It is no surprise that I felt inspired to start a blog after reading a Mitch Albom novel. He has inspired me to write before, when I first came across his novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I love the way he uses writing to explore the natural questions that his mind has posed to him about life after death. It is a fascinating freedom with countless possibilities at a writer’s whim.
The First Phone Call From Heaven was an engaging revisit to the post-life theme, as Albom dealt with people’s reactions on Earth when those who have died communicate with those they have left. It was interesting for me as I felt this novel had a more strong Christian bias than my first experience with an Albom novel, that as an atheist I found difficult to swallow initially. What was pleasant is that I have often found it difficult to understand Christianity and the strong influential power it holds over people. This novel put aspects into a more understandable perspective for me, whilst still acknowledging some of my greatest questions. One of my favourite quotes in the book was;
When you believe, you don’t need proof.
For me, it is my biggest frustration, but it is almost unarguable with. I am forced to agree to disagree.
I’m truly glad that I persevered with this book. I know that if I was to write a novel with the same title it would have taken a truly different turn. However, this is what I so enjoyed about the book. There is no discerning hero or heroine, but rather a group of protagonists where it is impossible to not find a character to relate to, and the book finished leaving me with a comfortable empathy for those I could not relate to.
The final twists and turns at the end left me satisfied, but reflective. I don’t believe that any such miracle as life after death happens, I am comfortable in the knowledge that there is nothing, and whilst tragedy and happiness is endured through life, there is nothing at all when I am gone. It is a comfortable balance that I have wrapped my head around, and feel okay with. However, what would I do, how would I feel, if I had received a phone call from “heaven?”