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The First Phone Call from Heaven: A Novel | [Mitch Albom]

The First Phone Call from Heaven: A Novel

The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief - and a page-turner that will touch your soul - Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.
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Publisher's Summary

The First Phone Call from Heaven tells the story of a small town on Lake Michigan that gets worldwide attention when its citizens start receiving phone calls from the afterlife. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. An allegory about the power of belief - and a page-turner that will touch your soul - Albom's masterful storytelling has never been so moving and unexpected.

Readers of The Five People You Meet in Heaven will recognize the warmth and emotion so redolent of Albom's writing, and those who haven't yet enjoyed the power of his storytelling will thrill at the discovery of one of the best-loved writers of our time.

©2013 ASOP, Inc. (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"The author narrates the ensuing confusion and controversy, as well as the varying viewpoints of those who believe in the messages from the dead and those who don't. Albom portrays each individual's reaction with genuine compassion. Amid the excitement and bewilderment, he's still able to keep Harding's voice familiar and deferential. Albom uses a soothing, quiet voice--fitting and purposeful--for each phone call from the unknown. Sound effects such as a phone ringing, a doorbell, and a sudden knocking sound are all effective in achieving such a thought-provoking and inspiring story." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (460 )
5 star
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3.8 (413 )
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4.0 (407 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Marci portland, OR, United States 11-15-13
    Marci portland, OR, United States 11-15-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Every Character is Great"

    I loved every character in this book. The lead character, Sully, is super well developed, you get a great sense of him as you learn about his history. The other characters in this story are what really make it great. Amy the young reporter, all the characters in the funeral home, the son, all the people getting phone calls, and I especially loved the librarian. Albom writes about people really well. I wish I could meet some of these people, I would for sure want to be friends with Amy and the librarian.

    In this book, Albom adds a fun, mysterious, story that brings all these super flawed characters together in a very believable and sweet way and makes you really care what happens to them. The story flowed really well, and there were some "whoa, I didn't see that coming" moments that made it a fun ride.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the narration. If you are a "narrator-geek" like I am, he reminds me a little of the narrator Fisher Stevens. Albom does a nice job and it adds a personal touch to have him reading his own story.

    Why not five stars? While the characters were perfect, the story didn't drive forward as well as it could have. Some of the wrap-ups in the end seemed a tiny bit contrived to me. If I could give it 4 1/2 stars I would. It's a light, fun, great read (listen) that makes you feel good about, well, everything.

    I recommend.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 11-15-13
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 11-15-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Suspense... sort of."

    I have to confess so that you know when you're evaluating this review and deciding how much weight to give it, I'm a fan of Mitch Albom's earlier work. His writing, that is. I had my doubts when I saw that he was narrating The First Phone Call from Heaven. But those doubts quickly evaporated. He's a great reader and enhanced the listen. So, kudos there.

    The other question that came quickly into my mind is what happens when a sympathetic writer (Albom) portrays an unsympathetic character (Sully) behaving unsympathetically? The answer, it turned out, was subtle, but unmistakable suspense. I fell for Sully and was really intrigued to find out where the phone calls were coming from. Heaven or hoax? The telling was skillful enough that several times I wasn't sure which answer I was hoping would turn out to be true and found myself changing sides.

    Since I'm writing this review to encourage you to listen to the book (well worth the credit, though a departure from Mitch Albom's earlier books, in content though the Albom pathos lingers...) I won't spoil the ending. I can say that it kept me engaged right through the end and, in the end, I was satisfied. I won't be surprised if I revisit this book in my library again.

    Recommend.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jen ravenna, OH, United States 11-20-13
    Jen ravenna, OH, United States 11-20-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Heaven Calling..............."

    A clean mystery about good God fearing people, Mitch Albom’s latest book was interesting and thought provoking. I am not one to guess the outcome of books and I did not in this one either. The author kept the story moving, tamed the cast of characters and allowed the reader to insert themselves in such an interesting situation. This book added to quite the discussion at our house. My favorite parts though were the little Alexander Graham Bell snippets intertwined within the story. What a basket of juicy little historical facts!!

    Mitch Albom does not have a believable voice for fiction. He comes across as a motivational speaker not a fictional story teller. Mix that with a Heaven topic and the first few chapters I had keep convincing myself over and over that I did actually have a fictional book and not something that was soon going to turn into a sermon. It doesn't. It actually turns intoa good mystery.

    I got to mention the sound effects. This book uses them A LOT. The first few chapters the sound effects verge on annoying. Then they stop or you can see a ringing phone or doorbell coming. Towards the end of the book I was listening in the middle of the night when someone knocked on the door (in the book) and jumped a foot off the bed. Totally scared me to death.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gina 11-20-13
    Gina 11-20-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Good book!"

    A great read it reminds you things are not always what they seem. The ending was great!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trish Virginia 07-13-14
    Trish Virginia 07-13-14 Member Since 2005

    I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Be Careful What You Wish For!!"

    This is another great read/listen from Mitch Albom!

    The premise is certainly intriguing, but the consequences from this type of phenomenon can be unwelcome. And then the story takes a twist ...

    I highly recommend all of this author's work, and look forward to more great books in the future--

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacy CHARLESTON, WV, United States 02-05-14
    Stacy CHARLESTON, WV, United States 02-05-14 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A little disappointed"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I have read two of Albom's other titles and thoroughly enjoyed them both. This book was disappointing. I didn't finish it to be completely honest. I kept waiting for something to happen or some great tidbit of wisdom or even something especially heartwarming, it never came, so I gave up.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The people calling from Heaven should have something a little more insightful to say. Angels should call too, at least, if not God.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MICHELLE HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC, United States 12-01-13
    MICHELLE HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC, United States 12-01-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Mixed feelings-Depends who's calling?"
    What did you love best about The First Phone Call from Heaven?

    I had mixed feelings about this one. I wasn't sure if it was going to encourage me or throw me in a state of despair. We've all lost someone right?I found the story heartwarming at times, and then conversely puzzling at others. It wasn't the storyline I found puzzling..it was my feelings.Its cleverly done Mitch Albom takes the reader through that journey . In the end I felt.... peace.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The pilot..his journey


    Have you listened to any of Mitch Albom’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes,Very well


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not an extreme reaction, but it was thought provoking


    Any additional comments?

    I gave the book to someone who lost her husband of 54 years , almost a year ago...
    It seemed to help.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gene Wengert 11-26-13
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    "Wow....enjoyable"
    If you could sum up The First Phone Call from Heaven in three words, what would they be?

    Fantastic insight indeed


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this driving from WI to SC. Fast trip. Author has a wonderful way with words and is able to covey wonderful pictures in my mind. Thanks. Another wonderful Audible experience. About halfway through, I had it all figured out, but I was wrong.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Albemarle, NC, United States 11-13-13
    Elaine Albemarle, NC, United States 11-13-13 Member Since 2010

    Totally addicted to Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just what I needed!"

    I have so tired of violence and sappy romances. This book filled a need for something different. Most of all this book is the story of something I really needed right now - faith and hope.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Nanaimo, BC, Canada 01-30-14
    Jamie Nanaimo, BC, Canada 01-30-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Okay but not great"

    Would not recommend because although I like the idea, the story didn't do it for me and the ending was awful.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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