Author Mitch Albom Discusses His New Novel ‘The Next Person You Meet In Heaven’


well my next guest is a special friend who has appeared on this show numerous times he’s here to talk about his latest novel the next person you meet in heaven which is in stores today please welcome Mitch Albom [Applause] all right how are you I’m good well you’ve been busy this is this is really amazing mitch is written a new book the next person you meet in heaven which is a sequel right this is a sequel to the five people you meet in heaven right and I know what it is about but please explain so the viewers know so the five people you meet in heaven was my first novel and it was pretty popular and it concerned an old man named Eddie who dies trying to save a little girl from an accident amusement park and he goes to push her out of the way and this cart lands on him and he dies not knowing if he saved her he goes to heaven and he finds out that the first stage of heaven is actually you meet five people from your life who you may remember or you may not remember and each one of them sort of shows you a moment that you changed them forever and they change you forever and it keeps asking that I saved the little girl was my life a big waste and at the end he gets to find out that this life that he thought was a big nothing actually touched all kinds of people in all kinds of ways which is what I believe about all of our lives right and Jon Voight played Eddie in the movie yeah that was made and which was also a huge success how much was this current book influenced by the last 15 years of your life well quite a bit I mean ever since that book I lost my mom I lost my dad and I lost a little girl that we raised as our daughter one of our orphans from an orphanage I operate in Haiti and so heaven was kind of on my mind that’s chica right there right and so I thought well this is a good time to revisit this and people have been asking me ever since the five people you mean heaven came out what happened to the little girl okay we know Eddie went to heaven what happened to this little girl that he saved so I thought this might be a good time to revisit it yeah and we’ve been looking at pictures behind you there of chica tell us a little bit about chica we operate an orphanage in Haiti I’m there every month we have 47 kids chica was one of our kids at age five she developed a very serious brain tumor and the MRI came back in Haiti saying there’s no one in Haiti who can do anything about so we brought her up and spent the next two years she was basically our daughter and we traveled around the world trying to save her and ultimately she succumbed to the tumor but not before changing all kinds of lives especially mine and my wife’s she was a doll she was she was bossy and she was independent and she was fiery and she never once complained she danced and walked around and never once complained about the situation she was in I’m not sure she even knew but she got to have a mother and father for at least a few years of her life and we got to have a daughter and I don’t look at it as we lost a child I look at his if we were given one yeah in both books the main characters are taught lessons by children we always say out of the mouths of babes but talk about how and why you use that device well I think children probably teach us more about ourselves than anything in this particular book not surprisingly after you’ve heard what I’ve just said Annie who grows up in this book the little girl grows up she gets married and on the morning after her her wedding she’s in a balloon when those balloon rides at sunrise and something goes terribly wrong and she dies trying to save her new husband she goes to heaven and meets five people one of whom is Eddie from the past but along the way she lost a child when she was younger as we did and she finds out what happened to that child and I think anyone who’s lost a child always wonders are they in heaven will we see them again when we talk to them again I remember chica one time when she couldn’t walk anymore towards the end we were sitting and we were coloring and I looked at my watch I said oh my god I’ve got to go and she said no no you have to stay here in color and you know I was carrying her from place to place at that time and she said know what cheek I said I gotta go it’s my work and she said well I have to play and I said I know but this is my job and she said no it isn’t your job is carrying me and of course like you say out of the mouths of babes that is our job really that’s our jobs to take care of children and those who can’t take care of themselves people cannot read this book or any of the others but certainly the next person you meet in heaven and not come away with any other reaction than feeling good and reevaluating what they focus on and what their priorities are in life we go through life with all these questions anyone through life saying I don’t matter nothing madam I’m a nobody and it goes through life that could I keep making mistakes I keep making mistakes if Heaven is really the blessed place that we all believe that it is then it seems to me when we get there one of the things that’s going to happen is we’re gonna get everything explained there was you might have thought that was wasn’t working out but here’s the reason you might have thought you didn’t do anything there but look at all these different people you touched and I would think that that would be a pretty good way to begin heaven that’s why I imagined it that way yeah exactly

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