Sometimes a book can be like a good friend. You pick it just because there’s something that interests you – either the author, the cover, the title, or just because there’s something in the story that makes you a little bit intrigued. Have a Little Faith is just like that – I know Mitch Albom from his previous books, which I enjoyed a lot. So, without any hesitation, I picked it and made my way to the cashier.
Like the beginning of a friendship, you read the first few pages gingerly, trying to figure out whether you would like to continue or not. I liked what I read so I pressed on. I finished this book yesterday, after accidentally leaving it at the office on Thursday so I couldn’t finish it earlier as planned. The book can be finished in one or two sitting as it is a very easy book to read, with good flowing structure – it’s like an afternoon spent with somebody, filled with compassionate conversations, laughters and moments of teariness.
The story revolves around a request put forward by Mitch’s Rabbi from his childhood, Albert Lewis. Albert asked Mitch one simple question, “Will you do my eulogy?”. With this question, Mitch explored Albert’s life – he wanted to know the man as a person, a man – not just as a Rabbi. Interweaved with Albert’s story is Mitch’s encounter with Ps. Henry Covington, in Detroit. Henry used to be a drug dealer, a cocain addict, who had to face a problem of not having enough money to fix a gaping hole on the church’s ceiling. With a congregation of former addicts, homeless men and women, he couldn’t ask for any donations or additional offerings.
Reading about Albert’s life and faith and also Henry’s compassion and tenderness made me revisit my own belief and conviction. I can understand Mitch’s questions because those are the questions that I ask myself – and even though I am firmly planted within my circle of belief, I do find myself wavering from time to time. So, it’s a great encouragement for me to revisit the core things that I believe in and learn from men of God like the Reb (Albert Lewis) and Henry.
I was tempted to pick snippets of the book to share here, but just like a friend who I got to know pretty well in a week, I would like you to find out for yourself and read the book on your own. I don’t want to pick and choose bits of the book that I like, because it will only affect your impression – it may destroy its charm and warmth.
I love this book immensely – whilst in parts, Mitch can get a little bit sentimental – it is part and parcel of the story. You can’t expect a friend never to be sentimental, if it is part of his personality. For some of you who don’t believe in God or think that conversations about faith can be stiffling and sacchariney, perhaps you should give this book a go. I don’t like to be patronised, either. This book doesn’t do that. It simply posts two life stories, and let you understand about their lives, their convictions and their love and warmth.