This is the third in what is apparently becoming a series. I have previously complained about the lack of information on the open internet about the night Cronkite stood up, and Patty/Kathy from the Patty Duke Show being quaternary cousins. And now, I complain that no one has pointed out the startling similarity between Testimony of Light: An Extraordinary Message of Life After Death by Helen Greaves (1969) and Defending Your Life written/directed Albert Brooks.(1991).
If you haven’t seen the film, stop here. If you have, ask yourself if the premise of the film doesn’t sound a lot like this scene from the book (condensed for space reasons):
Suddenly [there appeared] a cinema or television screen. Pictures began to emerge on it. They showed moments of stress, moments of triumph, moments of failure in the earth life of Doctor X. We saw patients; we watched him in his diagnoses; we followed him to the theater and witnessed his operations…
The pictures on the “screen” went on and on.
We were taken into the homes, lives, families of those on whom the Doctor had performed his successful operations. We saw the benefit to humanity, the healings, the resumption of happy, useful lives which were the results of this man’s skill.
To be fair, I wrote to Albert Brooks, and his assistant responded he’d never seen the book. And, I find that “life review” is a widely discussed topic, usually in the context of “my life flashed before my eyes” at the moment of death. But it is sufficiently out there that Brooks may simply have absorbed it and repeated it, something which may also have happened to Greaves.