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Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

17 Apr

tues-with-morrieI read this a few months ago but needed time to think about it before I put my thoughts down on screen, it’s strange to have ones opinions on a book so polarised that you swing from enjoyment to apathy with each thought…

This true story follows Mitch meeting up with his old college professor Morrie, 20 years after they last spoke.  Morrie has Motor Neurone Disease and is slowly dying but before he does, Morrie is ready to teach his final lessons to Mitch each Tuesday just as he did 20 years ago.

You may have already gathered that this book has lots of soul searching, honesty and much emotion, it deals with a dying man’s views on the world he has experienced and is leaving and his lessons encompass culture, money, regrets, forgiveness and death amongst others.

To start off with I absolutely loved this, it has a life affirming message and will make you want to go and hug people (although make sure you know them) but then I thought about the subjects spoken about, the primary part of the book, and wondered how profound the messages actually were.

That sounds cynical I know, I don’t wish to belittle the conversations that these guys have, I mean they are a good reminder about what’s important in life and how we should treat ourselves, each other and the world but is it a life changer?

You hear about these mythical books all the time, the life changers…I am yet to meet one in person, they usually range from conspiracy theories, poorly conceived pseudo history and then the emotive books such as this one, personally I think that the revelations, or advice if you will, espoused are messages that we hear a lot, everywhere.

Again without wishing to sound like I am being disparaging, the views do seem to be less revelatory than the media hype for this would have you believe, perhaps the world has moved on more from the original publishing in 1997, there have certainly been enough major world events to make one step back and view his or her own life and the way the planet is going.

HOWEVER to balance this review out so you don’t think me a soulless beast, I really enjoyed the book despite its shortcomings, it makes you feel good to get to know the people involved, to understand what they go through, to care about them and to dwell on life and your role in other people’s lives and how you effect them each day, or how you could if you got back in touch with them.

So what have I decided?  is it a good reminder of what we know of life already?  Or a life changer of epic proportions?  Although I lean towards the former, it is an uplifting book with beneficial ideals and the beauty of it is that everyone will take something away from this to keep them smiling.  perhaps I over think things too much, or perhaps you are less of a cynic than me and will get something more out of the book, like the millions who adore it, either way it is the reading experience that keeps us happy…am I right?

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57 Comments

Posted by on 17/04/2013 in Autobiography, Philosophy

 

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57 responses to “Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

  1. renxkyoko

    17/04/2013 at 18:37

    Call my cynical too, but this is the reason why I’m not so into stuff like this. The insights we get are things that we know already, and more.

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    • StetotheJ

      17/04/2013 at 18:41

      Glad to see I’m not alone, I thought I may have had to retitle the post, Soulless Brit Goes Against Societies Conventions. I like my insights to be things I have never considered before, dwelling is a big part of my life.

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      • renxkyoko

        17/04/2013 at 18:50

        Uhm, they can call me shallow or what, but Harry Potter made me think for over ten years. Will he live or die? Darn, that was sooo good. I read each book 3 times looking for clues . What a story !

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        • StetotheJ

          17/04/2013 at 19:00

          Even book five? I wasn’t impressed with that one, Harry potter has made such an impression on popular culture, it fascinates me to see that it even has its own philosophy texts these days, well philosophy as far as that word can go in relation to the stories of course…

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          • renxkyoko

            17/04/2013 at 19:16

            Was that the one with Prof. Umbrage (sp.?) . Yes. although it was hard to reread that one. I hated her more than Voldemort. Thinking back, HP plotline was kind of …. I don’t know, stupid. The prediction wasn’t even true. It was all about choices . Snape could have taken down You know who easily. I coulodn’t understand why everyone was so scared of him. LOL

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            • StetotheJ

              17/04/2013 at 19:22

              Yeah that was the book, it lost that element of mystery to the text that the previous ones had all had, which annoyed me. My one reading was not as indepth as your studies have been but it seems rare these days to come across a Harry Potter fan who enjoys the books but retains the critical judgement that a lot of others have chosen to lose.

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  2. eTilde

    17/04/2013 at 18:43

    Yes, I believe you’re right. 🙂

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    • StetotheJ

      17/04/2013 at 18:46

      Only as right as you awesome bloggers allow me to be! And you are all very awesome.

