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The Stranger in the Lifeboat

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Adrift in a raft after a deadly ship explosion, ten people struggle for survival at sea. Three days pass. Short on water, food and hope, they spot a man floating in the waves. They pull him in. “Thank the Lord we found you,” a passenger says. “I am the Lord,” the man whispers. So begins Mitch Albom’s most beguiling novel yet.

Albom has written of heaven in the celebrated number one bestsellers "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "The First Phone Call from Heaven". Now, for the first time in his fiction, he ponders what we would do if, after crying out for divine help, God actually appeared before us? A fast-paced, compelling novel that makes you ponder your deepest beliefs, "The Stranger in the Lifeboat suggests that answers to our prayers may be found where we least expect them."

271 pages, Hardcover

Published November 2, 2021

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About the author

Mitch Albom

142 books109k followers
Author, screenwriter, philanthropist, journalist, and broadcaster Mitch Albom is an inspiration around the world. Albom is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, which have collectively sold more than forty million copies in forty-eight languages worldwide. He has written eight number-one New York Times bestsellers — including Tuesdays with Morrie, the bestselling memoir of all time, which topped the list for four straight years and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2022. He has also written award-winning TV films, stage plays, screenplays, a nationally syndicated newspaper column, and a musical. He appeared for more than 20 years on ESPN, and was a fixture on The Sports Reporters. Through his work at the Detroit Free Press, he was inducted into both the National Sports Media Association and Michigan Sports halls of fame and was the recipient of the Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement.

Following his bestselling memoir Finding Chika, and Human Touch, a weekly serial written and published online which raised nearly $1 million for pandemic relief, he returned to fiction with The Stranger in the Lifeboat, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List after being #1 on Amazon. His much-anticipated new novel, set during the Holocaust, is coming in the fall of 2023.

Albom now spends the majority of his time in philanthropic work. Since 2006, he has operated nine charitable programs in southeast Michigan under his SAY Detroit umbrella, including the nation's first medical clinic for homeless children. He also created a dessert shop and popcorn line to fund programs for Detroit’s most underserved citizens. Since 2010, Albom has operated Have Faith Haiti in Port-au-Prince, a home and school to more than 60 children, which he visits every month without exception.

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 6,185 reviews
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,107 reviews533 followers
July 31, 2023
Mitch Albom has made a literary career out of discussing and examining the concept of "faith." We read his books, we discuss them in book clubs, some make movies out of them, and some deride them because they would rather follow science or logic and leave emotion or hope - or whatever it is that drives humans to cling to a deity - out of the equation for the grand scheme of things.

(I sometimes wonder if the latter group isn't right: we humans seem, in our worst moments, to resemble a germ or virus that has devoured so much of the beauty in this world.) Despite centuries of documented wars and other misdeeds to serve as examples to guide us down a different path, we humans have become even more greedy, more materialistic and impossibly desensitized to each other's fates.

Money - paper from a tree, or, now, a typed number in an online bank account - determines your worth in this world. Money is power. Power ultimately corrupts and oppresses those who "have not." The Oppressed eventually overthrow the Oppressors, there are bloody revolutions, etc., etc., etc..... We humans repeat this vicious cycle endlessly, because we can't seem to focus on anything else other than conflict and personal gain.

In The Stranger in the Lifeboat, Benji Keaney is a complex character who harbours a guilty secret: was he complicit in the explosion that sank the luxury cruise ship on which he served as a lowly crew member? Benji comes across as a decent human being. His journal exhibits his great love for his wife, Annabelle. His admiration and respect for fellow life raft member, Geri, showed that his heart was in the right place: he wanted to help the other passengers survive, even though he could not bring himself to "believe" or have faith that The Lord (the last character in this novel that was pulled from the ocean) was always with him, even in his darkest hours.

Towards the end, when Benji mourned the death of the sea bird, his grief for his wife and his survivor's guilt (over the lives of all the others who had been lost from the lifeboat and cruise ship) completely overwhelmed him. The author was also probably trying to show that Benji is not a cruel person, for reasons that will become clear later on in the story. The interesting twist in the last third of the novel was somewhat foreseeable - but no spoilers here!

I'm still scratching my head, trying to decide whether Albom succeeded in pulling the wool over the readers' eyes? Were all the passengers real? Was this in fact a concocted story - a prank, as was suggested at one point? Was Dobby the grand orchestrator of the entire disaster at sea? Or did he leave a bogus manuscript behind for Jarty LaFleur to read, for his own devious motives? I know that these thoughts will chase each other in my mind for weeks to come - and this is the sign of a good book. We may not love or enjoy all of its parts, but the sum of those parts have left us with quite a lot to think about and discuss in Mitch Albom's latest offering.

