4 hours. 4 full hours.
That’s how long it took me to finish this short book, through Youth Camp. That means this is not going to be an extensive review on the structure and the intricate (subtle) messages conveyed. I thought this was quite a straight forward story written by an established writer.
It is not gripping, but it (the writing) flows smoothly, making it not a burden to flip the next page until you have finished it.
My quick thoughts on this (which I will address more thoroughly in Youth Fellowship, next few months):
- It brings out a very important question that was previously overlooked in popular books – death.
- It conveys the much-sought after affirmation for non-believers that death is not a problem for atheists or non-believers. Here is one who is not afraid to die.
- It conveys the message that “how you go out of this world” is more important than “where you go after this world”.
- It does not address the issue of ‘absolutes’ in life. It depends on a relativistic mindset, which strangely embraces that ‘doing good’ is the ultimate direction one should take in facing death. Does not try to address the question, why that is important, given that everything is relativistic.
- It believes that utility (hedonism) is a valid measurement even in death. Not fleshy hedonism, but could be intangible ones.
- It does not believe in judgment of God (which of course is logically given that they are relativistic in nature).
- I like the way Albom paces the chapters (each chapter is short, putting no burden in the reader’s mind). Very good way of encouraging people to read.
- Guides the thoughts of the reader, by creating emphaty, and then immersion (in the writing style). Something I will remember to use next time (in letter writing).
- It truly believes that man can change and sustain that change by themselves. Self-sufficiency is the underlying foundation that is presupposed on the reader; the issue is the ‘driver’.
- It tries to break the readers mindsets very early in the book. I recognise the techniques from the Creativity class which I thought previously in university. Edward de Bono…. hehehehe….
I think I can see why many are ‘entranced’ by the message of the book. It is a ‘hopeful’ message. It gives the reader, the inkling that ‘there is a chance to still make your life count for something’. However, significance is never by itself, devoid of measurements. This is where the logic (or the premise) falls down. The measurements proposed are relativistic, and thus, it shifts according to the person’s persona, and is not consistent for the various backgrounds which the readers will likely come from.
Positive point: It deals and brings the reader to the taboo of ‘death’ in the modern world. It wants to be honest and frank about it and not to shy away from the topic.