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I’d Rather Meet Five People in Hell

Part of: Literati


Breakfast: Chocolate! Chocolate! Balance Bar

Recommended reading: The Prophet By Kahlil Gibran

The Five People You Meet in Heaven has been on the Publisher’s Weekly list for 21 weeks now, and I can’t figure out why. I’ve read half the book and won’t read anymore. I decided a while back: Life is too short to read books I don’t like, despite my propensity to finish them. I’ve read quite a few self-help books/fables in my lifetime, and this book should’ve been titled Spirituality and Archetypes for Dummies.

As writers we’re told to believe in the intelligence of our readers. (This helps when we’re editing to cut out repetitive sentences and information.) This book assumed the opposite.

These are a few paragraphs from various chapters that made me want to slit my wrists over their pedestrian nature and preciousness:

“…because sons will adore their fathers through even the worst behavior. It is how they learn devotion. Before he can devote himself to God or a woman, a boy will devote himself to his father, even foolishly, even beyond explanation.”

“Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away.”

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”

“Love, like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes, under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots, keeping itself alive.”

That last paragraph sounded like Dr. Phil on ecstasy. Perhaps it’s good for people who have no concept of these ideas to learn them from a book that’s written like a bad children’s book for adults. One of my other friends thinks it’s good that average and sub-average people are learning spiritual lessons from this book. I do agree, but I hope these people will someday read something a bit more challenging.

If only the protagonist could’ve met more interesting people in heaven, sigh. It’s notable that a lot of these books are based on Buddhist principles. The first book on spirituality I read probably was The Way of the Peaceful Warriorwhen I was in 9th grade. It definitely shifted my consciousness.

If any of my readers read The Five People You Meet in Heaven and had any epiphanies, please share. I’m happy if you got something from this book. Now I’m off to meet some wicked people from hell in my dreams tonight.

Sweet dreams,


SilverhornI writes:

"After [Tuesday's With]Morrie I thought I had to read 5 people. I was disappointed. It's not that it's simply written rather it's simply boring."


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