It's about a guy named Eddie who was dissatisfied with the kind of life he led. He's 83, and still the head maintenance man at an amusement park called Ruby Pier. He blames the fact that he didn't amount to much on circumstances in life. Eddie dies tragically while trying to save a little girl on a ride. When he reaches heaven, he must first meet five people who either changed his life or had their lives changed by him. He learns that even though he was "just a maintenance man", he had a profound impact on those he met along the way, whether they were family members, friends or just people who walked past him on at Ruby Pier.
A reporter from the Atlanta Journal Constitution said, "It's impossible to read this book and not wonder who your own five people would be and what answers they would have for your life." Yeah, I've thought about it. But Eddie's five people weren't necessarily obvious, so maybe mine wouldn't be either. And I think that's the point to the book - we have an impact on people every day, whether it's obvious to us or not. It could be a janitor from your elementary school that you said "hello" to every morning. You probably didn't think much about it, but to him it may have been something he looked forward to every day. Or it could be the lady you screamed at on the interstate for going too slow or for not looking before she changed lanes in front of you. (I don't know that I understand how anyone could scream at another person on the interstate, so this is purely speculative on my part.)
My dad was talking with one of my uncles recently about living in a small town. He said something like, "It must be hard to live in a town where everyone knows all the dirt on everybody else." My uncle said, "It's not too bad. You just have to keep from doing the 'bad' things that make people want to talk about you." Pretty good advice, huh?
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not always concerned about how people react to things that I do. But after reading this book, I've got a feeling I'll look at things a little differently. Everything you do in life leaves a good or bad effect on someone else.....or on at least five people.....