The titular Morrie was Morrie Schwartz, Albom's university professor 20 years before the events being narrated. An accidental viewing of an interview with Morrie on Nightline led Albom to become reunited with his old teacher, friend, and "coach" at a time when Albom, a successful sportswriter, was struggling to define dissatisfactions with his own life and career. Morrie, on the other hand, after a rich life filled with friends, family, teaching, and music, was dying from Lou Gehrig's disease, a crippling illness that diminished his activities daily. Albom was one of hundreds of former students and acquaintances who traveled great distances to visit Morrie in the final months of his life.
The 14 Tuesday visits that followed their reunion took Albom--and will take listeners with him--on a journey of reawakening to life's best rewards. The story is told in a journalistic style that never crosses into pathos. That a professional writer can write well is not surprising, but Albom also reads well, with clear enunciation and a talent for mimicry. Another reader might have interpreted the professor's aphorisms as droll humor or wrung a wrong note at an inappropriate moment, making the story a maudlin tearjerker; instead it is read for what it is, a tribute to a remarkable teacher. (Running time: four hours, three cassettes) --Brenda Pittsley