In the context of religion, I usually refuse to be labelled "Catholic," Christian, Confuscian, Buddhist, Shintoist, or any or all of the religions of this world. I like to believe in energy, in a form of Karma: the good that we do and send out eventually comes back to us; likewise for the bad or evil that we let loose out into the world with our thoughts, words and actions. Hope is an important word for me. Without hope, humanity is lost, so I strive always to believe that we each have our small, peculiar purpose on this earth. I truly believe that we are here to learn something. Every time I listen to George Harrison's song, Give me Love, Give me Peace on Earth, I smile when I hear the line "Keep me free from birth."

Reincarnation. Your soul's return to this earth to complete the cycle of learning that, hopefully, will eventually release your soul from its earthly chains. Such a compelling idea!

I suspect that I may have to come back to edit this review with more thoughts on this gripping story. Faith and the lack of it is extensively discussed, but no concrete or compelling solutions are ever offered as to why The Lord did not (and continues not to) step in, perform a lovely miracle and save all the occupants of the life raft. Are we, in fact, the authors of our own stories here on earth, so it is up to us to find the meaning in each journey, without Divine Intervention to save the day for us?

I really enjoyed this audiobook, despite some of the plot inconsistencies and gaps in logic that I noted here and there. (Faith doesn't seem to care if there is no logic, anyway, right?) For this reason, I am rating this well dramatized audiobook a 4 out of 5 very thought-provoking and engrossing stars!
Profile Image for Darla.
3,514 reviews618 followers
October 29, 2021
How do we answer those who question God's existence in the midst of suffering? In this new release from Mitch Albom, the Lord is a fellow passenger on a drifting lifeboat. One passenger named Benji is chronicling their days at sea in a small notebook. A second thread gives us a reporter's view of the original luxury craft and the aftermath of the accident. In a third thread the notebook is found when the boat washes up on a beach. The officer on the scene is also a grieving father who has lost faith in the existence of God. So, we are back to my original question. All of us have stories of suffering in our lives. We live in a fallen world and if we are still here our stories are a part of us -- a part of our survival. What this book reminds me is to reach out to others and help them with their sorrows. In Galatians 6:2, Paul reminds us to Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. So let's tell each other our stories; sharing our sorrows and burdens. When we minister to each other we are sharing the love of Jesus.

Thank you to Harper and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ron Charles.
1,049 reviews48.7k followers
November 1, 2021
Best-selling author Mitch Albom is back from heaven and ready to consider the mystery of divine intervention on earth.

God help us.

Albom’s latest inspirational melodrama is called “The Stranger in the Lifeboat.” It’s a survivor story about 10 people trapped on a raft with a young man who announces, “I am the Lord.”

Think of it as Tuesdays with Yahweh. If nothing else, this book has made me understand that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years.

We meet these imperiled castaways drifting at sea. They were all guests or workers on a massive yacht owned by billionaire Jason Lambert. He had gathered technology pioneers, corporate leaders, glitzy celebrities and even former presidents for a week-long adventure to “spur each other to change the world” — a cruise version of Davos.

In the opening pages, we learn that the yacht exploded and sank in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. All are presumed lost because somehow this massive gathering of the world’s richest and most powerful people was unaccompanied by any attendant ships. If that little implausibility troubles you, you haven’t got a prayer here. . . .

To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:
Profile Image for Rosh.
1,572 reviews1,833 followers
July 12, 2023
In a Nutshell: Intriguing concept, detached implementation. Add to this a reader with zero philosophical understanding and the result is utter confusion.

Nine people (unrelated to each other) are struggling for survival on a life raft after the yacht they were cruising in exploded. Three days later, they see a man floating on the waves and they drag him in. When asked his identity, he replies, “I am the Lord.” Is he actually the Lord answering their prayers or has he just gone kooky after three days in the water? That’s for you to find out.

(Confession: I try to avoid philosophical or spiritual content because it mostly goes over my head. This one, I read only because of the author.)

While Albom has never been a firm favourite of mine as such, there is still something in his writing that keeps me reading his books and liking them enough. (This is based on the four books of his I have read: two fiction and two nonfiction.) He has an ability to make one think about a common occurrence from a different angle. I guess I was looking for the same to happen with this latest work too. But all I ended up thinking about was: what is the point he is trying to make? Maybe I am too dense because the story didn’t make much sense to me at all.

