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The First Phone Call From Heaven Hardcover – 12 Nov 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 230 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (12 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847442269
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847442260
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.8 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Mitch Albom sees the magical in the ordinary (Cecelia Ahern)

Beautiful and smart. Perhaps the most stirring and transcendent heaven story since Field of Dreams (Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook)

A beautifully rendered tale of faith and redemption that makes us think, feel and hope - and then doubt and then believe, as only Mitch Albom can make us do (Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain)

Book Description

The number one New York Times bestseller -- a stunning and inspirational new novel from the bestselling author of The Five People You Meet in Heaven and Tuesdays With Morrie.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Mitch Albom but his last book, The Time Keeper, whilst good, left me disappointed. His books are normally hard to put down due to how short his chapters are; you find yourself saying I'll just read one more chapter... and then you read another and another and next an hour has passed by. But The Time Keeper suffered from ridiculously short chapters to the point where what could be one chapter was split into four for no logical reason. Also whilst I've always enjoyed the way his books feel like a life lesson, The Time Keeper almost seemed smug with its message at times.

Fortunately his latest book improves on both of these faults. Not only are the chapters of a sensible length the content is much less preachy whilst still managing to send across a message and move you.

As with a lot of his previous work the novel has a spiritual theme running through it but, whilst I myself and not a spiritual person, I still managed to engage in it. The novel deals with faith, loss and finding purpose in life after loss and it deals with it all very well. When I first began reading the novel and discovered that one of the characters was a recently released prisoner and another a priest I feared the characters were going to veer into stereotypes but luckily all of the characters were well constructed and relatable.

I think this novel is up there with Albom's best and is well worth a read.
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Format: Hardcover
Reading this book and knowing the author's beliefs is a little like discovering C. S. Lewis's meaning behind the Narnia books. They work well as novels, with interesting characters and plots, magic realism and whimsy, until you discover that actually, it could all be proselytising. That's not to say they aren't enjoyable.

I've enjoyed Mitch Albom's books before, even being aware that his beliefs differ from mine, and not had a problem with his stories, enjoying them for their entertainment value and interesting stories. Here's another good plot: the first of several people in US small town Coldwater, Tess, receives a phone message from her mum. Her mother is dead, however. Later that day, other residents also begin getting calls from loved ones who have died - a sister, a son, a work colleague.

What is going on? Are they really getting calls from Heaven?

The fun part for me was the media circus that quickly descends, bringing pilgrims and protestors, traffic and business into this small, shocked town. And the questions: are people lying or deluded? How is it happening? Just what about the content of these very short and cryptic calls?

The main characters are really Katherine Yellin, who can't believe she's not the only one getting calls (after all, she's the most devout), talking to her much-loved sister. There's Amy Penn, the journalist who wants to use Coldwater to make her name and career. And there's Sully, just released from a spell in prison for his part in a plane crash who is also grieving for the wife who died whilst in a coma during his confinement. Sully's son Jules desperately wants his mum to call him, but Sully is adamant that it's all a hoax.
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Format: Kindle Edition
What starts off sounding rather evangelical in tone develops into a surprisingly compelling mystery novel based on an original idea. The premise is that several residents of a small American town start receiving phone calls from dead loved ones who claim they are in heaven, sparking a media frenzy. The story follows these residents and others closely affected by the events. It is told in the third person, and is an easy read. It's not particularly 'literary' in style, and it retains a good pace throughout.

The hero of the story has an interesting backstory that is gradually revealed. Interestingly he is in fact the most sceptical character in the book, who ultimately sets out to disprove the supernatural origin of the calls. The other characters are fine without being particularly loveable or dislikeable. They never stood out as very 'real' to me, not because they are unbelievable but because they feel like cardboard cut outs. Each comes with a neat potted backstory and trots along fulfilling their set role in the unfolding action without coming alive on the page as individuals in their own right.

The author makes clear in his acknowledgements that he himself is a Christian, and certainly the book has a strong Christian ethos throughout, however it is not 'preachy' as such and can be enjoyed by a non-believer or adherent of other religion. What initially seems to be a story about the afterlife in fact turns out to be much more about living people and how they cope with grief, as well as getting in a good sub-theme about the media and its influence on how events unfold in the modern era.

Plot wise, it zips along with a good pace and is very gripping towards the end.
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Format: Paperback
When I read the first page of this book, I actually had to stop and take deep breaths. It was memorizing. A woman just misses getting to her phone before the answering machine clicks in...

Too Late.
"Ach, this thing," she mumbled. She heard the machine click on her kitchen counter as it played her outgoing message.
"Hi, it's Tess. Leave your name and your number. I'll get back to you as soon as I can, thanks."
A small beep sounded. Tess heard static. And then.
"It's Mom... I need to tell you something."
Tess stopped breathing. The receiver fell from her fingers.
Her mother died four years ago.

Now, that is what I call a first page. I was hooked. This is Mitch Albom's sixth book, including Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I had high expectations, based on these previous works but the opening lines were promising.

Coldwater, Lake Michigan is a sleepy town, close to the Canadian border, and like many rural communities, is struggling in these difficult times. Shops have closed down, unemployment is heavy and the moral is at an all-time low. Things take a dramatic turn when many of the residents of Coldwater start receiving phone calls from their loved ones who have passed away. The calls are intimate, heart wrenching and full of spiritual hope. The town is bustling again as people travel far and wide in the hope of contacting their own lost ones. Business is booming again and the churches are packed to the rafters. One man who has mixed feelings about these calls, and their effects, is Sully Harding. Having lost his wife in a tragic accident, he already carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.
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