The relationship between Mitch and Morrie in this gem of a book is deep and multi-layered, as all true relationships are. On the one hand, it is a relationship between a valued teacher and a receptive student. Morrie had been a favorite professor of Mitch’s at Brandeis University in Boston some sixteen years prior. In the intervening years, Mitch had moved to Detroit and become a journalist. The two men had lost touch, but Mitch returns to Boston to see Morrie when he learns of Morrie’s ALS diagnosis. At this point the relationship deepens into a mentor-mentored relationship, a father-son type relationship, and a relationship between an older man of wisdom and a younger man ready to absorb that wisdom during fourteen weeks of visits together on Tuesdays.
But the relationship is so much more than all that. It is a relationship of friendship, honesty, trust, acceptance, and love. It is a relationship built on an examination of a life fully lived that includes transcendence and flaws, and the passing on of the wisdom that comes with it. It is a passing on of what is important, what needs to be paid attention to, and what is just detritus. And, as Mitch learns, although life ends, relationships do not.