Guest Post: Review of Tuesdays With Morrie
Stuart’s friend Russell has been kind enough to write us a fantastic review:
By the time I got to The Twelfth Tuesday, I was sitting on the couch crying. Few things bring tears to my eyes, and I never expected Morrie’s story to be one of them. This book is deep (while being a light read), emotionally powerful, and incredibly personal. The words of a dying man exhibit great gravity, for indwelling them are the wisdom of a lifetime, the sobriety of reality, and the freedom of truth. Morrie Schwartz was a professor at Brandeis University, and this book’s author, Mitch Albom, his student. Albom frames the book as being the culminating assignment of Morrie’s final class: “It began after breakfast. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience… The last lecture was brief, only a few words. A funeral was held in lieu of graduation” (1).
Morrie Schwartz, the old professor or “Coach” as Albom affectionately calls him, is suffering from ALS, also know as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which slowly paralyses his body before finally ending his life. Instead of wasting away quietly and out of sight, however, Morrie embraces his final months, making an impact on this world that has clearly extended past his earthly life. I will leave the full discovery of the person Morrie up to you as you pick up the book. What I would like to highlight below are a few moments that I found particularly significant.
” ‘Remember what I said about finding a meaningful life? I wrote it down, but now I can recite it: Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning’… I jotted some of the things Morrie was saying on a yellow pad. I did this mostly because I didn’t want him to see my eyes, to know what I was thinking, that I had been, for much of my life since graduation, pursuing these very things he had been railing against…” (127).
“But everyone knows someone who has died, I said. Why is it so hard to think about dying? ‘Because,’ Morrie continued, ‘most of us all walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully, because we’re half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do.’ And facing death changes all that? ‘Oh, yes’… He sighed, ‘Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.’ ”
“I felt as if I had a pit in my throat. ‘Coach?’ ‘Ahh?’ I don’t know how to say good-bye. He [Morrie] patted my hand weakly, keeping it on his chest. ‘This… is how we say… good-bye…’ He breathed softly, in and out, I could feel his ribcage rise and fall. Then he looked right at me. ‘Love… you,’ he rasped.”
Saying goodbye on a beautiful spring day in 2012 to my Auntie Etta, a close friend of my family through four generations, was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. And the toughest part of it all was when she said those very words, as clear as day, through all the difficulty of speaking after her stroke: “I love you.” Tuesdays with Morrie addresses both the richest joys of life and the harshest realities and trials of departure in an unashamed, vibrant, and honest light. It is not overly sentimental. If you have lost someone close to you at any time in your life, this book will bring back a flood of wonderful memories; even if you have not, Morrie’s words are sure to touch your spirit. This is not a genre I would typically pick off the shelf – but it is a book that you most certainly should.