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  3. Alastair

    17/04/2013 at 18:47

    I can never get into that style of book. I have read a few of real life books, but on the whole I much prefer fiction. The couple that I read tended to focus on the boring sides of life, or were autobiographies of people that very few people knew (or cared less for) Mind you , I did read one where the horse was more interesting than the person the book was about. So I tend to avoid the feel good books as they rarely make me feel that way 😉

    Great review though.

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    • StetotheJ

      17/04/2013 at 18:55

      This horse book intrigues me….it wasn’t Tim Moore’s Spanish Steps was it, okay that was a donkey but any animal scared of an orange washing up bowl is a winner in my book. Book! Puns are unnecessarily amusing today for some reason. You are right as a genre it doesn’t really inspire me much but I aim to persevere and one day find that book that gets me into it…although I much prefer philosophy proper for that kind of stuff, Sartre or Camus, et al have so much more depth to them.

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      • Alastair

        17/04/2013 at 19:13

        Haha no. It was “The Sport of Queens” Autobiography of Dick Francis. Some of his were pretty good so I thought I would read his Autobiography and it would have been more interesting to use it as a codebook for Peppa Pig’s Penguin Book of Christmas Insults

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        • StetotheJ

          17/04/2013 at 19:19

          Ha, I really hope I see that book come out next Christmas, it sounds like the ultimate! I remember hearing about that book On World Book Night, the BBc again dumbing down something with so much potential but I am always happy to find another bad book I don’t have to read, where were you when i picked up the Da Vinci Code!

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          • Alastair

            17/04/2013 at 19:27

            Now I’m going to have to go and find the da Vinci Code and see what you said on that 🙂

            Maybe I’ll write that PPPBoCI 😀

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            • StetotheJ

              17/04/2013 at 19:31

              If you do, I demand first dibs on reviewing it, it will be epic!!! I did rant on a bit about the Da Vinci Code, actually I held back as it was just becoming a sort of crazed dictatorial rant and I probably would have just started offending everybody.

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              • Alastair

                17/04/2013 at 19:41

                😆 Definitely going to have to read it now.

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  4. Anonymous

    17/04/2013 at 22:28

    I recently picked up Albom’s “The Timekeeper” which was also touted as a life changer. Ironically, halfway through I decided that life was too short to bother finishing it as it wasn’t really changing my life. I wonder if Albom would consider that a success, given the message of the tome…

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 16:28

      Haha, I’m sure he would be well happy to hear that it changed how you view your time from his book, or maybe he would be to busy holding back the avalanche of money that he undoubtedly got from that book, which I need to delete off of my wishlist….

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      • gargoylebruce

        23/04/2013 at 07:46

        Why the hell am I “anonymous” in that comment? Stupid WordPress depriving me of an identity….humph.

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        • StetotheJ

          26/04/2013 at 15:08

          It’s institutional gargoyleism if you ask me.

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  5. shiningstar85

    17/04/2013 at 22:45

    How long is it?

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 16:29

      Howdy there Sophster, it’s 209 pages long and the font is fairly big as well, talk about cheek, they could have saved the paper for reprinting a classic or something.

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  6. Liz at Libro

    18/04/2013 at 05:39

    I agree completely, well, I haven’t read it, but I’ve read enough about it to know that like a lot of this type of book, the “message” is one we have heard and should know already. Then again, if it made a few people act more kindly to their fellow humans, that’s good in my mind, obviously. I thought it might be a bit manipulative and trite, to be honest.

    Book that changed my life? Marilyn French’s “The Women’s Room”, read as a late teen. Really opened my eyes to gender relations, domestic violence, patriarchy, feminism … a very powerful book indeed.

    Must go and read your review of DVC. I did read that, having heard so much hype. Ugh. You don’t want to get me going on Girl WIth A Pearl Earring, though. I try never to read very hyped books now!

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 17:11

      From all the hype and love for this book, it is refreshing to read so many comments from people who haven’t jumped on the band wagon, I suppose these days perhaps it isn’t common sense to just be happy and treat people with respect.

      I haven’t read The women’s Room, it does sound a bit harrowing but I shall have gander at it and see if i fancy adding it to the wishlist…the overly populated wish list that is.

