Summary: Mitch Albom has reconnected with his dying professor, Morrie Schwartz. Through their weekly Tuesdays discussions, Morrie provides Mitch with one final class: how to live.
Review: This book is basically a classic by now. Everyone has either heard of it or read it themselves. This was my second time reading this book, but the first time I’ve read it by choice. I recall not particularly enjoying it the first read through, having found it a bit dull. This time through, my opinion didn’t change a whole lot. I really wanted to like it a lot more than I did. I mean it was a very inspiring story — made even more so because of its being true — but it just was not a super engaging read for me. And I feel bad for reviewing it harshly because it was literally an interview with a dying man. So I can’t be too critical of it. I will say, despite my lack of engagement with the text, I loved the flashbacks. They provided a good sense of Morrie pre-ALS and college-aged Mitch. It was a good preview of their relationship before they lost touch and how Mitch became who he is today. I thought that they were a nice touch added in by Albom to make the story more relatable and encompassing for readers. I also really appreciated Morrie’s uplifting view on life and death. Lately, I have been contemplating life and death a lot and reading this more optimistic outlook on it all was refreshing and made me feel a lot more calm and secure about it. I do think it would’ve been for Mitch to say how his life in general has changed as a result of his Tuesdays with Morrie. His epilogue discussed Morrie, but not so much himself. I would’ve liked to hear how Morrie’s lessons ultimately impacted him and made him a better person.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommended reader: Anyone who likes:
- Life lessons
- Wise old professors
- Strong themes
- Stories about friendship
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Ideas for classroom:
- Ask the students what the quote “Love is the only rational act” means. Ask them why Morrie values this quote so much, including what it has meant to him, and what it means to him now that he’s dying.
- Ask the students why people have regrets in life. Ask what Mitch feared regretting, and how looking at one’s potential regrets can impact their life. Ask if Morrie had any regrets and why.
- Ask the students what Morrie symbolized to Mitch, and why Morrie was so important to him. Ask what about Morrie, as a teacher, made him so special that several of his former students kept in touch and contacted him. Ask what Mitch meant to Morrie, and if he was a special student, or if Morrie treated all of his students this way.
- Ask the students why Mitch chose to include flashbacks between chapters, including what they provided to readers. Ask them what the flashbacks demonstrated. Ask the same questions about the Nightline interviews.
- Ask the students what the meaning of the story was that Morrie told Mitch about the waves in the ocean. Ask what the waves and the ocean symbolize, and how it is representative of Morrie’s life at that moment. Ask how is captures Morrie’s philosophy of life.
- Ask the students who gets more out of the Tuesday meetings, Mitch or Morrie, and how they know. Ask how would Mitch and Morrie answer this question.
- Have the students compare and contrast Morrie and Mitch’s views on life and on death. Ask how they each approach both concepts, and what value they place on them. Ask what they both find makes life meaningful and what, potentially, could be the cause of their different viewpoints. Ask them who they more agree with and why.
- Have the students explain Morrie’s opinion of emotions. Ask how he thinks they should be felt and handled, including why. Ask how most people feel about this topic, and which way they believe is healthier.
- Have the students write a speech that Mitch would give for Morrie at his funeral, including what it says, and what lessons he mentions/teaches. Ask how he honors his coach.
Specifics of the book:
- Genre: Nonfiction
- Grade Level Equivalent: 5.5
- Lexile Score: 830L
- DRA: 50
- Accelerated Reader Level: 5.5 (5)
- Content Level: 7th
- Pages: 199
- Controversial Issues: Mild cussing