Sunday, December 29, 2013

Book Review: The First Phone Call From Heaven

The blurb on the inside cover is quite a bit to live up to: "From the beloved author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven comes his most thrilling and magical novel yet - a page-turning mystery and a meditation on the power of human connection." While it was good and definitely read quickly, I wouldn't agree that it is his most thrilling book. I think I preferred For One More Day and The Five People You Meet in Heaven to this one.

When the little town of Coldwater, Michigan, begins receiving phone calls from deceased loved ones in heaven no one knows what to make of it. There are numerous responses. Some believe and are thrilled to have a renewed connection. Others are skeptical and believe it must be a hoax. Still others are terrified by the disturbing calls and try to ditch their phones so that they will no longer be forced to face the past.

Woven through the seams of this little story, the author shares the history of Alexander Graham Bell and the invention of the telephone.  And what if we could hear loved ones calling again from heaven? Who would you want to receive a call from? What would you want them to tell you? Would this phenomenon inspire hope in you?

With a cast of characters, each with a story and a reason for hope, the small town becomes a mecca for others who want to become a part of this media frenzy and modern miracle.  One particular character, a disgraced pilot who has recently returned from prison to Coldwater, is intent upon discrediting the story. The suspense builds as he gathers evidence and tries to dissuade his own son from eagerly awaiting a call from his mother.

Although it was an interesting premise and a well-plotted book, I wasn't overly-thrilled with the ending and didn't really connect with the story as well as I had hoped. Still, I would say it is a worthwhile read and certainly an inspirational story in keeping with Mitch Albom's usual fare.

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