When the residents of a small town on Lake Michigan start receiving phone calls from the afterlife, they all become the subject of widespread attention. Is it the greatest miracle ever or a massive hoax? Sully Harding, a grief-stricken single father, is determined to find out. This is a story about the power of belief – and a page-turner that will touch your soul.
I really enjoyed reading this. Whether or not the characters in this book are really receiving phone calls from heaven (and you will have to read the book to find out, as I’m not giving it away here!), the subject matter still makes the reader probe and analyse their own beliefs and possibilities. This book explores the subjects of philosophy, religion, morality, friendship, grief, family and more. A real study in humanity.
When the phone calls start coming through, the sensation you get, like someone has poured cold water down your spine, is a true testament to Albom’s writing ability. He hits the nail on the head each time he describes the various reactions and emotions of the characters who receive phone calls from their late loved ones. He doesn’t just stick to the “how miraculous and amazing is this” angle for everyone involved – he portrays varying emotions in each of his characters and backs them up effectively with interesting back stories and paints a realistic picture of each person’s life.
Each character was easily believable and likeable, however, I do feel that because of the large number of characters in the book, it was difficult to really feel like I got to know them well. I feel like the story could have worked as well with fewer characters with more development and insight into each of their lives. However, I don’t feel like anything is taken away from the book as it is. I just love getting to know characters really well in a book, and I felt like sometimes there wasn’t enough time to go into each person’s story enough for them to really feel familiar to me by the end of the book.
Mitch Albom manages to maintain a good rhythm within the narrative and I didn’t feel bored or as though I wanted to walk away from the story. By about half way through, I was desperate for answers. This can surely only be proof that Albom has achieved what he set out to do with this wonderful story. While the book is set in a small fictional town in America, it is accessible enough for an English foreigner like myself to feel at home within the pages. Each character, family, community within the story is easy to relate to – they are not too far removed to stir some kind of emotion within me.
While I have read books that are likely to stick in my mind longer than this one, I would urge anyone to read it. I really enjoyed it, and ultimately, that’s what all authors should aim for when writing great reads such as this one.