Thursday, April 5, 2012

Shortcomings of the book.

         One shortcoming of the book is its repetition. It’s understood from the start that Morrie is dying. However, it is repeated many times throughout the book. In fact, it is repeated too many times. That being said, the book is still very good, because that is the only complaint I can think of about it.

Things that are praiseworthy about the book.

          "Tuesdays with Morrie" is praiseworthy due to the fact that it is inspirational and contains many life- lessons. It definitely is a life-changing book that keeps the audience entertained page after page. It teaches the audience to cherish what they do have and that things could always be worse. "Tuesdays with Morrie" is an eye- opener and shows the importance of the people around us.

Theme of "Tuesdays with Morrie."

          Morrie teaches many lessons throughout the book. His favorite thing to do was make aphorisms. One of the ones that stuck out most was “once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.” Ultimately, the theme of the book was acceptance through detachment. Morrie at one time says "don't cling to things because everything is impermanent." Morrie knows he is dying, so he decides to detach from a stressful situation and enjoy life because at any given moment, it could end. Basically, Morrie does not want to die being upset so he looks at everything through a positive perspective.  Morrie also encourages Mitch to stop living through the media and to create his own values.

Compare/contrast to the last book I read.

               "Tuesdays with Morrie" is almost impossible to compare to the last book I read, which was "Tweak" by Nic Sheff. Besides the fact that both are non-fiction, they didn't really have much in common. "Tuesdays with Morrie" is an extremely heartfelt book, with a lot of meaning and love. "Tweak" is about the crazy and chaotic life of a drug- addict. Ultimately, it has nothing heartfelt about it and contains almost no love. The main character and author of the book, Nic, is frowned upon due to his addiction. His parents want nothing to do with him. In "Tuesdays with Morrie," the main character, Morrie, is shown almost too much love. The one major thing, and perhaps the only thing that they have in common is the fact that there were lessons learned. Mitch learned numerous lessons, as well as Nic. Also, both of them went on to share their lessons learned throughout books.

Three major Incidents in "Tuesdays with Morrie"

There are a few major incidents throughout the novel In the second chapter, Mitch is in college and it is his graduation day. Morrie was one of his professors. After the first time Morrie taught him, Mitch took every single class Morrie taught. Mitch is explaining him and his old professor saying goodbye. He handed Morrie a tan briefcase as a gift. Morrie hugs Mitch and asks him to keep in touch, and Mitch answers, “Of course.” When Mitch steps back, he sees Morrie crying. This is important because it lets the reader know the type of relationship between the two men is more than just a teacher-student one, which really sets the tone for the book. 

Jumping far forward, the next important incident is when Morrie dies. Mitch describes them saying goodbye to each other. It happened on their fourteenth Tuesday together. It is an extremely emotional chapter. Mitch tells Morrie, “I don’t know how to say good-bye.” But Morrie just moves Mitch’s hand closer to his chest, begins to cry, and replies, “This is how we say good-bye.” “Okay then?” Mitch says. “Okay then,” Morrie whispered. This was the most moving part of the book and definitely a tear-jerker moment. 

The final and most important incident took place during Morrie’s funeral. Mitch says, “At one point, when Morrie’s ashes were placed into the ground, I glanced around the cemetery. Morrie was right. It was indeed a lovely spot, trees, and grass and a sloping hill.” He remembered what Morrie said, “You talk, I’ll listen.”  Mitch then found himself trying it in his head, and he found that the imaginary conversation was almost natural. He then realized, it was Tuesday. This moment brought an immense amount of meaning to the book. It was a way of ending the book by saying everything was going to be alright

The element(s) most important to the story.

Ultimately, there are two crucial elements to Tuesdays With Morrie. The first one is character. The main reason character is crucial is because had Morrie’s being and views not been expressed so vividly, the book wouldn’t have had such a great meaning. Morrie is constantly giving good advice which essentially makes the book. For example, Morrie always says something like, "Accept who you are; and revel in it." Furthermore, had Mitch not explained Morrie’s character as well as he did, the book would have lost meaning. If Morrie were not respectable, then people wouldn’t have cared what his views on life were. 

