve got that bit down and want to read a novel that’s uplifiting, a little bit sad, and likely to leave you staring off into space? Give Tuesdays With Morrie a shot!