By Kathryn Moore
The phone rings. You pick up. Chills cover your body. The voice is all too familiar; it is your deceased loved one. The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom explores a religious conspiracy in a small town. The characters experience a phenomenon in which the townspeople of Coldwater, Michigan, receive phone calls from loved ones who have passed away. People nationwide are determined to uncover the truth of the miracle, and Sully Harding, one of the main characters, prevails in this conquest.
Albom’s novel dives into the lives of various individuals who receive phone calls from the afterlife. The variety of personas allows the reader to interpret the miraculous events through different eyes. Sully Harding is a widowed father who is forced to overcome the reality of losing his wife, Gisele. He must explain the unexplainable occurrences to his young son, Jules. Tess Rafferty is the first woman to receive a phone call. The single middle-aged daycare owner first shys away from the contact, but eventually confides in Jack. Jack Sellers is the police sheriff who receives phone calls from his deceased son. Finally, Katherine Yellin is a woman who receives phone calls from her sister, Diane. The characters face the decision of whether or not they should publicize the supernatural occurrences. Will anyone believe them? Will the phone calls stop occurring?
Mitch Albom’s novel The First Phone Call From Heaven is comparable to his other novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which tells the tale of Eddie, a pier maintenance worker who dies on the job. The story ventures through Eddie’s journey in heaven, as he encounters five individuals who have had a vast impact on his life. Although both novels focus on the concept of heaven, each has a different structure. The First Phone Call From Heaven does not have one main character, as the perspective shifts from chapter to chapter. However, The Five People You Meet in Heaven focuses on one individual and his relationships with other people. This difference in structure creates a contrasting experience for the reader.
Albom’s novel encourages the reader to view the world through a different lens. The words fly off the pages and fill the reader’s mind with overwhelming thoughts surrounding their loved ones and the afterlife. As a person from a small town who actively practices religion, I am captivated by the idea of religious miracles. Although this mystery may cause someone to question their religion, Albom’s novel prompted the opposite reaction from me. My relationship with God was strengthened, and I discovered a new sense of warmth. The novel begged me to hold my loved ones tight and to never take anything for granted.