The structure of the story was fantastic. It comes in three broad timelines with interesting titles:
1. Sea: This is the perspective of the yacht survivors from the raft. Revealed through the notebook scribbles of one of the survivors named Benji.

2. Land: This timeline is about a year after the explosion. Inspector LeFleur on the island of Montserrat gets information that an empty raft from the sunken yacht has been found. While investigating this, he finds Benji’s notebook.

3. News: This covers the entire timeline, beginning from the departure of the yacht on its journey and continuing through the investigation of its accident and the detection of the yacht in Montserrat. This perspective also provides us with the background information of the passengers in the “Sea’ timeline.

I liked this unique way of patterning the story. Some readers might not enjoy the constant shifts in time and perspectives but I am an avid reader of historical fiction, so I am used to this kind of narrative style and even fond of it. But that’s about all I enjoyed in this book: the story structure.

If you are looking for the Mitch Albom of ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ or ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’, that’s not gonna happen here. The man has changed and this deeper religious turn is showing heavily in his writing. It’s almost evangelical in its essence, and that’s a direction I never enjoy, though I am a practising Christian. If I understood neither the context nor the concept of the “Lord” in this story, I wonder how readers of other faiths will fare. The short length is a minor saving grace.

I wanted to like this book for the author (because he is a nice person. Truly.) But that’s never a good way to evaluate a book, right? The book must stand on its own strengths, and that doesn’t happen here. The “Sea” part of the story had strong vibes of “Life of Pi” (declaration based on the movie; I haven’t read the book.) The theme was very intriguing but there were so many things left unexplained that I didn’t have enough patience to dig deeper. The book tries its best to raise metaphysical questions but fails miserably in providing their answers. After turning over the last page, I was probably even more confused than at the start. The story was simply too weird, too disconnected, too stilted.

(Minor complaint: The name of the Indian character, Latha Laghari, is odd. The character is supposed to come from Bengal but neither the name nor the surname are Bengali in origin. The first name is Hindu, the last name is Muslim. I wish authors would research their character names better. I appreciate the idea of inclusivity and diverse representation, but this shouldn’t come at the cost of authenticity.)

In short, Mitch Albom is a wonderful human being. Read his earlier works to support him. Donate to his charities. But you can safely stay away from this book. I can’t advocate this one to anyone except maybe to readers with a highly philosophical bent of mind.

My thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK, Sphere, and NetGalley for the ARC of “The Stranger in the Lifeboat”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book.

Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.
Profile Image for Kristi Betts.
491 reviews6 followers
September 13, 2021
I think this book, like a number of Albom books, will stay with me for quite some time. I don’t know how to put into words the comfort I feel after reading this book.

The chapters are numbered, but also titled as Sea, Land and News. The reader immediately knows which part of the parallel storyline is to follow.

The Sea: where the survivors and their struggles while floating together on a life boat.

The Land: where Inspector LeFleur tries to unravel the mysteries written in a notebook discovered on a beach in Montserrat.

The News: where a reporter, Tyler Brewer, reports on and memorializes guests of the billionaire Jason Lambert’s luxury yacht, the Galaxy the night of the accident.

I always look forward to Albom’s books and I am never disappointed by the emotions he brings to me as the reader.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
138 reviews79 followers
June 19, 2023
This book was amazing! 🙏

Things I want to remember:

“When someone passes, Benjamin, people always ask, ‘Why did God take them?’ A better question would be ‘Why did God give them to us?’ What did we do to deserve their love, their joy, the sweet moments we shared?”

“This world can be a trying place, Inspector. Sometimes you have to shed who you were to live who you are.”
Profile Image for Summer.
376 reviews116 followers
October 22, 2021
I don't consider myself a religious person at all. I do have a lot of faith and belief in a higher power though. Sometimes life is just hard so occasionally a feel-good story with an inspiring message is just what I need.

What would you do if at a time of desperation, you called upon God and he appeared? After a luxury yacht named the Galaxy sank into the ocean, 9 survivors end up on a lifeboat. The survivors include the boat's creator/owner Jason, 4 members of the Galaxy’s staff, and 5 of the wealthy guests. The survivors pull a young man out of the water who claims that he is the Lord and can save them all. The only catch is each of the nine survivors has to believe him.

