Tuesday, December 17, 2013

“The First Phone Call from Heaven” by Mitch Albom – The Power of Belief

The First Phone Call from Heaven” by Mitch Albom – book cover
The First Phone Call from Heaven is a rather unique and peculiar novel written by Mitch Albom, focusing on the citizens of a small town who have allegedly started to receive phone calls from those in the afterlife. As far as the people are concerned, the calls seem real enough and there is not a single indication that it may, in fact, be a hoax.

Finally, someone decides to find out once and for all what is really happening there, and that someone happens to be a single grief-stricken father by the name of Sully Harding. As he sets out on his journey, we come to realize that there may not be a black-and-white resolution to this whole affair, and that maybe, just maybe, the human mind is more powerful than we give it credit for.

Those of you who have read The Five People you Meet in Heaven should know what to expect from Albom this time around, at least in terms of writing style. It is very heartwarming, calmly-paced and soothing, all while at the same time evoking many powerful emotions out of you. Sully’s quest brings us closer and closer to him, to his thoughts, feelings and his mind, to such a point where we, the readers, feel as if his story in relation to the whole phenomenon is the one that really matters.

The other characters surrounding him are no less interesting to study, as each one basically represents a different way people would interpret such a situation in real life. The story itself is quite the emotional rollercoaster, but remains quite satisfying with the mystery of whether or not the whole thing is a hoax being a real nail-biter.

As one would expect with Albom, this book wasn’t written to simply tell a story and then be forgotten for evermore. It is also a reflection on just how powerful our ability to believe can be, and how it can influence our perception of the world, and in the end, the course our lives take. In addition, the book is also an exploration of how we would react to an ability to actually contact those who have passed away, what the afterlife may be like for them, and our innate desire to avoid that dimension of life as much as possible.

All in all, The First Phone Call from Heaven is certainly a book unlike most others, providing a touching, emotionally-charged and entertaining story while at the same time reflecting on a number of heavy themes. This is the kind of book you need to read multiple times to get the most out of it, and I definitely recommend it to those who have a fascination for the concept of the afterlife, or are looking for a surrealistic story dealing with human nature.

Mitchell David "Mitch" Albom (May 23, 1958)

Mitchell David "Mitch" Albom

Personal site

Most know Mitch Albom through his most famous books, The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays with Morrie, but the man born all the way back in 1958 has had a long and diverse career as a journalist, screenwriter, broadcaster, musician, dramatist, and radio show host.

More of the Mitch Albom's book reviews:
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
The Time Keeper
Tuesdays with Morrie
The Five People you Meet in Heaven
For One More Day

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