The second important element is the series of events. If Morrie did not experience all of life’s lessons, he would not have been able to share them, and there would be no book at all today.

Mood of "Tuesdays with Morrie."

The prevailing mood of the book is mostly serious. There were not many times for laughter and or for tears. However, there was the perfect amount of both to make it right in between a humorous mood, and a somber mood. 

On the second Tuesday Mitch and Morrie met, they talked about feeling sorry for yourself. At one point in the chapter, Morrie says, “I give myself a good cry if I need it. But then I concentrate on all the good things still in my life. On the people who are coming to see me. On you – if its Tuesday. Because we’re Tuesday people.” Mitch grins, then repeats, “Tuesday people.” The moment starts off sad, with Morrie admitting to crying at times, but it ends in a smile from Mitch and a funny remark from Morrie. Frequently, moments like these happen throughout the book. In the same chapter, Mitch describes when he was helping Morrie from his wheelchair, because Morrie had lost all feeling in his legs due to his terminal illness, ALS. “Holding him like that moved me in a way I cannot describe, except to say I felt the seeds of death inside his shriveling frame, and as I laid him in his chair, adjusting his head on the pillows, I had the coldest realization that our time was running out. And I had to do something.” This is a more serious point in the book. 

Towards the end of the book, Morrie is very ill. But he still loves to talk to Mitch every Tuesday. When Mitch brings his wife to meet Morrie, Morrie is ecstatic. He tells Mitch and his wife a story of the time he stood in on a woman’s surgery just for amusement. He told them that he was about to faint from all of the blood when one of the nurses asked, “What’s the matter, Doctor?” Morrie then replied, “I’m no damn doctor! Get me out of here!” At the end of the story, the three sat there laughing together. Mitch shares his thoughts on the story and says that he found it interesting that Morrie almost fainted from watching another person’s illness, and now he was able to endure his own. The humorous story is followed by more serious thoughts. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What kind of person is Mitch Albom?

             After reading "Tuesdays with Morrie," I could not help but wonder what kind of person was behind this inspirational and moving book. Based on the content of the book, Mitch is definitely a unique man in my eyes. The fact that he wrote this moving book shows the soft side of him as a person. He comes off as a man who has meaningful values that he lives by. 

            Mitch seems like a very easy person to relate to. He seems just like the rest of the audience- inspired easily, far from perfect, and a person who has individual traits that make him himself. At the beginning of the novel, Mitch gets lost in the chaotic "media-world" and loses sight of what's really important to him. However, with the help of a father-figure, he gets his priorities back. Mitch comes across as very "people-oriented" since more than one of his books are based on the affect important people have on his life.

           Throughout "Tuesdays with Morrie," you see the change in Mitch, who serves as the protagonist. As the book goes on, Mitch learns lessons from dying Morrie. At one point, Mitch is being taught about the world, and realizes he has his priorities completely backwards. He admits to the reader that he spends too much time working rather than living for himself and for the people who mean the most to him. By the end of the book, the audience sees Mitch become more caring and selfless. He sits with Morrie in the study and actually massages Morrie’s ankles, rather than letting one of the nurses do it. This is something Mitch never would have dreamed of months before doing so, because he never cared deeply enough about a person. 

Author's purpose in writing "Tuesdays with Morrie."

              Almost everyone who has read "Tuesdays with Morries" by Mitch Albom had something positive to say about it. Amy Tan, author of "The Joy Luck Club," raved about the book. "This a true story that shines and leaves you forever warmed by its afterglow." Bernie S. Siegel shared the same thought when he quoted, "This book is an incredible treasure.. I laughed, cried and ordered five copies for our children." 