      I fancy reading a rant so please feel free to destroy GWaPE if you wish…I think angry reviews are nice and refreshing, hope you enjoyed all the bile I poured forth…

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      • Liz at Libro

        24/04/2013 at 14:51

        The thing with GwaPE was that the narrative voice read like a disaffected teen nowadays, somehow. Like a whiny Valley Girl. Not authentic sounding at all, and it’s not impossible to do, even in (obvs) a different language. Hm, I might have to start a Books I Hated series on my blog … too negative? Anyway, about Girl I honestly said, “Well, the painting bits were interesting, but that’s not really enough for a whole novel”. It’s like The Unbearable Lightness of Being – I learnt something about the history of Czechoslovakia / the Czech Republic, but I could have read a non-fiction book and got more out of it …

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        • StetotheJ

          26/04/2013 at 15:06

          A Books I Hated segment would be great, generates many comments and becomes a forum for discussion and much irony, I would be up for that, it also lets us all steer clear of some pretty awful books though, it’s great to do a public service. I may have the Unbaerable Being of Lightness somewhere…at the bottom of the book pile.

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          • Liz at Libro

            28/04/2013 at 17:56

            Hm … I might do a page on that, pop things on it as they come along and invite comments … I’ll have a think about it!

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            • StetotheJ

              30/04/2013 at 21:23

              It will most certainly prove controversial and popular.

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  7. RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book

    18/04/2013 at 14:18

    LOVED! So, I’m that person who read the ending while waiting for a plane at the airport. Oh, you didn’t see me? I was the one holding my book and hysterically crying. Advice for others? Don’t read the end of Tuesdays at a public place!

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 16:40

      I can’t imagine you in such a state but I shall look out for you next time armed with a box of tissues and something amusing to cheer you up again. Possibly a panda I stole, although that has yet to be confirmed.

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  8. Tom Gething

    18/04/2013 at 15:26

    I remember reading a book by the American writer William Saroyan which was dramatic and emotional. A sentimental novel about ordinary small town life during World War Two. It tugged at the heart and championed obvious virtues, but its sentimentality got in the way of it being a great book…I’m not even sure if anyone reads Saroyan anymore. That sounds like the problem with this book, too, although I haven’t read it. Sentimentality can be a kind of dishonesty if it isn’t tempered with other elements of life.

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 17:03

      I am familar with the name but haven’t read anything Saroyan myself, it is extremely saccharine and does seem to miss the point sometimes I think, offering a skewed perspective. Your last line is pretty much spot on with how the book could very well be perceived.

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  9. RoSy

    19/04/2013 at 01:58

    Not sure I could handle reading this type of book. I know movies are not the same as books. But – when I went to an Oprah show – Mitch Albom was a guest. The night before we watched the movie based on his book – For One More Day. It was so touching & sad. Not sure I would have made it through the book. It was tough getting to the movie. And – I’m not the “emotional” type when it comes to books or movies. But – just so real. Ok – I’ll stop – because now it sounds like I’m rambling…
    PeAce!

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 16:43

      Ranting is good, I am happy to read your rants all day, although I request use of the night for sleeping, he does tackle the emotive issues, still if we all liked his stuff, then all the fun of arguing respective for and againsts would be gone and that makes Ste sad.

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  10. 최다해 gongjumonica

    19/04/2013 at 07:18

    I love this book. I am a realist especially when it comes to politics, but in life, I try to be happy with what it has to offer for me. The “lessons” there are not really original, but they still has effects on me. Sometimes, we don’t need to hear something new to change, just a reminder of what we are missing or not doing.

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 16:56

      This is true of course, a reiteration of what is hidden in plain sight is always good, your cheerful nature is all the reminder I need!

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      • 최다해 gongjumonica

        23/04/2013 at 07:36

        I agree. Sometimes we just need a reminder. I am glad to be always cheerful for you.

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  11. LuAnn

    19/04/2013 at 12:41

    For me this type of book is fitting for a particular mood. There are times I need to be reminded of these little life lessons and, during these times, it is great to have this type of book around.

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 16:53

      A reminder is always good, you’re right about that…and may I recommend a certain book called the Shy Butterfly for just such an ocassion.

