Thursday, November 07, 2013

The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

 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.

Sully Harding also took notice. A former pilot, he had been in prison when his wife died. Now, he's trying to start over as a single father of a young boy, Jules. And, when Jules asks when they're going to receive a phone call from his mother, Sully is angry. He's convinced the phone calls are a hoax, and, now his son is a victim. In order to prove the phone calls are phony, Sully does research at the public library. There must be something linking all of the people who claim to receive calls.

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 His Facebook page is  You can find him on Twitter at

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.


Beth Hoffman said...

I've not read Mitch's work since Tuesdays with Morrie, but I think I should pick this one up.

Lesa said...

Some very interesting thoughts in this one, Beth. I'll be interested to know what you think.

Nancy said...

I have several of Mitch Albom's books. Just the other day it occurred to me to reread them, but since there's a new book out I may need to read that, first. Or, instead. I seldom reread a book. So many books, so little time. His books are thought provoking, for sure.

Lesa said...

Then, it's time to read a new one, Nancy. And, if you like it well enough, it might prompt you to go back and read some of the earlier ones.

Lori's Reading Corner said...

I'm starting this one today. Looking forward to it.

Lesa said...

I hope you enjoy it, Lori!

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

"What happens next depends on how much you believe." I love this sentiment!

Thanks for being on the tour.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Heather, for including me! I love that sentiment, too.