"Tuesdays with Morrie - an old man, a young man and life's greatest lesson"
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 1997, read: November 99)
"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, helped you see the world as a more profound place, 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, and the world seemed colder. 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."
Morrie Schwartz is suffering from ALS (also known as 'Lou Gehrig's disease'), a fatal illness of the neurological system which starts in the legs and dissolves the muscles until the patient cannot move alone anymore. When the disease reaches the lungs, one suffocates. Until now no treatment has been found. You are informed about the details of the illness right at the beginning of the book so you can't have any wrong hopes of a miracle cure for Morrie.
Morrie loved to dance, laugh, help other people (especially his students) and make up his mind about the normal things in life: death, marriage, friends, the perfect day. The book is a result of the weekly talks (always on Tuesdays) which Morrie and Mitch had together and which were taped. In this way Morries legacy was saved.
The advance for the book helped to pay for Morries enormous medical bills after his death. And it should help the readers to be more open towards other people, to show feelings and to listen more. But: the lessons sound simple and are very hard to live by. And this is quite sad. Just like this book. In the end you really like Morrie. And, just like Mitch, you have the feeling you've lost an old friend. But some diseases are fatal.
[Dorothée Büttgen, December 99]
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