“Enjoy yourselves… it’s laaaa-ter than you think…”
An eye condition had pretty much knocked out my ability to read very well for a couple of months, and as things gradually improved I began to long for a nice book. I kept bringing books home for weeks, as if I might be reading them the next day, but I never did–I couldn’t.
Then, one day a man began describing the book he had just finished in such laudatory terms, that I took it home. It was a small book, easy to hold, with large, clear print and an intriguing cover. The book turned out to be beautifully written–a sharp, insightful look at the human heart. It had the crisp pacing of a thriller, the philosophical bent of a C.S. Lewis, and the sociological pondering of an E.O. Wilson, combined with a Mark Twain like humor.
It’s the true story of two men, who the author came to know well. The first man is his childhood rabbi, a scholarly man. The second is a man who came to the cloth from desperation, begging God to spare his life from the drug dealers hunting him down one night. They couldn’t be more different in some ways, or more alike in others. Over the years, Albom becomes more and more involved in their stories, their congregants, and the mystery of how a philosophy of ourselves and the universe can shape our time on earth.
From a man whose temple in New Jersey included Auschwitz survivors, to a different type of church in Detroit, where the pastor’s challenges involve finding enough food and clothing for his flock, their stories provide the canvass for Albom to consider his own life.
At the end when there are two eulogies to be performed (get out the kleenex!), I felt I would remember this book and the people in it for a long time.