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The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Vocabulary & Notes. Author Background: Mitch Albom. Who is Mitch Albom ? Best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster, and musician

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Author background mitch albom
Author Background: Mitch Albom

  • Who is Mitch Albom?

    • Best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster, and musician

    • In 1985, moved to Detroit and became a famous sports journalist at the Detroit Free Press.

    • Currently hosts a daily talk show on WJR radio.

    • Regularly shows up on the shows: ESPN Sports Reporters and SportsCenter.

    • Founded seven charities in the metropolitan Detroit area.

    • Began his career as an author after reuniting with Morrie.

    • Has three best seller novels that became TV movies:

      • The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Tuesdays with Morrie, and For One More Day

Vocabulary pages 1 31
Vocabulary (Pages 1-31)

  • Squat (adj.): short and thick or low and wide, especially in a way which is not attractive

  • Retrieve (verb): to find something and bring it back

  • Imminent (adj.): when an event, likely unpleasant, is about to happen soon

  • Solvent (n.):a substance, usually liquid, that dissolves or can dissolve another substance

Arthritis (noun): a disease that causes the joints of your body to become swollen and very painful

Shingles (noun): a disease caused by an infection of the nerve endings, which produces painful red spots

Lanky (adj.):someone who is lanky is tall and thin, and moves awkwardly

Pier (noun): a structure that is built over and into the water so that boats can stop next to it or people can walk along it

Halibut (noun): a large flat sea fish used as food

Vocabulary pages 1 311
Vocabulary (Pages 1-31)

  • Nimble (adj.): able to move quickly and easily with light neat movements

  • Summon (verb): to order someone to come to a


  • Agony (noun): very severe pain

  • Cacophony (noun): a loud unpleasant mixture of sounds

Judy Garland: (1922-69) a US film actress and singer who first appeared in films as a child. She is most famous for appearing as the character Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.

Taffy (noun): soft, chewy, sweet food

Unravel (verb): when threads, string, rope, etc., stop being twisted together

- Ex: Unraveled cable wire

Vocabulary pages 1 312
Vocabulary (Pages 1-31)

  • Primitive (adj.): very simple, does not have modern parts to make it better

  • Pristine (adj.): extremely fresh or clean; not damaged in any way

  • Limber (adj.): able to move and bend easily

  • Perversion (noun): the process of changing something that is natural and good into something that is unnatural and wrong, or the result of such a change

Kiosk (noun): a small building in the street where newspapers, sweets etc are sold

Promenade (noun): a wide road next to the beach, where people can walk for pleasure

Tenement (noun): a large building divided into apartments, especially in the poorer areas of a city

Notes pages 1 31
Notes (Pages 1-31)

  • Story starts with an ending (Eddie’s death)

  • Setting- sunny, at amusement park, summer

  • Eddie’s death – accident involving Freddy’s Free Fall

  • Eddie:

    • a workingman (a maintenance man)

    • white-haired old man, army tattoo, left knee wounded in war,

    • job was to “maintain” the rides

    • dies on his 83rd birthday,

    • regular customers knew him, children loved him, teenagers did not love him

Notes pages 1 311
Notes (Pages 1-31)

  • Foreshadowing: p.2 – After all these years he could hear trouble…

  • Onomatopoeia: p.4 – clack-clack-clack

  • Dominguez: lanky, boney-cheeked, young man, optimistic

  • Eddie planned to leave the pier, but his plans never worked out.

    • He came to the acceptance that this was his life and being a maintenance man was all he would ever be- “got stuck,” “settled”

  • Eddie gives Dominguez money for his vacation

    • We can infer that they are friends, only friend Eddie has

Notes pages 1 312
Notes (Pages 1-31)

  • Onomatopeoia: p.8 zzzapzzzap

  • P.8 – teenagers do not respect him

  • Marguerite- what assumption can you make?

  • Theme (p.10) – connectedness (everything in life is connected in some way)

  • Foreshadowing (p.11)- the missing key…how?

    • Key is also demonstrates the theme of connectedness

  • Eddie leads a lonely life

    • Nearly lost everyone he cared about

  • Final words- “Get back”

Notes pages 1 313
Notes (Pages 1-31)

  • P. 18- example 2 of the theme – the little girl

  • Last thing Eddie felt before his death- two hands in his own

  • Italicized sections represent flashbacks of Eddie’s life.

  • The Journey

    • Eddie’s journey to heaven- feels no emotion, sadness or pain; feels calm like a child

    • Eddie’s Fifth Birthday

    • Mickey Shea- works with his father; alcoholic

    • What can you infer about Eddie’s relationship with his parents?

