#14 – The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Spiritual
Page Numbers: 327 pages
Dates Read: 1/19/14-1/21/14
Plot in three lines or less: What if the end is not the end? Something odd is happening in Coldwater, Michigan. Several of its residents are starting to receive calls from the afterlife. Is it a miracle or one giant hoax? Sully Harding, a disgraced pilot recently out of prison and who is himself a widower and single father, is absolutely determined to get to the bottom of this miracle-fever that is sweeping his town and the world. It’s a beautiful story about the power and importance of belief in something beyond ourselves.
New read or re-read? A new read.
Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely recommend anything that Mitch Albom has written, and I would most certainly read this one again.
Favorite Line: There are too many to name. Here are just a few.
“If you knew what comes next, we never would have worried.” / “Once you have a sister, you never stop having her, even if you can no longer see or touch her.” / “You have to start over. That’s what they say. But life is not a board game, and losing a loved one is never really ‘starting over.’ More like ‘continuing without.’ ” / “They teach you, as children, that you might go to heaven. they never teach you that heaven might come to you.” / “Fear is how you lose your faith, a little bit at a time. What we give to fear, we take away from faith.” / “All blessings do not bless the same.”
Is there anything in it that you did not like? Nothing so much with the story itself as with one of the characters, which to me is a good sign of how well I connect with the story. Sully, the main character, refuses to be taken in by the miracle going on around him, and there was part of me that just wanted to shake him for it. I know true belief about anything cannot be forced upon another person, but there are so many times when I just wish I could show people what’s on the inside of my mind and heart when it comes to the things I believe, because if they saw what I saw, it would make sense to them. The other thing I didn’t like was how the media was portrayed in this event, but that is only because I found it to be an accurate depiction of how the media handles everything these days – over-hyped, over-sensationalized, and never with grace or complete truth. They eat the stories up, and usually don’t bother to see who it is they are destroying to get to their end goal in the process. There is a particular moment in the book when someone within the media puts up a boundary, and it was as though I could breathe again.
Why did I pick it up? Mitch Albom has been one of my favorite authors since my college days. I’ve made sure to get just about every book he’s written since then, and I can truly say that I haven’t been disappointed. This book just came out around the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday, so of course I got it for myself and read it as soon as I possibly could afterwards.
Other Notes? Mitch has also managed to interweave some of the history surrounding the telephone into this story, which was interesting to read. Being that I am not that big of a fan of actually using the phone (for various reasons that aren’t the nicest), it was good to see it from this positive viewpoint. And he ends the book [in the acknowledgement section] with one of the most beautiful lines of all: “We may not know the truth about phones and heaven, but we do know this: in time, He answers all calls, and He answered mine.”
Grand Total: 71