Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom
I'll be the first to tell you that Tuesdays With Morrie can be a little cheesy. It's not a hard read and it's maybe not the best written book of all time. Despite this, there is a something about Tuesdays With Morrie - a way of looking at the world with a simplicity that brings clarity - that is impossible to ignore.
This year for me has involved a lot of soul searching and a lot of questioning the nature of life, death and the mysteries of the universe with all of its tragedies and its wonders. Being in such a pensive state of mind meant that reading Tuesdays With Morrie was incredibly appropriate and comforting.
This book could have easily been incredibly morbid and depressing. It takes you through the decline of an old man who has ALS and is very quickly moving towards the end of his life. It follows the spiritual journey of Mitch, his past student, as he comes to terms with Morrie's decline but also with his own path in life. Nevertheless, Albom manages to interject humour, wisdom and grace into the end of someone's life. It put a lot of things about life (priorities, career paths, values, and more) into perspective and in this sense I felt like I learned a lot.
The best part about this book? It brings you back to all of the best teachers and professors you've had in life - whether they were academic or not. Reading this book really made me think about the incredible impact that some of these people have had in my life - and the widespread impact they have had on others. A good teacher isn't uncommon but a truly great one is a rarity that you remember your whole life. This book is for all those teachers who gave you lessons to take with you your whole life.
What I Liked About It:
- Morrie. Morrie is such a genuinely positive character. His sense of humour, his love for everyone around him, his ability to accept everything that has come his way.
- Mitch. Mitch is someone who I related a lot to. Or rather the 'everyday' person whose struggles are so easy to relate to and so real.
- Writing. There are a lot of fantastic one-liners in this book that you could probably tack on to an 'inspiring quotes' board but I also just loved the way that everything sounded like a conversation.
- Structure. The book is set up as a series of 'lectures' - Morrie's last lecture series - with flashbacks to the past. I found that this worked really well and helped bring order to a chaotic time.
- The Relationship. Albom could have easily cluttered this book with heartbroken family members and other students. Instead, he chose to focus his energy on the relationship between two people - Mitch and Morrie, a student and his professor. The focus on this relationship throughout the entire story made the book so unique, it felt incredibly personal.
What I Didn't Like:
- A little overly cheesy on some occasions but to be honest it just made me smile.
- “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
- "Death ends a life, not a relationship."
- “If you hold back on the emotions - if you don't allow yourself to go all the way 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. You're afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your heard even, you experience them fully and completely.”