By Mitch Albom
Published by Doubleday
Copyright © 1997
For years I have been hearing female library patrons tell me how good “Tuesdays with Morrie” is. I resisted the urge to read it; I told myself that if that many women liked the book then it had to be a “Women’s” book. I just knew it would bore me to death. This book was published in 1997. It is now 2012, 15 years later, and I’m still hearing how good the book is. So, after all these years of ignoring people I finally broke down and read the book…
Morrie Schwartz was a child of Russian immigrants who ended up becoming a professor of sociology at Brandeis University near Boston, MA. One of his favorite pupils was Mitch Albom, who after losing contact with him for nearly 20 years decides to visit him when he finds out that Morrie is dying of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Mitch and Morrie renew their friendship, and in turn their student/teacher relationship. Eventually Mitch decides to visit Morrie every Tuesday as they did in college, to discuss life, death, and everything that comes in between. Through this final “class” with his mentor, Mitch is able to evaluate his own life and the direction that it took, and Morrie got to enjoy his passion in life which was to enjoy the company of others and to help them as much as he could.
Anyone who reads the first page of this book knows that the ending for Morrie Schwartz is not a good one. He is going to die. Some people when faced with the inevitability of a terminal disease just give up or get bitter, others, like Morrie, decide to live and love as long as they can. While this book tells the story of Morrie’s road to death, death is not what Morrie’s focus is. The intent of Morrie’s last class is to teach Mitch (and by extension others) how to live. He said: “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” In this small book Albom presents Morrie’s unconquerable spirit. Even in the face of certain death he has a zest for life. He squeezes every last drop purpose and feeling out of his life that he could.
“Tuesdays with Morrie” is not a “Women’s” book; it is a book for people. It is a book bent for reflection. As I read this Mitch’s narrative I found myself wanting to be Morrie. No, not the Morrie he was only weeks away from certain death, but the Morrie who had lived his life in such a way that he did not fear it. I wanted to be the Morrie who had a happy life; the one who loved to read, talk, teach, swim, walk, and even dance.
Then of course, I wished that I was Mitch. To have such a profound and loving individual to teach me and call me his friend would be so uplifting. I am actually happy to say that I do have friends like this. Maybe not as well educated and profound as Morrie, but mentors none the less, who take a positive view of life; people who love me and who motivate me to be a better person.
Whether you have such a mentor or not, read this book. There are so many lessons in it that I know, or have heard before, but sometimes we need a good quick reminder. “Tuesdays with Morrie” is just such a reminder.