Wednesday, August 17, 2011

“Tuesdays with Morrie” is one of my favorite books.

If you’re feeling frustrated with your life read this book. Even if you’re happy most of the time, still read this book.

It’s written by Mitch Albom, a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. The story is about an older man, Morrie Schwartz, who has come down with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). Morrie used to be Mitch’s professor in college. Even though Morrie meant a lot to Mitch while in college, he became so caught up in his career that he didn’t visit him again, until sixteen years later when he found out he was sick.

After seeing Morrie on television talking about ALS, Mitch calls him and this leads to a visit. Then a newspaper strike frees Albom to commute weekly, on Tuesdays, to visit with Morrie. The resulting book is based on these fourteen Tuesdays they meet. It’s a mix of Morrie's lectures, life experiences and flashbacks about both Mitch and Morrie.

This book is inspiring to me because no matter how bad things become for Morrie he continued to have a positive outlook. ALS gradually robs a person of every last physical ability while usually leaving the mind intact. It’s amazing how Morrie continued to stay positive and how he shared his wisdom right up to the end. Morrie was a natural teacher, always more interested in his students and others – rather than himself, which is why he was loved so much. He had amazing inner strength.

The story comes down to one thing: If you knew you were dying soon, what would be important to you?

 Your career and the items you have accumulated.


The way you have affected or touched other people, your loved ones, etc.

Of course, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the pressures we have in life, but the book is a great reminder of the little things we shouldn't forget, and it’s also about enjoying the present moment. All easier said than done, of course.

Just out of curiosity, I browsed the reviews over at Amazon. Although most of the reviews are five stars, to my surprise there are some one star reviews. Yet even in the one star reviews most of them say that Morrie was a great man, but the negative reviews suggest Mitch is egotistical by including things about himself in the story. But I don’t agree with that because part of the story is about how Morrie affects Mitch, so why not include it?

Other negative reviews thought the story was too preachy as being against society/corporations. I don’t really ‘get’ those. There were some comments that the language used was too simple. I don’t know why people don’t understand that keeping something simple can be the best way to do it. Mitch is more than capable of using complex language.

Since I think this book is a masterpiece, of course, I don’t agree with these negatives. It seems that even though I write science fiction, I still like human interest type stories based on real people.  

Mitch still writes a sports column for the Detroit Free Press, and he has a radio show on an AM station here. (I know because I live in the area).  I can’t help thinking how great it would be to have a platform like that to sell books. But, of course, you still need a great book. I’m sure no agent hesitated to sign him up.

There is also a movie version with Jack Lemmon as Morrie, but I've never seen it. Maybe one day.


Michael Offutt said...

I work with a lot of clients who have ALS...some forty of them in the area (Utah) and it's essentially a death sentence. We try to help them out with assistive technology. I sometimes wonder why there are so many of them in our local area...I think there's something else going on.

Cindy said...

Mike: Your comment made me wonder, so I found this link on some statistics about it.

Michael Offutt said...

Interesting. So for 1.5 million people then statistically, Utah fits within the norm. Thanks for the link Cindy.

Crystal Collier said...

I debated writing a story along these lines once upon a time. Basically it came down to not wanting to shed that many tears--but this is a great story.

Misha said...

I'd love to read this book. I love human interest stories, simply because I'm fascinated by humanity.


Cindy said...

Mike: I was surprised by the statistics. I didn't think that many people had ALS.

Crystal: I know what you mean...

Misha: You would love this book.

Anonymous said...

I read this long ago and remember enjoying it (but I don't recall the lessons). Time for a reread?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.