Friday, November 23, 2012
Book review: Tuesdays with Morrie
Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.
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.
"Tuesdays with Morrie" is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.
Before reading this book, I knew that it was a book everyone loved, and that's about it. I'd heard it described in ways that led me to believe it was life changing, one I'd want to read over and over again.
My feeling after reading?
It wasn't bad. I didn't ever want to quit reading it. But it wasn't life changing, either.
Morrie is wise. I agree with pretty much everything he says. We (everyone) should be more focused on family and people, less ambitious about money and power. What really matters is the way you treat people, the interactions you have with them, the effect you have on them.
But really, of all the lessons Mitch learns from Morrie, that's the only one that stuck with me. I couldn't tell you any of his other wisdom because I don't remember it. (and I read it very recently.)
Maybe I'm seeing it too much through my own creative writing experience.
If you've done any classroom creative writing, I'm sure you've heard the phrase "show, don't tell." And I wonder if maybe that's why none of it stuck with me -- it's great to hear an old man tell me all the things he's learned about life, but I think they would stick with me more if I'd actually known Morrie, if I could see him living his life that way and see what it actually looks like.
I also know that creative non-fiction isn't always completely true. That sounds like stating the obvious, but many may take this book as absolutely true. Morrie was interviewed for national television and you can still find those videos, and Mitch Albom constantly talks about the tape recorder he used. But even if we were both there in the room, my perspective of events might not be the same as Mitch's. So I guess I'm also wary of that (as I would be in any memoir or piece of non-fiction).
So, like I said above, I didn't hate it. But I didn't love it.
Have any of you read Tuesdays with Morrie? Was it what you were expecting?