Monday, November 19, 2007
Morrie Schwartz was a college professor in philosophy at Brandeis University for many years. One of his students in the 1970's was Mitch Albom. Morrie, "Coach," and Mitch became good friends over those years. Then Mitch graduated and went on with his life, too busy to keep in contact with his professor.
Almost twenty years later, Mitch is now a sports newscaster and writer. He and his wife are part of America's fast lane of life, doing well and striving for yet more. Then he watches Nightline one night. Ted Koppel is interviewing Morrie. And Mitch is surprised to discover Morrie is dying. He has ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Morrie is delighted to hear from Mitch again, and immediately invites him to visit. Thus begins a fourteen week, every Tuesday, visit and life lesson. It is also a funny and poignant life lesson. Morrie is able to take a look at life not only from the philisophical view he has taught over the years, but now also from the "end of life" viewpoint. He is a peace with himself and can share that peace and knowledge with Mitch and the others around him.
This book is a collaberation between Morrie and Mitch. They taped their visits each time Mitch visited. They discussed the big questions of life (what is love, living, death, marriage, a relationship) to the small ones (what's for lunch, how's your wife, how's your son, and the war in Bosnia). Mitch rediscovered the relationship that had never been broken. Morrie rediscovered his old friend. Also, Morrie was able to use this time to do what he loved, teach. The last line of the book is the perfect epitaph "A teacher until the end."
The book hits the right note - not too depressing because it deals with death, yet not irreverent or lighthearted to cover up death. Instead it is a wonderful chronicling of friendship and life questions. It is a short read, and worth it. Mitch is able to portray Morrie so that the professor once again is alive (and dying) for the reader.
I'd been putting off reading this because, as you know, there are too many books and too little time. I'm glad I finally made the time. This one will be worth a revisit as well. Morrie Schwartz' life philosophies help keep a person's perspective and keeps him grounded .
It also gets you pensive as to what our priorities are ?