By: Mitch Albom
This is a very popular book, but I had a little bit of a love/hate relationship with it. I liked it in the beginning, with Dor and his counting, and then not as much when things took a more depressing turn. The reason I like to read mostly science fiction and fantasy is because, to me, those genres generally have more hope than contemporary fiction, which in my limited experience follows a “life sucks and then you die” kind of plot. I thrive on hope and imagination, so I have an innate dislike for anything that is the antithesis of that, even if I’m just making broad generalizations here.
Once I start reading something however, I just won’t feel right about it unless I finish it, even if it means hating it. Dor seemed to be punished for his curiosity and insight, and what mankind chose to make of his invention. Sarah’s relationship with Ethan was painful to read and Victor Delmonte’s struggle for more time was just so sad, but I stuck with it, and it was very much worth the effort. The ending makes everything I just mentioned make sense in a positive way. This book is about lessons, and often, as human beings, we have to live through difficult things in order for those lessons to stick. This story mirrored that perfectly.
The book itself is designed so nicely. In this petite package the chapters are extremely short, with lots of smaller titles, or bold sentences that break things up. Organizing it this way helped to get its themes across. Seeing these things is important to absorbing the story, and starting off with the audio version, as I did, made it more difficult to focus. I tend to drift with audio books anyway, and I really don’t think this story works as well in that format. If you have a choice, read the book. At only 224 pages, it really doesn’t take long at all.
The lesson in this tale is an important one in this day and age. Time rules our lives, and we must be careful to not allow ourselves to be enslaved by it. We must not reach for too much, or ask for too little, and find that happy space in between. Until next time…