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      • LuAnn

        21/04/2013 at 22:14

        Thanks! I have never heard of this but any recommendation from you is great. 🙂

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  12. quirkybooks

    19/04/2013 at 21:11

    An interesting balanced review.

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    • StetotheJ

      20/04/2013 at 16:30

      Ah thank you, I was worried i had started to become to pessimistic which would be ironic from what the book is trying to say.

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      • quirkybooks

        20/04/2013 at 22:24

        I think by the end it was a balanced review – You can’t give positive feedback about every part of every book otherwise there would be no point in reviewing it.

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        • StetotheJ

          22/04/2013 at 17:18

          Exactly, I know some people just review stuff they love, then feel like they need to love every part of it, I tend to be to critical at times, tough to find a balance but I strive for you dear reader.

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  13. Claire 'Word by Word'

    22/04/2013 at 18:09

    Wow, not sure about the book, but there are a lot of comments here, you’ve got a regular chat show going on. 🙂

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    • StetotheJ

      22/04/2013 at 18:13

      I love a good natter, the threads soon start coming thick and fast, I like to claim it is my amiable nature and willingness to reply to all comments. I think blogging and commenting probably learns you more valuable (and original) life lessons than the book can.

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      • Claire 'Word by Word'

        22/04/2013 at 18:21

        Nothing like a genuine, heartfelt comment. For a truly life-changing read I would recommend ‘Transforming the Mind’ by the Dalai Lama, I think there are some original suggestions in there and some interesting philosophical discourse. He enunciates well, harder to practice, but the rewards are life changing I believe.

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        • StetotheJ

          22/04/2013 at 18:24

          I shall add it to the wish list that had shrunk to 624 books, as I recall you tend to be a bad influence on me in that department!

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          • Claire 'Word by Word'

            22/04/2013 at 18:28

            Definitely one worth adding, this one I recommend after looking back over my own lifetime of reading, stands out like a Himalayan peak 🙂

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            • StetotheJ

              22/04/2013 at 18:34

              Well in that case I can’t really argue with your pinnacle of reading, I shall seek it out post haste.

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  14. jennpower

    24/05/2013 at 17:37

    My Dad loves Mitch Albom’s books and Michael Connelly books. Those are the only ones he reads. As a consequence of being a big reader (I must always have a book on the go. ALWAYS. I usually have about six or seven on the go at one time) I’ve discovered Mitch Albom.

    All his books are very thought provoking, and they’re the kind that you need to sit with and think about after reading- I really hope that he doesn’t get caught up in the fame of it all and I hope he’ll keep writing what he likes to- because it’s really great stuff! I’m not so sure if it’s the content itself which is so esteemed though, I think it’s the writing style. The writing style is different from those of any other book I’ve read; I don’t know how to describe it… but I think that it isn’t the story itself, but the way he tells the story that makes them what they are.

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    • StetotheJ

      25/05/2013 at 14:15

      Wow I had seven once, but had to knock it back down to one as it was all going a bit mental for me and nothing was being finished. I admire your skills at such a feat.

      I enjoyed Five People and Have a Little Faith, Tuesdays With Morrie, I didn’t enjoy, I reviewed it earlier and thought it over hyped and not as profound as people seemed to claim it was. His simple detached documentary style (for non fiction) works well, with good insights, for the most part. I may have to reread Five People again to see if I still rate it as highly as I did.

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  15. Robyn Lee

    25/05/2013 at 16:14

    I know what you are saying here Ste! I read this many many years ago… I did get emotional and took some things from it… but as he Mitch Abom put out more and more books, I began to feel exactly what you describe – and a bit like his heart wasn’t really into it – he was telling me what I already know… or the editor/publisher was having an influence. These books do seem to have mass appeal though… opens hearts for some. Love your way 🙂 ~ Robyn

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    • StetotheJ

      27/05/2013 at 17:06

      You put it more succinctly than I. Everyone wants answers and are willing to reread what has already been told before. I can understand peoples yearnings for books like this but if they look for their own meanings and talk to their own friends and neighbours they would have something infinitely richer to take to heart. Thank you very much for stopping in, I admire your eye for a fantastic photo.

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