            The purpose of this book is definitely to entertain. It contains humor and sarcasm with twists of seriousness and wisdom. Primarily, the book was written to express a certain man’s views of life’s important lessons while staring death in the face. There are multiple examples throughout the book of entertainment, but a few definitely jumped out at me. When Mitch, the main character, and his former professor, Morrie meet every Tuesday, they discuss the world, their regrets in life, death, family, emotions, the fear of aging, money, marriage, culture, forgiveness, and about how love goes on. Any reader can relate to any or all of these topics. 

            "Tuesdays with Morrie" is definitely one of those books that you find yourself constantly thinking about. Coming home and cuddling up to this book for hours in my family room was definitely enough motive to get me through each school day. I read this book for pleasure, therefore, it was entertaining to me. One part I liked was the beginning when Mitch describes Morrie. He describes him as an old, grey-haired college professor. Then, he informs the reader that Morrie loved to dance, even in his old age. When picturing a college professor in my head, I see a "strictly-business" adult with a lifeless personality who does not care about many people on a personal level. My image of that changed when I saw the old, black-and-white picture on the first page of the book of Morrie dancing and smiling. In other words, the book goes beyond the text to entertain.The multiple life lessons that served as the themes of this book are definitely a form of amusement, also. 

Why "Tuesdays with Morrie" was selected.

             A few years ago, Mitch Albom, the author of "Tuesdays with Morrie" visited my dad's work in Detroit. My dad had read a few of Albom's books months before and each one had a different impact on him. However, "Tuesdays with Morrie" definitely hit home the most. My dad constantly recommended this book because it instills important life lessons while providing heartfelt entertainment. As I walked through Barnes & Noble the other day, "Tuesdays with Morrie" caught my eye. I decided there was no better time to read the book with remarkable reviews.

MLA Documentation

Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays With Morrie. New York, New York: Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, 1997, Print.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Life As We Knew It" Book Evaluation

1.  Identify a position (5)
2.  Explain your criteria, application, reasoning for your position with quoted evidence as support. Please indicate the page number of your quote in parenthesis following the quote. (10)
3.  Explain the position of the opposition and provide counterargument.  (10)

             After reading Susan Pfeffer's "Life As We Knew It," I instantly felt different. My favorite types of books are usually action- packed mysteries with an immense suspense factor, so I didn't typically think I'd enjoy a book about an apocalypse occurring. However, I was completely wrong. I recommend "Life As We Knew It" because it's entertaining and hard to put down. It also taught me a life lesson.

           I honestly felt as if I were living through the apocalypse with Miranda, the main character, and her family. I had to look outside and remind myself a few times that my world was still completely fine. At times when Miranda's family is starving and cutting back on food, I even started feeling guilty snacking on pretzels while reading. Susan Pfeffer's story- telling had a way of making me think of things that could happen if an apocalypse actually did occur. Something as simple as a wood-stove that many of us would take for granted kept the family from freezing to death.    

          The main reason I liked the book was because it taught me a life lesson. All of us go through our days nonchalantly and never notice how good we have it. Sometimes, it it easy to forget that we have electricity, food, and a stable roof over our heads. Since we've been accustomed to having all these things our whole lives, it's hard to know what life would be like without them. In the book, people all over the world face starvation, horrible diseases, and unimaginable natural disasters. However, Miranda and her family still manage to stay positive throughout it all, even when times get super tough. Towards the end of the book, Miranda's mom says “it wouldn't be New Year's without a resolution. I've resolved to take a moment every day for the rest of my life to appreciate what I have." (page 294) This is a good life lesson that made me enjoy the book much more.

        Some may say the book was too bland. However, they are wrong because it is an eye-opening disaster tale that always kept me on my toes. Although it doesn't have much imagery and go into great detail explaining events, the story line makes up for it. Its fun and exciting and really brings you in the book with the characters. Ultimately, this book is a must- read.