Book 11: “Tuesdays with Morrie”, Mitch Albon

What this book did for me is very circumstantial. I was given it by one of my dearest friends, with whom I have had many a reflective and insightful conversation. She and I talk about many a thing: love, family, friendship, power, climate change, relationships, and how we like our tea. So, this book contained a beautiful parallel: Tuesdays with Morrie is also about two intimate individuals sharing ideas and learning from one another. The analogy, I regret to say, is not perfect – in the book it’s a bit more uni-directional, as the protagonist is a douche.

The book isn’t so much a novel as a guided reflection on significant issues. The titular Morrie is a uni professor dying of ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, “a brutal, unforgiving illness of the neurological system”. An old student of his, Mitch, once idolised him, but sold-out and led an unfulfulling and conventional life post-graduation. With his former mentor at Death’s door, Mitch rekindles a relationship with Morrie, and they discuss certain concept: regrets, death, emotions, money, culture…. Morrie is pretty damn wise and generally just lays it down. Mitch laps it up. Thus the value of the book is not at all in the plot, and hardly even in the relationship of Morrie and Mitch. Rather, it lies is the wisdom, the life lessons, that, chapter-by-chapter, Morrie shares.

These lessons aren’t profound. Or, to be clearer, they are profound but aren’t counterintuitive or shocking. They are neatly expressed and axiomatic and there’s a lot to be said for that. As for me, I’m generally cynical; I don’t want your Messiahs or gurus. That said, this book’s presentation allowed me to read and accept Morrie’s contributions willingly. (Pertinently, the book is essentially true: there was a Morrie, he did say powerful things. This makes it a lot better.) Further, much of what Morrie said I felt I knew already. I realised though, this could be, in fact, because my friend was shaped by her own reading of this book and has in turn shaped me. A beauteous thought.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a poignant and touching read worth your time. For anyone coming to terms with deaths, or life, or beginning to want to live deliberately, it would be especially so.


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