Title: "the five people you meet in heaven"*
Author: Mitch Albom
Copyright Date: 2003
The book starts off with the death of Eddie. Eddie was an average man. He was the Head Maintenance Engineer at an amusement park, Ruby Pier. He dies in a semi-heroic attempt to save a little girl, as an amusement ride plummets hundreds of feet down to where the girl is standing. Eddie, who has a bad knee wounded from the Vietnam War, makes a last ditch effort to save the girl. The last thing Eddie feels is a pair of hands. He awakens to see himself back at same location, but in a different time, in the 1920's. Eddie is a child again.
Eddie meets his first person, the first step to getting to heaven. The person is the Blue Man, a sideshow attraction. Eddie finds out that he was responsible for this mans death, even though he was only a child at the time.
The second person is Eddie's commanding officer from Vietnam. Eddie's third, is a lady he had never known. The lady's name was Ruby. The fourth person Eddie meets is his wife, who died when she was forty-seven years old. The fifth was a small Asian child.
When Eddie was in Vietnam, he was captured, and was held as a P.O.W. Eddie and his unit was forced to do various tasks, like gathering coal to help the enemy's war efforts. He endured six years of this strenuous labor. One day, he decided that he had enough. They escaped that day, and torched the whole camp to the ground. Among the casualties were four guards, and the little girl. It was not intentional, and Eddie never realized he had killed a little girl until he met...