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First Phone Call From Heaven Unabridged CD, The Audio CD – Import, 12 November 2013
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One autumn day, the phones in Coldwater, Michigan, begin ringing. The people calling are all departed loved ones. They say they are calling from heaven. On that same day, Sully Harding is released from prison for a crime he may not have committed. During his incarceration, his wife passed away. He returns to Coldwater a brokenhearted man, hoping to quietly rebuild his life with his young son. Instead, he finds his hometown gripped by miracle fever. As the mysterious phone calls increase, outsiders flock from around the world in hopes of sharing the blessing. When his son begins to carry a toy phone awaiting a call from his mother, Sully has had enough. He sets out to prove that the Coldwater phenomenon is a hoax. But is it? Or could this be the world's greatest miracle? A heart-stopping mystery and a meditation on the power of connecting with a loved one you cannot see, this is Mitch Albom's most thrilling and magical novel yet.
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About the Author
Mitch Albom is a bestselling novelist, a screen-writer, a playwright, and an award-winning journalist. He is the author of six consecutive number-one New York Times bestsellers and has sold more than thirty-four million copies of his books in forty-two languages worldwide. Tuesdays with Morrie, which spent four years atop the New York Times list, is the bestselling memoir of all time.
Albom has founded seven charities, including the first-ever full-time medical clinic for homeless children in America. He also operates an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He lives with his wife, Janine, in suburban Detroit.
- Publisher : HarperAu; Unabridged edition (12 November 2013)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0062306421
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062306425
- Item Weight : 181 g
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 1.27 x 12.7 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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The book has a lot of characters. In fact, I felt the characters were too many, and there were multiple viewpoints provided, which kind of gets overwhelming at times. Some views don’t seem that important in the bigger picture of things. All the characters are from diverse backgrounds. The best character out of the lot was definitely ‘Sully’, and his story is the most interesting of all. There’s also a story about Alexander Graham Bell, intermingled with the original story. The story touches upon his invention of the telephone.
The book provides wonderful insights into how people respond to quirky things, things that are out of the ordinary. It also showcases the role of media, in sensationalizing various events. When I picked this book, the expectation was that it would be more of an inspirational and thought-provoking book. The book has its instances where one can reflect upon, but it definitely is more like a mystery/thriller type of book. The whole aura created by the phone calls is one of mystery.
Mitch’s books are mostly inspirational, about life and lessons learned, about belief in God. Just like in real life, where some people believe in the concept of an afterlife and even reincarnation, there are others that dismiss such concepts right away. The same thing happens in the town as well, when people start receiving phone calls from heaven. There are some who completely believe that their loved ones are actually calling from the afterlife. While there are others, like Sully Harding, who dismiss the whole thing as a hoax and are determined to find the truth. As the ‘chosen ones’ received phone calls from heaven, more and more people start coming to the town, as the news spreads like wildfire. There are media persons all over, police dealing with so many people, grocery stores running out of the stock. The particular phone used by the ‘chosen ones’ – even that goes out of stock because people believe that they can get calls only through that particular phone.
Whatever happens throughout the story, at the end of it, we must ask ourselves, if we really wish to believe the story or not. I know, on a more realistic level, such things can be passed off as complete rubbish. But for a second, if everyone really did believe in this whole theory of heaven, maybe, just maybe, the world can be a better place. Maybe we’ll start cherishing what we have right now. Life is full of surprises, and we are really lucky to wake up every day. Although, you have to dig deeper within the story, to figure out these subtle lessons provided in the book. The words and thoughts presented in the book, are far beyond the story itself.
Things that didn’t work for me – there were just too many characters. I think it would have been nicer if characters were lesser, but better developed throughout the book. Also, the stories keep jumping here and there, due to different points of view provided.
Favorite Quotes from the Book –
- “There are two stories for every life; the one you live & the one others tell”
- “You have to start over. That's what they say. But life is not a board game, and losing a loved one is never really "starting over." More like "continuing without.”
- “Desire sets our compass, but real life steers our course.”
- “Sometimes, love brings you together even as life keeps you apart.”
- “sometimes what you miss the most is the way a loved one made you feel about yourself.”
- “No soul remembered is ever really gone.”
- “Faith, it is said, is better than belief, because belief is when someone else does the thinking.”
- “That’s the thing when people leave us too suddenly, isn’t it? We always have so many questions.”
- “You don't miss things. You miss people.”
- “So often, we push away the voices closest to us. But once they're gone, we reach for them.”
- “Sully: I never said good-bye. Giselle: Such a needless word when you love somebody”
Overall Rating - 4/5
This book has one story but it actually has numerous stories. Every 'week' takes care of all the characters in the book, revealing about their past, their present, and their plans for future regarding these strange calls from heaven. I loved every bit of this book.
P.S. I love to read books on 'out of the box' topics, so this book was a blessing for me.
Top reviews from other countries
The themes are explored beautifully, and provides food for thought on the subjects of loss, grief, and religious beliefs without taking any particular stance, and goes deep without being depressing or sombre. The experiences of the characters, their emotions, and the community reactions are more important than the actual narrative, because there's plenty to think about, feel, and explore even if there are points where the story doesn't move along too much.
I found myself highlighting lots of great quotes, and it's well written. I would have given 5 stars, but there were some slower moments and an ending that I wasn't too keen on (most likely personal taste, though). I'd still recommend, both to religious and non-religious people alike, as a great exploration of human behaviour and experiences.
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.
I think the reasons are there are a lot of characters in this book therefore a lot of point of views which at times got frustrating as I wanted to get back to the stories of the main characters one being Sully and his son. The back story of Alexander Graham Bell and his love was a really nice addition and blended in well with the story. It is a book that makes you think, it centres around love and grief the emotions are believable and the ending is open for your own interpretation.
All the way throughout the book Albom also tells the story of Alexander Graham Bell and his invention of the telephone. It was interesting to find out more about Bell’s life as well as how exactly the telephone came to existence. With some surprising details on the way!
I really enjoyed this book, it is beautifully written and so easy to read. Every single word in the story is there for a reason – it’s like Albom chose each word with great care before he put it down in writing. There are no unnecessary details and the characters are very carefully crafted. I was hanging onto every single word.
I loved everything about ‘The First Phone Call from Heaven’ and I will definitely read other Mitch Albom’s book. They have something in them that makes you see the world around from a different perspective and notice things that you haven’t paid attention to before. They’re a real treat for the soul.