Book #10: The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom

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I decided to go audiobook for my 10th book.  I borrowed this from my local library and it gave me the opportunity to get oriented with their digital lending through the website- it is so awesome that you can borrow audiobooks digitally! I hadn’t done this before- what a treasure trove. Going to be taking full advantage of this.

I have never read any Mitch Albom, though I know he is a very popular author in the United States. This was the only book of his available on a whim, and it felt like it might be something pretty light-hearted, which is something I really needed this week. It sort of was, though I wasn’t awestruck by this novel at all. It was fine.

I am glad I listened to this instead of reading it, since for me the prose were not especially impressive. I will be completely honest that I didn’t really pay attention the entire time I listened to this because I didn’t have to. The story is very simple and it was only a 7h audiobook. I definitely got the story but I am not sure I understand the draw to Albom’s writing.

The story, as the name implies, is about a series of individuals who start receiving phone calls from deceased loved ones on their cellphones. It seems completely miraculous. Not everyone receives calls and all those who did (there are 6 people) are locals in Coldwater Michigan. One woman, Katherine, gets up in church during service and announces to the congregation that she has been receiving calls from heaven.

Essentially what happens is the story gets a lot of media attention and becomes sensationalized. People from all over start coming to Coldwater to try to get their taste of a miracle call. There are lots of debatable ethical issues you can start wondering about like profiting off of the publicity, and so on.

Eventually Katherine says that she will publicly air the next phone call she receives from her dead sister and the other 5 people receiving calls will also be on stage at this time. A local, Sully, who lost his wife but has not received phone calls is very skeptical and knows the thing must be some kind of hoax. He spends time through the novel trying to figure it out. Eventually he does, of course, at the same time on the same day that Katherine is airing her call.

The backstory about Sully is a little long and I don’t think necessary for me to draw out, especially if you decide to read this.  Suffice to say, there are some twists and turns and the book itself is enjoyable though for me overly simplistic.

This was a fine way for me to finish the challenge- I am really satisfied with my reads over the summer. It was touch-and-go whether I would finish or not, but I am glad I persevered.  With ModPo starting on Saturday, I am so relieved to have a day to unwind!

Overall rating: 3/5

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