Adventures in Reading

Revisited: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

While I seem terminally “unhip,” occasionally I do decide to slide back into a 21st Century experience. As it seems everyone and their grandmothers have read Tuesdays With Morrie, I thought, “Why not?” The book is terribly hokey and I must express my confusion at everyone raving about this but accusing The Secret of being nothing more than a book of quotes. After all, Tuesdays is really nothing more than a brief biography and quotes.

Morris Schwartz was a soc press diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and Mitch Albom was a student of his who comes back to spend time with Morrie during his final months. It’s a book about dying, coping with death, and a pinch and a dash of everything else: family, relationships, money, work, etc. It certainly has its good points, but it really is nothing more than a spoonful of common sense: slow down, smell the roses, be nice to other people.

Two cringe worthy parts of the book, for me, involved having children and getting married. I don’t want children and I’m undecided about marriage. And I completely agree that having children and getting married create huge changes in a person’s life but so does not doing those things. Also, the implication that only family will be there for you in a situation like Morrie’s seems a bit daft as Mitch – a friend – is recording all of this.

Can’t say I would have missed much if I had skipped this.

Tuesdays was definitely a book I could have done with out. In the same vein as books like The Secret or The Last Lecture, I muse mostly at the financial momentum pushing these books but do reserve some concern at how much of a con some of these books are. In fact, Tuesdays even showed up on the summer school reading list I have, which made me want to puke. Really? There’s nothing else you could have these kids read?

Looking back, it’s also interesting to see how a review reflects a reviewer’s life. When I originally wrote this review, I believe last summer, I was very much going through a period of stretching and self-discovery. Toddlers do it to test their parents and I suppose I was doing it to test my world. I had some surprising results. But yes, I became more confidant last year in my personal decisions not to have children and not to marry. This will become even more obvious in other revisited book posts.

Other opinions: Scathing Reviews, I Read…, Reading Room, SMS Book Reviews, Reading to Know.


I read this one so long ago that I can’t remember all of the details, but I remember really liking The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Comment by Trish

Thank you for the honest review. I have not read this, but have briefly browsed through “The Last Lecture” and immediately knew that it wasn’t for me. I gave up on books like this long ago.

Comment by onlyanovel

Perhaps you are closed minded or have never had such a deep relationship touch you so deeply. perhaps you can’t relate to reaching out and being there for someone in their last moments. Whatever it is, it is not hokey to be aware. joyously, drunkenly,serenely, divinely aware.

Comment by shelly

Trish: I have heard positive things about The Five People You Meet in Heaven as well, and while I remain somewhat cautious of anything Albom related I might have to give it a try one of these days.

Onlyanovel: This was kind of a tough one to be honest about because I knew that there were going to be thousands of people I’m stepping on the toes of (i.e. see shelly’s comment below yours). I know at least where I work, this book has been sensationally popular and people are constantly overflowing with the wonderment and brilliance of the book, and I just have to disagree.

Shelly: Perhaps you know nothing about me. ;) But really, we’re allowed to differ on opinions though I would suggest in your future that you presume less about people you don’t know. As far as “joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely, aware” I have this experience quite regularly through the wonders of literature. Ulysses, Anna Karenina, The Elephant Vanishes, Never Come Morning are only a small selection of the very moving and poignant literature I’ve encountered. Albom’s book is hokey.

Comment by bookchronicle

I have to admit that I’ve only read one Mitch Albom book “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and really didn’t like it. I thought it was pretty disappointing. I have to rank it as one of my least favorite books. Although I’ve never read “Tuesday’s With Morrie”, if you don’t like that book I’m not sure you’d like “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”. Keep up the great reviews!

Comment by Amanda

Ha ha ha, oh Shelly. Get your head out of your high-horse’s ass.

Bookchronicle, yes. Cheesey Mc Hokerson. I thought, THIS is what all the fuss is about? But hey, people love a book they can ‘get,’ and you’d have to be an idiot not to ‘get’ the message of this book.

Comment by raych

While I have not read “The Last Lecture,” I have seen Randy Pausch being interviewed and seen him give his final lecture. It’s moving and sad, especially knowing he wrote it for his three young children. Also, the lecture was “part of a ‘Last Lecture Series’ sponsored by universities including Stanford, Cornell and the University of Alabama. Through it, professors are asked to give hypothetical final talks. Pausch’s, needless to say, was the real deal” (site). That said, his book of the same title kind of irritates me, because I feel it’s now capitalizing on what once was a really special/poignant message. I wouldn’t compare it to “The Secret” or even “A New Earth,” though, both of which I’ve gleamed are pretty common sense (or BS).

Comment by Claire C. Cake

raych: So true and I suppose that’s why people go crazy for things like Tolle and Albom. They’re designed as “thinking” or at least “thoughtful” books that require no “thinking” (and very little engagement) from the person reading them.

Claire C. Cake: I know a lot about Pausch, seen clips of the lecture, know his history, have read excerpts from the book, seen some of the interviews, I’m familiar with the last lecture series for universities, etc. I’m very much aware of these aspects of Pausch’s book. I definitely give you that it’s a step above these books and if he’s capitalizing off of this to help provide for his children I can get behind that too. I admit, I am a bit jaded between the customers and the hype as well as my own relationships with friends and family given a finite amount of time to live.

Comment by bookchronicle

I have no intention of reading “Tuesday’s With Morrie”. ever. I hated “Five People You Meet in Heaven”. “The Last Lecture” however is appealing to me (maybe because he is a fellow Pittsburgher). And also like Claire C. Cake has stated, he did it for his kids which is touching to me (puke all you want ;)).

“The Secret” i’m on the fence about. I’ll probably give it a read at some point just to see what all the hype is about but i’m guessing i’ll stop half way through.

“A New Earth” is a book that S’s mom is obsessed with and has been pressuring me to read. (she takes a class on it and keeps notes!) I dont’ know much about it but I can’t say i’m all that interested. Have you read it?

Comment by Mys Ebrel

Mys Ebrel: “The Secret” mostly bothers me because I really see it as nothing more than a book duping people to spend large sums of money. Granted, I don’t have a lot of hope for the people who opted to purchase the book. The big “secret” is to really be positive. Rather than read a secret I’d suggest picking up a book on the history of karma.

While I have not read “A New Earth,” from everything I have heard it is another one of Oprah’s metaphysical, truthy books with a good deal of Christian suggestion behind it. Whether or not it’s a good read I don’t know. I was tempted to pick it up only to see why it was so popular, but have yet to do so. If you do get around to reading it certainly let me know.

Comment by bookchronicle

I have never felt compelled to post to an online conversation until now.
I’ve been considering reading Tuesdays because a friend raved about it. With so many worth-while books waiting to be read, I like to look at reviews before committing. I have read about a quarter of A New Earth and all of its prequel The Power of Now. In truth, I am reluctant to carry any book with the big O stamped on it: once in a while Oprah makes a good call but I am terrified of living in a world where one person’s opinion dictates the literary preferences of the masses who can’t discriminate for themselves. Tolle’s books are not without value but what a reader gets out of it is whatever he or she is looking for. For me, the highlight was the idea that Christians and Buddhists are in agreement on a great many levels and each is a reflection of the other imitating the truth. The rest is simple: don’t believe everything you think. If those ideas don’t get you revved, borrow The Power of Now from your Library and look without investing.

Comment by Sodacan Jab

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