What happens when we die? This is an age-old question that Mitch Albom gives a creative, compelling, and emotional answer to in his novel. This book is a great way to stir the imaginations of students, and to cover a topic that many kids encounter too soon: death and the afterlife.
Literature has many forms, and each form has its own unique structure for telling a story. When studying, teaching, or learning about narration in literature, it is also important to understand its underlying arrangement. How is it created? What are the parts of a story? What aspects differ from one form to another?
The Five People You Meet in Heaven Summary & Plot Diagram - Narrative Structure
Eddie is an elderly maintenance man at Ruby Pier. He is a widower who keeps to himself, and doesn’t really like to be bothered. He will make little animals out of pipe cleaners for children, like little Amy or Annie.
Earlier, a young man named Nicky had ridden on Freddy’s Free-Fall, and had lost his car key into the mechanism of the ride. The key jammed a pulley, which stripped the cable of the ride and caused a malfunction of the ride. As they get the people off of the ride to safety, Eddie sees little Amy or Annie at the base of the ride. She will be crushed, so he runs to save her.
Eddie finds himself in Heaven, and he must learn several important lessons before he can move on to the next step. From the Blue Man, he discovers that all stories are connected. From his Captain, he learns the importance of sacrifice. From Ruby, he learns to forgive his father. From Marguerite, he learns that love never dies.
Eddie meets Tala, and she tells him that he burned her. Eddie is devastated to learn that he had helped set fire to a hut that she was hiding in, and she died as a result. He learns that she hadn’t been a figment of his imagination, and he was responsible for her death.
Tala has Eddie wash her with a rock, which cleanses her from her burns. He is still sad though, because he feels like he wasted his life. She tells him that his purpose on earth had been to keep children safe, and that while he had saved Amy or Annie, Tala had pulled Eddie to Heaven to keep him safe.
Eddie and Marguerite are reunited with each other, and Eddie waits in line for Amy or Annie to arrive in Heaven. He is going to teach her the first lesson: that everyone is connected, and all stories are one.