February 26, 2019

Looking Back - Tuesdays with Morrie


Finished on February 17, 2019

New Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

After posting this "Looking Back" entry, I decided it was finally time to re-read Albom's book. I began reading and was quickly drawn into the narrative, remembering bits and pieces, but not so much that I was bored or impatient with the writing. It was as fresh and inspiring as the first time I read it in 1998. It's a quick read, easily finished in a day, but I took my time, both savoring Morrie's aphorisms and Mitch's thoughts and reactions to his friend's decline.
The last class of my old professor's life took place once a week in his house, by a window in the study where he could watch a small hibiscus plant shed its pink leaves. The class met on Tuesdays. It began after breakfast. The subject was The Meaning of Life. It was taught from experience.
No grades were given, but there were oral exams each week. You were expected to respond to questions, and you were expected to pose questions of your own. You were also required to perform physical tasks now and then, such as lifting the professor's head to a comfortable spot on the pillow or placing his glasses on the bridge of his nose. Kissing him good-bye earned you extra credit. 
No books were required, yet many topics were covered, including love, work, community, family, aging, forgiveness, and, finally, death. The last lecture was brief, only a few words.
On Death & Dying:
How can you ever be prepared to die?
"Do what the Buddhists do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, 'Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'"
I thoroughly enjoyed this experience of re-reading Mitch Albom's book. I did find that I was preparing myself for the heartbreaking finale and was surprised that I didn't shed a single tear. Since reading this back in 1998, I have lost three very close family members, so maybe I am now better equipped to handle the tragic details of death and dying. Or maybe knowing the outcome softened the blow.

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man and Life's Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom
1997 Doubleday
Finished in March 1998
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent)

Publisher's Blurb:

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. 

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger? 

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final 'class': lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's last gift with the world. 

My Original Notes (1998):

Awesome book. Moving without being maudlin. Introspective. Wonderful words of wisdom from a tremendously brave old man. Courageous. Inspirational. A great gift book. I cried like a baby when I finished. Sobbed! 

My Current Thoughts:

I remember when I read this book and how the ending gutted me. I've had it on my shelf for over 20 years and have never read it a second time. I did later read Albom's popular novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and didn't care for it at all, so I wonder if I'll still like this biography about Morrie. Guess it's worth a try.


  1. I have Tuesdays With Morie on my list to read. I didn't like The Five People You Meet Un Heaven at all.

    1. Vicki, I think Albom did a fine job with Tuesdays, but I don't care for his fiction. He's pretty popular, though.

  2. I LOVED this one (and didn't care for Five People in Heaven either). It's on of my all time faves although, like you, I haven't read it a second time.

    1. Stacy, I am hoping to make time to re-read it this month. I hope I enjoy it much as I did the first time around.

  3. I'm thinking this would be a good book for me to read since we're spending a couple of months with my elderly parents this winter. It's a very poignant time.
    By the way, on a completely different topic, I finished The Other Einstein (thanks to you) and loved it! But it certainly changed my opinion of Albert Einstein, and not for the better. :-(

  4. Laurel, I think it would be a very good book, but if you haven't read Being Mortal by Atul Gwande, I highly recommend it. Click on the title for my review. (If you want to read more books on aging, click on the tag at the bottom of that review.) I have two others on my shelf that I read (but never finished) called Another Country by Mary Pipher and My Mother, Your Mother by Dennis McCullough, M.D. They weren't as good, and I wound up skimming both, but they do have some good information about caring for your aging parents. It was Atul Gawande's book, though, that inspired me and my husband to move to Oregon and move in with my mom (who turns 86 this year), so she can age in place. It's been a win-win for all three of us!

    I'm glad you enjoyed The Other Einstein. I, too, changed my opinion of AE, as well!

  5. Thanks so much for the recommendations, Les. I am needing all of the support I can get right now.

    1. You're more than welcome. Feel free to email me if you ever need a virtual shoulder to lean on!


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