Title: Tuesdays With Morrie
Author: Mitch Albom
Publisher: Sphere Publication
An old man, a young man and Life’s Greatest lesson
That’s what the cover page of the book reads, describing the book perfectly.
We all have had at least one teacher in our lives that we love and cherish forever more than others. If you do have their memories, then this book is sure gonna make you reminisce them.
Who is the author?
Mitchell David Albom (born May 23, 1958) is an American author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, broadcaster, and musician. His books have sold over 39 million copies worldwide. His other best-sellers include ‘The five people you will meet in heaven’ and ‘For one more day’. Having achieved national recognition for sports writing in the earlier part of his career, he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books, plays, and films. Albom lives with his wife Janine Sabino in Detroit, Michigan.
This book of his is more of like a thesis that he writes along with his teacher on the subject ‘Life’. What I liked about this book is the way the author has given constant flashbacks to his college days in between the story. Somewhere in between, his readers will connect to it. The simplicity of the story is absolutely stunning.
Tuesdays with Morrie is a biographical, philosophical, Memoir. It is like a thesis that the author writes with his teacher one last time sitting in his bedroom, by his deathbed.
On one hand, it gives you lessons on life in general and on the other, it will make you cherish the small things that we usually ignore and teach you how to find happiness in those day to day small moments. The author has taken extra care to keep the language as simple as possible and that’s the beauty of this book.
What is the structure of the book?
This book allots each lesson a chapter. So whichever chapter you open, the reader doesn’t feel lost and always gets to learn something. The author has included numerous examples from his experience to make us understand better. This book will make you go back to your school/college days and put a big smile across your face. You will also realise how happy and good can each day be if we just change our perspective a bit.
Why is the book titled ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’?
As I said earlier, this book is like a thesis of the last lesson. The author and his mentor like to call themselves ‘Tuesday people’, that’s because even back in college, they used to meet on Tuesdays to discuss the progress of the class and talk in general and also now when one of them is dying, they decide to meet on Tuesdays and discuss life. There couldn’t have been a better title for this book as this perfectly describes what this book is all about.
What is the book about?
This book is about two people and their relationship with each other and with life.
Mitch (Mitchel Albom) and his teacher, Morrie Schwartz.
Mitch works as a newspaper columnist and a broadcaster. He is good at what he does and is one of the top journalists in his profession. He doesn’t talk much and has limited friends. Mitch was really close to one of his teachers, Morrie, and credits him for his success.
Morrie Schwartz was Mitch’s counsellor and mentor while he was in college. He is a fun guy who is bigger than life and always makes one feel at home and ease. He also helped Mitch write a few theses, and discover his talent for sports column writing.
The story begins with Mitch remembering his lovely college days and how he reached where he is today. After a normal day at work, he returns home and switches on news to get some updates. While changing the channels he comes across one in which he sees his favourite teacher -Mitch giving an interview to a very famous host about him dying and how he is not at all sad but happy about the whole process.
He is immediately taken aback and falls into a huge well of memories and starts remembering his college days. While doing so he realises that he hadn’t been in touch with his mentor for more than 16 years and now he is dying. He immediately makes up his mind to go and see him.
Upon reaching outside his porch after a long flight, Mitch feels a rush down his spine and immensely scared to go and face him. He feels to be in dilemma about the reaction of his teacher upon seeing him after soo many years. Would he be angry? Would he be shocked or just happy?. Mitch takes some time in his car and lets that feeling dissolve. After a while, he gathers his courage and walks out. To his surprise, by this time Morrie has already come out to get some sun in his garden. And when he sees Mitch, he fills up with joy. Morrie hugs him and welcomes him with a warm smile.
Initially, Mitch feels a bit embarrassed for not being in touch and breaking his promise to his teacher of always coming back and catching up with him, but Morrie just says that it’s alright and he doesn’t hold any hard feelings.
After that meeting, Mitch decides to go meet his teacher regularly and spend as much time as possible. They decide to meet on Tuesdays just like old college days and just talk their hearts out.
Initially, Mitch gets his teacher a lot of his favourite food, but with time he realises that due to his teacher’s fatal illness he(Morrie) can’t chew much of the food he got and had to survive more on liquids.
After a few meeting, Morrie asks Mitch for a favour. He says that why doesn’t he (mitch) write a paper/book on these Tuesday meetings in the form of a thesis for the last lesson with his teacher. Mitch immediately agrees with him and they jot down the topics they want to talk about.
Morrie grows weaker with passing time and so Mitch starts recording his voice as memos for his book. In between these sessions, mitch is constantly taken aback with the aura of Morrie. There he is dying a bit every day, but he’d never let that stop him or make him sad or sympathetic towards his condition. Mitch thinks this was some kind of a super-power that Morrie has, to stay happy even in tragic times.
Their meeting becomes fun and each Tuesday they would talk about something or the other. Their topics of discussion include the world in general, life, death, feeling sorry for yourself, regrets, family, love, marriage, culture, forgiveness and finally the perfect day to die.
In between these meetings, Morrie gives some more live interviews and manages to win a huge load of love and support from all across the world.
Mitch feels happy seeing the love his old professor was getting, but at the same time, he knows that his time was coming to an end real soon.
He makes sure he does everything his teacher asks him for. In the process, he learns a lot about himself too. Mitch realises how he used to ignore the small moments and things in life that actually made him happy and how life is such a beautiful journey. He learns that death can be beautiful too even if it’s painful only if we see it in a bit different way.
Mitch feels hurt for not keeping in touch with his mentor for a long ling time, but at the same time, he feels happy that he is with him in these moments of his life.
With each passing day, Morrie becomes weaker and finally comes the day he can’t even move. He lies on his bed and has to be assisted even for bathrooms. Mitch feels terrible seeing him this way but he(Morrie) asks him not to. He explains to Mitch how it’s a part of life and has to happen eventually.
In his final days, Morrie makes a wish to meet Mitch’s wife the love of his life, and Mitch abides. That day Mitch falls in love all over again with his life, his teacher and his wife. In his last lessons, Morrie talks about what could possibly be the perfect day to die and where he wants to be buried. He leaves the rest to Mitch about how would he write this thesis of his.
Even after his last class, Mitch keeps meeting his professor regularly and one day, he finds him dead. Morrie has all his close family and the people he loved around him when he breathes his last breath. This is what he wanted and Mitch feels a bit happy that he fulfilled his wish.
The author has conveyed great messages through this story. Here, sharing all of them –
- Each student is special in a different way and needs a bit of special treatment to discover his/ her special gift.
- Death is a part of life and a beautiful one if you learn to see it with a different perspective.
- Everyone needs a special teacher, professor, a parent or grandparent who acts as a friend to them and help them when they are struggling with life and themselves.
- Finally, the author asks his readers one closing question- that ‘Did you have such a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine?’
If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. Sometimes it’s only in your head. Sometimes it’s right alongside the bed.
In the end, through Mitch, the author did ask one question,
Are there any such teachers left?