The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom

ImageMitch Albom brings yet another voice to his audience, eight voices this time, claiming to be from heaven. Just imagine, receiving a phone call from someone who is no longer with us, hearing that voice people often wish they could hear just one more time. In this story, that is exactly what is happening as various towns people of Clearwater, Michigan begin receiving mysterious phone calls from deceased sisters, friends, partners, and acquaintances. What at first seems completely unreal becomes a reality for eight people, each unsure how to share their story without sounding completely bonkers. And when the media swoops into this small community, each recipient is put in a precocious position to share their story, facing local pressures and protesters as well as a constant full court media press.

For the skeptical townsfolk, this entire event seems completely absurd. Sully Harding, ie Mr hard to the world, is the leading skeptic. Having suffered the loss of his wife while imprisoned, he wishes for nothing more than to hear her voice just once more, but cannot fathom that this miracle would come from a cell phone. With his strong military background, he begins dissecting angles of these phone calls, cell carriers/providers, access to the families that have deceased members calling. In the meantime, he is now a single father, dealing with what that entails, and his own son carries a plastic phone in the hopes that his mother will call.

In today’s world of technology, it almost seems feasible that this could occur. Cell towers, data bases, storage and hard drives, servers. Often we hear of cell towers being pinged, police utilize this all the time, tapping texts and voicemails to solve crimes. Our privacy is no longer our own, but then, what if heaven called. The story has some lovely twists and turns and is a charming little story, but I felt the integration of Alexander Graham Bell into this story was a bit much. Likewise, I enjoyed the characters, enjoyed walking through the town, visiting the library, attending the town meeting in the gymnasium…it was reminiscient of growing up in my own small town! I loved the irony in seeing the believers vs. nonbelievers, one of the oldest arguments on the table.

Cute story though I felt Mitch mailed the end in…while I appreciated the final phone call and its timing, it felt kind of corny. Likewise, the final paragraph about singing a note and having the piano vibrate the sound…the story had ended so to me, that last piece seemed overkill. Albom is a good writer, his characters and stories easy to read. I enjoyed the book but still feel like he mailed in the end…


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