The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Eddie’s older brother. During their childhood, Eddie has to fight bullies for him because Joe doesn’t like to fight. As teenagers, Joe resists their father’s pressure to work at Ruby Pier, and instead works at the town swimming pool. Joe is a disappointment to their father, who thinks of him as unmanly. Joe mostly fades from the story after he and Eddie grow up, except for rare visits and calls that leave Eddie feeling jealous. Joe becomes a salesman and makes good money. He buys a condo in Florida and plans to retire, but then dies from a heart attack.
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Joe Character Timeline in The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The timeline below shows where the character Joe appears in The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...to Eddie’s childhood, when he brutally fought another young boy in defense of his older brother Joe—a story kids at Ruby Pier still tell one another. Back in the present, Eddie... (full context)
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...over her shoulder as she waved goodnight. Eddie went home that night and told his brother Joe that he was going to marry Marguerite. In the present, Eddie has a coughing... (full context)
Chapter 7
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Eddie is seven years old, playing ball with his older brother, Joe. The ball rolls into the road, and Eddie runs after it. The ball rolls... (full context)
Chapter 12
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...In front of all their family and friends, including their visiting cousins from Romania, Eddie’s brother Joe announces that Eddie met a girl the night before whom he plans to marry.... (full context)
Chapter 19
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...recovering in a Veteran Affairs hospital, after being returned home from war. His mother, father, brother, Marguerite, and Mickey Shea come into his room with a cake, singing “Happy Birthday.” Eddie... (full context)
Chapter 20
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...bit older, his father habitually came home drunk late at night, went into Eddie and Joe’s room, and beat them with his belt, blaming his financial troubles on his kids. Eddie’s... (full context)
Redemption and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...a fight and bragged that he was the winner, or when he defended his older brother from bullies. When Eddie was a teenager and he went to work with his father... (full context)
Chapter 27
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
It is Eddie’s thirty-eighth birthday, and he is in the maintenance shop with his brother, Joe, who has a new job as a salesman, making good money. Eddie is rife... (full context)
Chapter 30
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...and days, talking and walking through Marguerite’s world of weddings. Eddie tells her about his brother Joe’s death, about his life working at the park, and about how the park has... (full context)
Chapter 34
The Connection Between All Humans Theme Icon
The Cycle of Life and Death Theme Icon
The Value in Ordinary Life Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...birthday, Eddie takes a taxi to the cemetery and visits the graves of his mother, brother, briefly his father, and finally Marguerite. He thinks of her, and of how even though... (full context)