“Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
– Mitch Albom
The first book I have read in 2018 brought a very tearful yet inspiring start to the new year. The book took me on a journey about feeling, regrets, the fear of aging, death and forgiveness. Mitch Albom takes us on his final lesson taught by his old college professor, Morrie Schwartz.
Based on a true story, Tuesdays with Morrie takes place sixteen years after the narrator’s graduation. He first recalls the day of the ceremony, where he last sees his favorite sociology professor, Morrie. Albom gives Morrie a monogrammed briefcase as a goodbye gift, and his professor hugs him and tells him to keep in touch. The narrator promises to keep in touch but ends up not fulfilling his promise. Years after Mitch’s graduation, Professor Morrie is diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Slowly, he starts becoming weaker and weaker, so he ends his teaching career.
On the other end, the narrator is struggling with his own life because of the choices he has made. After his uncle passed away because of pancreatic cancer, he ends his failing career as a musician and becomes a fairly popular journalist for a newspaper in Detroit. Albom spends his time focusing solely on his work in order to ignore most of his thoughts. One night, he is flipping through a bunch of channels on TV until he comes across a show called Nightline, which featured the first of three interviews with Morrie Schwartz, his old professor. Mitch visits him once, at first delaying his visit and not really knowing what to say. Shortly after the visit, the narrator works himself to exhaustion while reporting for the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London. He keeps thinking about Morrie and decides to stop writing about the tournament and sports in general. He realizes that he’s been chasing the wrong dream and that what he writes doesn’t even matter, because the company he works for is on strike. He then chooses to focus on something else, deciding to focus on his meaning of life and Morrie.
After the first Tuesday visit, the narrator comes back every Tuesday, with a topic that he and his favorite professor talk about. They talk about the meaning of family, regrets they both have, being afraid of dying or wishing to be young and other things that the narrator often thinks about.
“Truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”
– Professor Morrie to Mitch Albom
The author demonstrates how people are always focused on things that don’t really matter. As a society, we seek things we think we need but they’re actually just things we want. We avoid talking about death and pretend it won’t happen, we aren’t forgiving and we do things that don’t actually make us happy.
The lessons taught in this book aren’t just something the author randomly came up with for the sake of writing a novel. Each lesson comes from a personal experience, a sudden awareness that time is running out and there is so much the world has to offer.
Tuesdays with Morrie was definitely a good start to reading in 2018, I give it 5/5 stars, and I can only hope you all grab this book at some point, because you won’t want to miss it.