The story is broken into three sections with different timelines and points of view. Sea is told while the survivors are on the lifeboat, land is told a year and a half after the Galaxy sank, and News is told before the yacht set sail.

This book is just what I needed and I didn't even know it. The Stranger in the Lifeboat is my first book by Mitch Albom so I’m not sure what I expected when I went into this but I was captivated with the story. Mitch Albom’s writing is simplistic yet very powerful. It is rare for a book to make me look inward and reflect on my faith but that's just what this book did. After finishing The Stranger in the Lifeboat, I immediately ordered 3 of Albom’s previous titles and I cannot wait to start them! I can understand why Albom has such a massive fan base.

Whether you are a spiritual person or not, I still would highly recommend this thought-provoking, hope-filled, and moving story. This book would also make the perfect gift!

The Stranger in the Lifeboat will be available on November 2. A massive thanks to Harper Books for the gifted copy!
Profile Image for Deacon Tom F.
1,854 reviews147 followers
February 20, 2022
It’s truly an outstanding book. In many ways it brings out with how do people deal with death.

This is not a spoiler, but it is interesting that God is supposed to be in the boat and people are trying to deal with why God won’t save them from the boat. It brings up very interesting questions of faith and why were here.

Typical Mitch Album – – very very good book
Profile Image for Nicole.
749 reviews1,935 followers
May 3, 2022
Reading spiritual fiction is weiiird because I am a believer so it kind of puts pressure on me "hey you should appreciate this" AND I DO. But I didn't find it very gripping until the last 25%. I was listening to the audio and I had a difficult time focusing on the story even though I was doing NOTHING (was on the bus). Luckily, it got better in the second half but I also know I'll be forgetting about this by tomorrow, unfortunately.
Profile Image for Jonathan K (Max Outlier).
643 reviews130 followers
April 26, 2022
Having read "Tuesdays with Morrie" multiple times as well as some of his others, I expected to be inspired by his latest. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

Toggling back and forth between news reports about the sinking of the super yacht, Galaxy, and journaling of a life raft member, we're immersed into a tragedy, which is common among Mitch's books. Reading excerpts of the life raft member's journal, we learn of another 'passenger' who's picked up on the raft. Upon entering, he informs the others that he's "The Lord".

What follows lacks reader engagement, inspiration or anything memorable. Characters are mediocre at best, and the overused revenge theme doesn't add anything.

While I respect Mitch's skill and storytelling, this one falls flatter than a pancake. Enough said.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,471 reviews1,007 followers
August 21, 2021
I haven't read this author before and I was immediately struck by the beautiful simplicity of the writing and the way it involves you in the story unfolding with seemingly no effort.

A group of survivors in a lifeboat rescue another from the water. He claims to be the Lord and what follows is a tale of faith in adversity and of the individual nature of humanity

Hugely compelling with an ending that each reader will absorb in their own way, The Stranger In The Lifeboat is evocative, strange and wonderful.
Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,901 reviews1,641 followers
October 23, 2021
Adrift n a raft after a deadly ship explosion, nine people struggle to survive at sea. Three days pass. Short on water, food and hope. they spot a man floating in the waves. They pull him in. "Thank the Lord we found you," a passenger says. "I am the Lord," the man whispers.

This is the story of nine survivors of an explosion on the luxury yacht they were on. then they spot a man floating in the waves. When they have pulled the man aboard the raft, he claims to be the Lord and they're faced with a crises of belief.

Mitch Albom books are always thought provoking. The story follows the journey of nine people on the rafts battle for survival and the attempts of those on land to uncover what had happened at sea. This is a short novel that's intriguing with so much depth. The book is arranged into three parallel storylines: 1) from one of the survivors. 2) the inspector investigating what happened 3) from the media reporting about the yacht. This is another fantastic read by the fabulous Mitch Albom who's books never disappoint.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #LittleBrownBookGroupUK and the author #MitchAlbom for my ARC of #TheStrngerInTheLighthouse in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erin Clemence.
1,109 reviews323 followers
February 11, 2022
Mitch Albom’s books always seem to come into my life right when I need them, and “The Stranger in the Lifeboat” is no exception. A quick, uplifting read, Albom once again delivers a thought provoking and emotional story of faith, love and survival.

After a deadly ship explosion, nine people are stranded in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. With limited water, food and emergency supplies, the strangers become desperate for help, but there appears to be no land in sight. When three days pass, the travelers come across a lone man in the ocean, and pull him into their lifeboat as well, saving him from the waves. During introductions the man says “I am the Lord” and promises that all passengers will be rescued when they “believe He is who He says He is”.