Notes pages 1 314
Notes (Pages 1-31)

  • The Arrival:

    • Woke up in a teacup; at Ruby Pier 75 years ago

    • No pain, doesn’t need a cane, BUT can’t speak (has no voice)

    • Hears a voice coming from the sideshow, also known as the freak house

    • A man with blue skin tells Eddie that he as been waiting for him.

Vocabulary pages 32 55
Vocabulary (Pages 32-55)

  • Grotesque (adjective): unpleasant, shocking, and offensive; extremely ugly in a strange or unnatural way (Example: The Blue Man)

  • Belittle (verb): to make someone or something seem small or unimportant

  • Silver nitrate (noun): A poisonous colorless crystalline compound, AgNO3, that becomes grayish black when exposed to light in the presence of organic matter and is used in manufacturing photographic film, silvering mirrors, dyeing hair, plating silver, and in medicine as a cautery (burning dead tissue) and antiseptic

Vocabulary pages 32 551
Vocabulary (Pages 32-55)

  • Agitated (adjective): so nervous or upset that you are unable to keep still or think calmly

  • Commodity (noun): a product that is bought or sold; a useful quality or thing

  • Relent (verb): to change your attitude and become less strict or cruel towards someone

Notes pages 32 55
Notes (Pages 32-55)

  • Eddie had barely known the blue man.

  • Eddie’s body feels like a child’s because that is when he knew the Blue Man . You start with the same feelings you had.

  • Heaven has steps. The Blue man is in two, Eddie is in one

  • You can not talk so that you can listen

  • Why is Eddie in Heaven:

    • To meet 5 people

    • Each was in his life for a reason… you may not know it at the time, so that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth

    • How does the Blue Man say people think of heaven?

      • - place to have your life explained to you

Notes pages 32 551
Notes (Pages 32-55)

  • The Blue Man is the first person Eddie meets: he went through five people and waited in heaven for Eddie to tell him his story, which is a part of Eddie’s.

  • Some people he knew, some he didn’t BUT they all changed his life forever.

  • Blue Man tells Eddie that he killed him.

  • Flashback - Eddie’s 7th birthday –

    • Receives a new baseball as his present…ball is overthrown and Eddie and Joe chase after it

  • Theme of connectedness: the baseball he received on his seventh birthday

  • The Blue Man: Immigrant from Poland, had no money growing up, nervous child by nature, father worked in a sweatshop and eventually joined him, wet his pants at his father’s work and father refused to speak to him- he had shamed him… became a nervous young man

Notes pages 32 552
Notes (Pages 32-55)

  • The Blue Man went to a chemist for medicine for his nerves -> gave him silver nitrate (later considered poison) -> mix with water and take every night

  • It wasn’t working, so he took more than he was supposed to = skin was turning the color of ash and turned from gray to blue- side effect of the poison

  • Got fired -> ran into carnival workers one night and agreed to join their carnival -> then later came to Ruby Pier and that became his home

  • They are at Ruby Pier because that is where heaven is for the Blue Man. This is not Eddie’s heaven

Notes pages 32 553
Notes (Pages 32-55)

  • Same story- two different angles, two different endings, one happy and one sad

  • Eddie’s side:

    • Playing baseball with his friends -> ball flies over Eddie’s head -> runs into the street chasing after it -> runs in front of a car

    • The car screeches and veers and just misses him.

    • Then, he goes back to his friends as if nothing happened and continues on with his friends

Notes pages 32 554
Notes (Pages 32-55)

  • Blue Man’s side:

    • Borrows a car to practice driving, road is wet, and suddenly a baseball and a boy appear in front.

    • Slams on the brakes -> car skids -> man regains control of the car

    • Sees in the rearview mirror the boy has disappeared but the man’s body is still affected from almost hitting the boy.

    • Experiences a jolt of adrenaline -> heart is pumping too fast -> feels dizzy -> drops his head, and almost collides with another car.

    • The man veers -> slams his brakes -> and the car skids until it collides with the back of a parked truck

    • The crash causes the man to smack into the steering wheel, and his head is bleeding -> Gets out -> sees the damage -> collapses -> has a heart attack and dies.

Notes 32 55
Notes (32-55)

  • Flashback:

    • Eddie’s 8th birthday

      • Eddie is mad that he has to go somewhere on his birthday and doesn’t think it is fair

      • He knows he is supposed to be sad, but instead is mad, and counting down until it is over.

      • Little does he know that he is at the Blue Man’s funeral, the man he unknowingly killed

The first lesson
The First Lesson

  • Eddie thinks he is in heaven for justice, to pay for his sin.

  • Blue Man is really there to teach him something.

  • Lesson 1: There are no random acts in life. We are all connected.

  • Fairness is not involved in life and death.

  • Eddie was at his funeral and didn’t even know it.

  • The good from the Blue Man’s death is that Eddie lived.