Published by HarperCollins on 2013-11-12
Length: 336 pages
Reviewing Audiobook, eBook from My Book Shelf
The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief - and a page-turner that will touch your soul - Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.
Readers of The Five People You Meet in Heaven will recognize the warmth and emotion so redolent of Albom's writing, and those who haven't yet enjoyed the power of his storytelling will thrill at the discovery of one of the best-loved writers of our time.
The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom was a heart-breaking read that left me in tears, happy tears…but still tears 😉 I’m always blown away by this author’s writing. He is able to instantly draw readers in with his conversational writing style and the characters stick with you long after the book is finished. In this particular book, it isn’t just one character but an entire town and its inhabitants that break your heart and stitch it back together. The opening chapter ends with these lines:
It was the day the world received its first phone call from heaven.
What happened next depends on how much you believe.
How much you believe. This is the theme for the story that Albom tells of a town that begins receiving phone calls from family members beyond the grave. They claim they are in heaven. The calls only come on Fridays. Only 6 people receive the calls. This mysterious phenomenon becomes the talk of the entire world as reporters from all over flock to the small, fictional town of Coldwater, Michigan. I was entranced as the story is told from multiple points of view, including news reports. I loved this detail! Hearing the story as if reported on the news added a realistic quality.
Not everyone in the town is convinced though. Sullivan Harding, one of the main characters, has just been released from prison. His wife died while he was in there and really he hasn’t had a proper chance to grieve. His character breaks my heart. He’s a man who has lost his faith, his identity, and is just trying to find a way when he catches wind of these phone calls. Rather than buying into it as the rest of the community has, he questions them. He wants answers and is suspicious. So Sully begins his own investigation into the mysterious phone calls from Heaven.
The mystery surrounding the phone calls and the question of faith drives Albom’s novel. I was fully invested and like Sully a little suspicious. Why all of a sudden are these people reaching out from Heaven to call their loved ones? Why did no one else question it? My heart broke for the characters receiving the phone calls. When you think you are moving on, learning to live again after the death of your loved one and now they are calling you, making you miss them all over again….heartbreaking! If you enjoy a good mystery, I highly recommend you grab a copy of this book. It is well worth the read!
*Note: I alternated between reading and listening to this book. I have to say I enjoyed listening! The author reads his own work and he is quite the story teller.