“Stranger” is told in three parts; land (narrated by a police officer who, with the help of a passer-by, finds the abandoned lifeboat on shore), sea (the passengers story as told by Benji, a crewman from the sunken ship, through letters to his love) and news (news reports about the boat crash and its infamous passengers). Told this way, the reader gets to know all the details of the before, during and after, of both the event and each passenger.

As the ending of “Stranger” unfolds, and the truth of what happened on the ship is brought to light, Albom manages to throw a surprise twist into the plot, yet still maintains plot integrity and believability. Whatever your faith, “Stranger” will provide an uplifting look at life, love and loss. Albom cannot write a bad book, and his newest continues to prove this theory. I look forward to the joy and positivity that his novels bring, as Albom provides some light in the darkness of the world.
Profile Image for LemonLinda.
859 reviews90 followers
December 19, 2021
This was the right book for me to read at the end of this crazy year of pandemic during which my husband passed away. It is so easy to question and wonder why did he needlessly have to die, but Mitch Albom and this book helped me to see that the better question is why did God show me so much grace as to have had that great man in my life for nearly 45 years.
It is a short book but one packed with so much wisdom. The themes of revenge and of ultimate faith juxtapose in this one for a big impact.
Profile Image for #AskMissPatience.
176 reviews20 followers
November 18, 2021
What I like most about Mitch Albom's books is feeling immersed within the story. Relating to the human condition and character development. The Stranger in the Lifeboat is no exception.

My first exposure to this author was Five People You Meet in Heaven. This story deeply touched and moved my heart for a variety of reasons.

The part that hit me the most was Eddie wanting his wife to appear as her sickest while dying of a disease. Not her most vibrant youthful self. He said when asked because this is the moment he loved her most.

Regardless of the story he writes, all the books Mr. Albom shares have similar vibes.

Faith is a cornerstone of my life. Finding connection within fiction that explores humanity at its most vulnerable within a belief or the struggle to relate to belief help me explore my own limitations. How would I respond under similar circumstances?

To avoid giving away spoilers what I will say is given similar happenstance would trust.

As always, double twist at the end that I didn't expect. One twist where I thought I knew the background. Then, a final revelation that felt like a happy ending for me.

Though throughout the story there are a variety of turns that would encourage people at any belief level or background to question ‘what if this was me?’

A very easy book to listen to. The library bought an audio copy at my request to hear on the Overdrive app.

I never tire of Mr. Albom’s novels or heart for sharing a message worth knowing.

Profile Image for Marilyn.
855 reviews275 followers
January 9, 2022
I was disappointed in The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom. Over the years, I have read many of Mitch Albom’s books and so I was looking forward to reading The Stranger in the Lifeboat. I was able to borrow the audio CD from my local library. It excited me to discover that Mitch Album narrated his own book. My initial thoughts as this book began were positive. I believed that it was plausible for a luxury cruise ship to suffer an unexpected explosion and sink. The fact that ten of the passengers survived and were now in the middle of nowhere on a lifeboat had promise. The plot became questionable when a stranger joined the survivors and claimed to be God. I know that Mitch Albom is a man who has strong beliefs toward religion and is a spiritual man but I could not buy into this stranger’s role and actions. Things started to go downhill from that point in the story for me and never fully recovered after that. I still admire Mitch Albom for many of his prior novels but this one was a great disappointment. I hope his next book will reflect more on the talent he has exhibited in the past. It can probably be surmised that I have enjoyed his non fiction books much more than his attempts at fiction.
Profile Image for Kurt Anderson .
83 reviews3 followers
November 10, 2021
After yawning my way through two past books by Albom I had pretty low expectations and yet this somehow failed to even meet that low bar.
Profile Image for Robin Berman.
216 reviews8 followers
January 11, 2022
Really different organization of this book. Separate chapters back and forth set in land (Montserrat where lifeboat wound up), sea (lifeboat adrift with survivors), and news (telling the story behind the yacht, it's passengers, and the mysterious sinking and search and recovery efforts etc.). There was also the story of the man (Jarty Le Fleur, inspector) and setting around reading the notebook journal, and the story within the journal.

The story is about the survivors of a 200 million $$$ yacht called the Galaxy (like my phone lol) after it exploded and sank. They are on a lifeboat at sea.

