The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom
A Novel

73%

33 Critic Reviews

This brisk, page-turner of a story climaxes at Christmas. Another winner from Albom; this book just about shouts “Give me for a holiday gift.”
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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.

 

About Mitch Albom

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Mitch Albom was born on May 23, 1958 in Passaic, New Jersey. He graduated from Brandeis University in 1979 with a degree in sociology and earned his Master's degrees in journalism and business administration from Columbia University in New York City. Albom is a best-selling author, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for the Detroit Free Press, nationally syndicated radio host for ABC and flagship station WJR-AM in Detroit, and television commentator. He is the author of several bestselling books, including Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Oprah Winfrey produced a major television movie for ABC based on Tuesdays with Morrie that aired in 1999 and won four Emmy Awards in 2000. The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day were also turned into popular ABC television movies. Albom has been named the #1 Sports Columnist in the Nation by the sports editors of America. During his storied career, he has received more than 100 writing awards from AP, UPI, Headliners Club, and National Sportswriters and Broadcasters Associations, as well as had his work appear in numerous publications, such as Sports Illustrated, GQ, Sport, The New York Times, TV Guide, and USA Today. Albom hosts two radio talk shows for ABC. He broadcasts from WJR-AM in Detroit The Mitch Albom Show and The Mitch Albom Show on the Weekend. The Monday Sports Albom, a sports interview program, has hosted guests from President Gerald Ford to Wayne Gretzky to Dennis Rodman. Albom is a panelist on ESPN's Sports Reporters and a regular contributing commentator to that network. Albom has also twice served as a network Olympic commentator, for ABC's Good Morning, America during the Atlanta Games and for the CBS Early Show from the Games in Sydney, Australia. Albom is an accomplished songwriter, lyricist, screenwriter, and playwright. He has founded two charities in the metropolitan Detroit area. The Dream Fund, which Albom founded in 1989, allows disadvantaged children to become involved with the arts and A Time to Help, founded in 1998, brings volunteers together once a month to tackle various projects in Detroit, including staffing shelters, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, and operating meals on wheels programs for the elderly. Albom serves on the boards of various charities, including CATCH (Caring Athletes Team for Children's and Henry Ford Hospitals), Forgotten Harvest, and Michigan Hospice Organization. In 1999 he was named National Hospice Organization's Man of the Year.
 
Published November 12, 2013 by Harper. 321 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Biographies & Memoirs, Children's Books, Education & Reference. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jan 05 2014
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The First Phone Call from Heaven
All: 33 | Positive: 25 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Good
on Aug 29 2013

Framed by short anecdotes relating to Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone, Albom’s story unfolds in reportorial-style sketches, right up to a double-twist conclusion. A sentimental meditation on "[w]hat is false about hope?"

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Sep 09 2013

This brisk, page-turner of a story climaxes at Christmas. Another winner from Albom; this book just about shouts “Give me for a holiday gift.”

Read Full Review of The First Phone Call from Hea... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Kathrine Moser on Dec 22 2013

This was not one of Albom’s best books. It was something I could put down and get back to…eventually since at times it was boring.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on Nov 15 2013

The impact of THE FIRST PHONE CALL FROM HEAVEN will vary from reader to reader, but there is no question that you’ll take away something. If nothing else, it may just provide some excellent food for thought about doubt, faith, heaven, and the power of forgiveness.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Carolyn See on Dec 19 2013

...too many interchangeable characters, weird plot devices, dangling modifiers, the passive voice used for half-pages at a time, the verb “mumble” used over and over again. The author credits God for every word he writes. Which isn’t fair to God.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Margaret Flanagan on Dec 01 2013

Perennial best-seller Albom ponders the nature of miracles in another thought-provoking, discussion-promoting tale.

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The Bookbag

Good
Reviewed by John Lloyd on Nov 01 2013

The fact that the plot is equal to the premise, for once, and the author's talent equal to his intentions, means this is one of the better novels of the year.

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Huffington Post

Good
Reviewed by Shastri Purushotma on Dec 03 2013

The fact that Mitch Albom's latest book, The First Phone Call From Heaven, has shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list is a testament both to his excellence as a writer and to the yearning in the hearts of millions to understand what counts in life and the mysteries of what happens after our physical death.

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DNA

Good
Reviewed by Karishma Attari on Feb 16 2014

Albom’s novel is not a challenging read that will make a reader rethink one’s argument, rather it is a sweetly written article of faith. There is no philosophical bone to gnaw on in this novel.

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Keizertimes

Above average
Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer on Dec 06 2013

Yes, this book is predictable but it’s also entertaining, uplifting, and it can be shared with pretty much anybody. And if that’s what you need to read this week, “The First Phone Call from Heaven” is a good call.

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Richmond Review

Good
Reviewed by Shelley Civkin on Feb 14 2014

Whether you’re a believer or an atheist, this novel will definitely touch your heart. A combination of mystery, history and faith, Albom has produced a story that will engage people of all faiths.

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That's What She Read

Below average
Reviewed by Michelle on Nov 07 2013

For those with doubts or no belief whatsoever, the novel is more a prettily-written crime novel, one where the motive for the crime makes very little sense. The connections between the various characters are a bit too convenient...

