Tuesdays with Morrie

Mitch Albom

Rating 4/5

I read Albom’s The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto and could not help but immediately lay my hands on one of his most sold works — Tuesdays with Morrie.

TWM, for all practical purposes, is a self-help book. But a wonderfully well-written one at that. And one that doesn’t get pedantic while doling out some well meaning advice at the same time.

While The Magic Strings… is a fictional work but seems real, TWM seems surreal despite being a true incident of Albom’s life. It is surreal because for most of us going through the motions of our lives it is hard to believe that a connection like the one between Albom and Morrie can exist.

Albom reunited with his teacher after a 16-year gap when he came to know that the latter had ALS, a degenerative neurological disease, leaving him only a few months to live. After their first meeting, he flies down every Tuesday (a day they used to meet when in college as well) and sits with his ailing teacher as the latter talks of things from money to marriage to forgiveness over a period of 14 weeks.

Being on the death bed, he says, has given him the kind of clarity he never had in his life. “When you learn to die, you learn to live well”.

His teacher’s words make Albom understand a lot that his missing from his fast paced life, and the underlying futility of running after ephemeral pleasures. To be fair, with the copious amounts of well meaning advice available on the internet and otherwise, little that is said in the book is novel.

What, however, is moving is listening it in one place from a man who, by the end of it, is struggling to lift a finger. His enthusiasm for life and his acceptance of impending death is amazing. It is heart breaking to hear how he feels himself lucky to have got to say his final good-byes, and more so when he eventually says them.

In the spirit of a true teacher, he was eager to give out every bit of his wisdom to an ear that was willing to listen. And besides the many ways Morrie touched Albom’s life, his last gift in the form of this book made Albom the well known writer he became later.