Tuesdays with Morrie Summary

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom


Tuesdays with Morrie is a non-fiction account of Mitch Albom's conversations with his former teacher Morrie Schwarz, who died from ALS. Mitch first met Morrie while majoring in music at Brandeis University where Morrie taught classes in sociology. Mitch enjoyed Morrie's first class so much that he continued to take every class that he taught. When Mitch graduated, he lost touch with his professor until he saw Morrie on an episode of Nightline, in which Ted Koppel talked to Morrie about his disease and how Morrie felt about death and dying. Mitch renewed his relationship with Morrie by flying out from Detroit to visit Morrie every Tuesday in his home in Massachusetts. At this time Mitch worked as a journalist, mostly writing stories about sports. He became interested in what Morrie had to say and started bringing a tape recorder to their discussions. Later Morrie encouraged him to use the topics of their talks to write a book about Morrie's thoughts. This book is the result.

Morrie was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 1994. He first noticed something was wrong when he began falling for no reason. He taught one last semester in college before he retired. Also known as Lou Gherig's disease, named after the famous baseball player for the Yankees, the disease slowly incapacitates its host by working its way up the person's body. Soon Morrie could not walk, then he could not move his body, then he lost use of his arms before he struggled to breathe. He died within two years of his diagnosis.

Mitch uses many flashbacks throughout the book, some to his own youth, others to Morrie's. He remembers being in college and taking Morrie's classes, which he considered a bit too touchy-feely sometimes. He gave Morrie a briefcase as a gift at graduation. He tells about Morrie's childhood, losing his mom at an early age and struggling to have a relationship with his father.

Mitch continues to think of Morrie as his teacher, or coach, as he often called him throughout their conversations. Morrie teaches Mitch many aphorisms, or words of wisdom, throughout the novel. Morrie's lessons all focus on love and spending time with people instead of spending money. People should forgive more, accept more, and judge less. Morrie encourages Mitch to share his feelings with others, not to worry about society, and don't be afraid to cry.

Throughout the story, Mitch mentions current events of the time, such as the O.J. Simpson trial, which caught the attention of millions of Americans. Mitch remembers watching the shocking verdict from Morrie's house during one of their visits together.

As Morrie's health deteriorates, Mitch begins to help out more. He will move him from his wheelchair to his bed, massage his limbs, and later pound his back to help his breathing. Ted Koppel returns for two more interviews with Morrie because the first one was so successful. Morrie receives hundreds of letters from people looking for advice or someone to listen to them.

Morrie occasionally mentions faith in his discussions. He considers himself Jewish though he borrows from many faiths. He believes in reincarnation and that the world has a limited amount of energy. He decides to be cremated when he dies and have his ashes put in a pretty spot where people can come and visit. Morrie does not worry about death because it is a part of life. He knows his words and memories will live on in the hearts of those who loved him.

Morrie encourages Mitch to reconnect to his brother whom he hasn't seen in many years. Mitch tries to call his brother in Spain, but his brother won't respond. Finally, at the end of the book, Mitch's brother sends him a fax, which makes him very happy.

After fourteen weeks of visits together, Mitch and Morrie share words of affection before Morrie passes away. He dies quietly in his home the way he wanted to. He has a small memorial service because he already gave himself a living funeral when he was still alive so that he could hear all the nice things that his friends had to say about him. Mitch notices that Morrie's funeral is held on a Tuesday, which was always their day together.

Mitch calls the novel his "final thesis" that he wrote based on the class that Morrie taught about life and how to live it. Mitch will never forget the impact that this amazing teacher had on his life, and he wrote the book in the hopes that Morrie could continue to impact other people's lives too.



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