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Lesa's Book Critiques

Above average
Reviewed by Lesa on Nov 07 2013

The First Phone Call from Heaven is another one of Albom's thoughtful, inspiring novels. He leaves belief or disbelief up to the reader in this intriguing story.

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Quick Book Reviews

Good
on Dec 17 2013

All in all, The First Phone Call from Heaven is certainly a book unlike most others, providing a touching, emotionally-charged and entertaining story while at the same time reflecting on a number of heavy themes

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BlackFive

Good
Reviewed by Elise Cooper on Nov 25 2013

The First Phone Call From Heaven is a very powerful read for those that want to believe that “the end is not the end.” Anyone who lost someone will take comfort in the faith that there is a possibility that someday they will be able to continue hearing from a loved one.

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Novelicious

Above average
Reviewed by Kay Brooks on Feb 10 2014

This book contains elements of the mystery genre as Sully tries to discover the origin of the phone calls whilst maintaining his composure. His tragic past makes him a compelling character and the reader, whether a believer or not, is fully behind him in his quest for the truth.

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Peeking Between the Pages

Excellent
on Nov 26 2013

The First Phone Call from Heaven comes highly recommend as do all of his books. He is one of my favorite authors and this newest book of his just topped my list of favorites for the year!

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Drey's Library

Below average
Reviewed by Drey on Nov 18 2013

I liked some of the characters, their emotional journey throughout this story, how real they are. But I felt like they were predictable, and there wasn’t any true depth to them. I wanted more, but got pages of history instead.

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Alison's Book Marks Blog

Good
on Oct 31 2013

Albom is a wonderful storyteller, creating fascinating characters that live and breathe beyond the page. There is much to discuss after reading this gem of a book, but I'm going to leave you to read it yourself and discover this tale of love, friendship, truth and faith all on your own.

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Reviews From The Heart

Excellent
Reviewed by Heart2Heart on Nov 17 2013

It's guaranteed to keep you wondering long after you finish the final page. In my opinion, this one hands down gets a 5 out of 5 stars.

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TLC Book Tours

Good
on Aug 21 2013

Part mystery, part allegory, The First Phone Call from Heaven is a heart-racing page-turner and a soul-fulfilling tale of faith, hope and love.

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Reading Glutton

Above average
Reviewed by Paul Mastin on Nov 13 2013

The message isn't particularly powerful, the lessons aren't particularly deep, and the writing isn't particularly compelling or artful. But Albom tells a nice story, sure to be enjoyed by many.

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Crazy for Books

Above average
on Nov 15 2013

Readers can expect more than a few surprises along the journey. Though The First Phone Call from Heaven cannot be called a classic, it has, nonetheless, proved Albom’s mettle as a writer of straightforward novels that are both compelling and comforting.

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Utah Mom's Life

Above average
on Nov 14 2013

The mystery behind the calls and Sully's investigation was the most engaging part for me. The ending was a bit odd but ultimately satisfying. Fans of Mitch Albom and readers looking for a feel-good story will enjoy The First Phone Call From Heaven.

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Of Books and Boys

Below average
Reviewed by Wendy on Dec 29 2013

Although it was an interesting premise and a well-plotted book, I wasn't overly-thrilled with the ending and didn't really connect with the story as well as I had hoped.

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My Bookshelf

Good
Reviewed by Shirley on Dec 17 2013

The First Phone Call From Heaven is a great choice for a book club selection because it begs to be discussed and pondered. The plot will remain in your minds long after that last page is turned.

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The Savvy Reader

Good
Reviewed by Shannon on Nov 30 2013

My favourite parts are when Mitch weaves in the history of the telephone, and why it was invented. It really made me think about all the reasons we pick up the phone, and why it’s so important sometimes to hear someone’s voice.

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Suko's Notebook

Good
Reviewed by Suko on Dec 09 2013

The First Phone Call from Heaven is an incredibly inspiring story about what happens to people when they hear from their deceased loved ones.

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Lavish Bookshelf

Good
on Nov 30 2013

Readers will be challenged to think about how they would react if they received a call from heaven. For that reason alone, this book would make for a very interesting book club choice.

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One Book At A Time

Below average
Reviewed by Page on Nov 13 2013

In the end, this wasn't exactly what I had hoped it would be. But, it really does have all the qualities that Mitch Albom is known for. I think plenty of people will connect with it more than I did.

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Walking with Nora

Good
Reviewed by Nora on Dec 05 2013

The book really takes off halfway through and I couldn’t put it down. It seemed appropriate to read this as the holidays close-in as it’s a reminder to love those around you, both in-person and in spirit.

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Songs of Sirens

Good
on Nov 27 2013

Albom, who is known for his highly acclaimed works “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” is no stranger to themes of spirituality and faith. Now, he not only continues those themes, but also fills readers with optimism, making this novel a perfect read for the upcoming holiday season.

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Above average
Reviewed by Brooke on Dec 19 2013

What would you do if you got a phone call from heaven? It seems so unrealistic, I think that if I were to hear from someone in heaven, a phone call would not be the method I would think of first. In this story, I am not sure if it is more important that you believe the phone calls are real or not, but the proof is in the results.

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