I did not want to read this book. I thought, oh no, another fluff self-help common sense book. I must say, I was wrong and pleasantly surprised. It is a lovely book about finding or returning to one's roots, about having something to believe in that acts as an anchor and about two very interesting men of G-d who got there following very different roads. Sincerely, if I had been exposed to a Rabbi like Albert Lewis, I think I would probably have stayed closer to my background and remained in the fold. Likewise, I am sure Pastor Covington's approach is just as magnetic for those that follow his preaching.
Mr. Albom was asked by the rabbi, to write his when he died. It was a strange request. His death was not imminent but he was of an advanced age and knew it was coming. The eulogy he delivered does not compare to the magnificence of the eulogy to him presented in this book. This Rabbi was special and so was his view of life and G-d.
I wonder, though, exactly why Albom put the part about Pastor Covington in the book at all. The story of the Rabbi would have stood well on its own. Another book could also be devoted to Covington's story and stand well on its own but his story seemed to end abruptly and unless the purpose was to show two very different paths to G-d, I am not sure what it was. I felt left hanging about Pastor Henry's future path although his circumstances did improve as the book ended.
Also, from some of the comments I have heard from people who know or have been involved with Albom, I wonder if his purpose wasn't more self-serving than altruistic. At first, he seemed pompous and arrogant, truthfully. He held himself above it all. He loved his Rabbi, but it felt like he was laughing at him, behind his back. Also, I think he could have done far more for the Pastor's plight, then he did either personally or with his foundation. He did not seemed that bothered by the conditions of the church except to motivate himself to write articles which brought him more recognition for a long period of time before the church's plight was finally acknowledged and addressed. His writing served a wonderful purpose but it took a long time to get results and I wondered why he didn't try harder, personally. He has been described as self-serving to me and I felt he might have been a bit too much like that in his presentation of the facts and his behavior.
Nevertheless, his behavior is not on trial here nor is it the issue. He wrote a wonderful little book about a Rabbi who exhibited a marvelous approach to life, his religion and his congregation and also about a Pastor searching for redemption.