Mitch Albom, author of the best-seller Tuesdays with Morrie, continues to write inspirational books exploring faith and humanity. I find his books easy to read with simple plots and sympathetic characters, but each also has a message that lingers.
The First Phone Call from Heaven takes place in a small Michigan town. One morning three different people receive phone calls from family members who have passed away. A short conversation–maybe just a phrase–but sending the message that they were communicating from heaven.
That same day Sullivan Harding is released from prison.
The plot jumps from the history of the telephone to Sully’s story of why he went to prison to the growing interest in these heavenly phone calls.
Sully is is trying to carve out a normal life–a life shared with his young son, Julian, but without his beloved wife; a life as an ex-convict, not a respected Navy pilot. The calls intersect directly with Sully when Julian starts questioning when he is going to get a message from his mom. Julian doesn’t see the difference between Sully going away to prison and coming back, and his mom dying and not coming back. Sully determines to get to the bottom of where these calls are really coming from so his son doesn’t hold out false hope for his mom’s return.
Meanwhile the calls themselves are gaining national attention. A small-time reporter gets the first interview with a women who received a call from her deceased sister. The video goes viral, throwing the small town into chaos as more and more people come to witness the miracle phone calls.
The plot reminds me a little bit about the movie Heaven is for Real, which Chris reviewed a few weeks ago. The phone calls are either real or a complete hoax depending on what you believe. Albom explores the ramifications from many different angles–the individuals receiving the calls, the religious community, the news outlets, the believers, the unbelievers, the curious. And like I said, it will leave you thinking long after you finish the book.
Check with WRL catalog for The First Phone Call from Heaven