Mitch Albom's interest in life, death, and what happens after death has translated into a few well-known bestsellers. There's Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day. Now, in The First Phone Call from Heaven, he says, "But now and then, a miracle is declared to the world. And when that happens, things change."
One Friday, a few people in Coldwater, Michigan answered their phone to find a deceased loved one on the other end. In most cases, the deceased assured the surviving relative or friend that they were fine. It was beautiful there. When the phone call came on a second Friday, each recipient had a different reaction. For one it was a feeling of peace. Another was desperate to receive a call, and didn't want to leave the house for fear of missing a phone call. And, when two people stood in church and announced they had received phone calls from heaven, the world took notice.
Albom tells the story of the changes in people and the community of Coldwater through the experiences of half of the people receiving calls. However, as a journalist himself, he also tells the story through the eyes of an ambitious reporter who comes to Coldwater and befriends one of the women who proclaimed she had heard from heaven. As the interest in the phone calls spreads, outsiders arrive in town; the media, the faithful who come to worship, the protesters, and representatives from the Catholic Church. The phone calls are the biggest thing ever to happen in town, and some people are eager to take advantage of the attention.
Mitch Albom challenges readers in each of his books. Do you believe in heaven? Do you believe some people communicate with the dead? Do you believe in miracles, and what is a miracle? Not everyone accepted the phone calls as miracles, and there was suspicion about some of the people. "You might think a person who brings proof of heaven would always be embraced. But even in the presence of a miracle, the human heart will say, 'Why not me?'"
The First Phone Call from Heaven is another one of Albom's thoughtful, inspiring novels. He leaves belief or disbelief up to the reader in this intriguing story. And, the storyteller in Albom says on the day the world received The First Phone Call from Heaven, "What happens next depends on how much you believe."
Mitch Albom's website is www.mitchalbom.com. His Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/MitchAlbom You can find him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MitchAlbom.
The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom. HarperCollins. 2013. ISBN 9780062294371 (hardcover), 272p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy of the book in order to participate in the TLC blog tour.