Friday, February 14, 2014

First Phone Call From Heaven; Mitch Albom

Harper Audio - 2013

Mitch Albom's latest novel, First Phone Call From Heaven had an interesting premise, just the idea of a loved one communicating with us from heaven gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling. The truth is I started this audio book in January but was having a hard time with it so I took a few weeks off from it and then tried again.  This time I did finish, but found it to be a struggle. I read Tuesdays With Morrie (loved that NF story), but this work of fiction just didn't work for me. The audio version was read by the author and I thought he did an okay job.

For those who haven't read this one, several residents of a small town in Michigan begin receiving phone calls from relatives who have passed on, and soon a media circus follows. Why were certain people chosen to receive the calls, and are they real or some sort of a cruel hoax? The calls are brief, lasting only a few minutes, and they seem to come on the same day of the week.  One non-believer, Sullivan (Sully) Harding, an ex-navy pilot is struggling with his own demons. His wife died in a car crash on the day he crashed a plane.  He blames himself for his wife's death, which left him with a young son who misses his mom deeply. He's determined to find out where the calls are coming from and prove this is all a hoax.

Although some of the characters in the story were somewhat interesting, the story is dialogue driven which made the flow seem awkward and sentences short and choppy. Based on the subject matter, I was hoping for a story that would pull at the heartstrings, but that just didn't happen. There was also some history about Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone patent, which I found to be mostly annoying. Unfortunately, I can't recommend this one.

2/5 stars
(audio book)


  1. I bought this book but have yet to read it. I bought it because the author is local (Michigan), so there were lots of events during his tour for this book, and I thought I'd go to one and have him sign it. He does a local radio show, and I listen to it most days.

    As it turned out, I didn't get to one of the events. But I'll just go to a future event the next time he writes a book. I regret buying it now, but it's not a total loss if I get his signature later. Author book signing events are one of my favorite things to do.

  2. That really is too bad especially with such an interesting premise.

  3. What a bummer!! Have you read his Five People You Meet in Heaven? Loved that one! Tuesdays with Morrie was just OK for me but I think I was too young at the time (college freshman).

  4. I read this one and really liked it. I hardly listen to audios as the narrator's voice, even if it's the author's, distracts me and may even ruin the book for me, in some cases. There have been audios I've heard, where the voice matched the novel very well and were enjoyable.
    Book Dilettante

  5. I loved Tuesdays with Morrie (I remember sobbing in the bathtub as I finished the last page), but like you, don't care for his fiction. Think I'll skip this one.

  6. Too bad it didn't work for you Diane. I really enjoyed it and liked the author's narration. That's the way it goes though with books - it just depends on how a book feels to us I think.

  7. I loved Tuesday too and read his next one and was meh about it. Jason has listened to them all and liked this one least. I think the only parts he thought were interesting were the Bell parts, LOL.

  8. What a shame that you didn't enjoy it, but some books you just can't connect with for whatever reason.
    I loved The Five People You Meet in Heaven too, as Trish mentioned. Maybe you'd enjoy that more.


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