The 11 survivors originally were:
1. Benji - 37yo narrator via his journal written on the lifeboat. Irish from Boston, deckhand on the yacht. Writing to Annabelle, his deceased wife, who he is still distraught over her death.
2. Nina - Young hairstylist worker on the yacht, looks like Iman, good looking Ethiopian.
3. Yannis- good looking rich Greek playboy type, ambassador.
4. Nevin Campbell- British, tall, loud media guru. Wealthy.
5. Geri Reede- 39yo Olympic swimmer, short blonde hair, assertive, sea worthy, confident. Guest on yacht.
6. Jason Lambert- older Billionaire businessman, owns yacht. Obese, glutton, likes getting his way. Represents Benjis abhorrence for this type of person.
7. Mrs. Latha Laghari- 71yo Indian successful chemist businesswoman, cosmetic industry, fortune 500, wealthy guest on yacht. Benji had her earrings in his pocket and used as a fishing hook.
8. Jean Philippe- Haitian cook working on yacht (obviously due to the authors love of Haiti he included a Haitian character, and he had input on the book from real Haitian teens).
9. Bernadette- wife of Jean Philippe.
10. Mysterious dark haired stranger who said he was the Lord. Later revealed he was an angel.
11. "Alice" - child, no one knew where she came from or her real name.

I found the story gripping where you kept wanting to continue. It does reference a "god" type of character, and I'm not a believer as I'm of scientific method, but I'm aware of the possibility just per science no proof. In spite of that, it was still interesting, and I understand the main point of the book = "god" is always with you, and deceased loved ones spirits continue on in "heaven. " In my opinion, this makes this partly a fantasy book.

There were some surprises towards the end.
If you have not read the book, don't read past this.
SPOILERS =====>>>

So...turned out----
1. Benji was alone on the lifeboat. He hallucinated the others. They were his assigned passengers to take care of- Nevin, Geri, Yannis, Mrs. Laghari. He met Nina, Jean Philippe, and Bernadette working on the yacht.
2. "Alice" the little girl pulled him into the boat. She said she was the Lord. She was with him the whole time and told him she always would be with him.
3. Alice showed Benji a slice of heaven above and he saw his mother and wife were there and safe. It gave him comfort and stopped him being distraught
4. Benji jumped off the yacht in a suicide attempt just before it exploded and sank.
5. The yacht was not sabotaged by Benji or Dobby. Benji was going to set off mine bombs to destroy it, but changed his mind. He was angry at Jason Lambert, who he thought might be his father. He represented the wealth and privilege Benji did not have, and he resented that it cost his wife's life, because he couldn't afford her medical treatments. Alice told him that Jason was not his father.
6. The mysterious character that supposedly found the lifeboat, Rom Rosh, was actually Benji. He had survived and washed up on Montserrat. I thought that character might have been god. Rum Rosh is Hebrew from Psalms, and means "God lifted my head."
7. The boat was damaged by 3 big whales that rammed into the hull, because they were disturbed by the loud music. Human made noise does disturb ocean creatures and mammals, because they communicate by sound and use radar, and it interferes with this and upsets and confuses them.

The point of the book is that "god" exists and is watching, and that there is a heaven. Pretty much the theme of his previous books.

Random comment-
The character named "Dobby" -- at 1st, I couldn't stop thinking of Dobby the elf from Harry Potter.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jodi.
377 reviews94 followers
January 12, 2023
Whoa! What a story! At first, I was afraid this might not end up being so great. The story seemed so far-fetched, but I really should have known better. Before long, that crazy story just burst into life, the tension amped up, and I was holding my breath, eyes wide as saucers. Suddenly what seemed far-fetched just a moment before now held me absolutely rapt. I don’t know how he does it, but this is my eighth Albom novel and, incredibly, they just keep getting better and better! He somehow knows how to reach our very core, touching something deep within us. Our hearts? Our souls? With mere words he’s able to tap into the innocence—that ability to suspend belief—that we all had as children.

I do have faith, though probably not the same kind Albom writes about. But still, I “get it”, I think because—at least in the grand scheme of things—faith is faith. That belief in some kind of higher power—whatever we choose to call it—is faith. But whatever you believe, Albom somehow knows how to make his readers feel it—and perhaps even find it—and that may be the something special he possesses. Whatever it is, I just hope he keeps it up as long as possible.

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Basic B's Guide.
1,037 reviews333 followers
November 9, 2021
Like a warm comforting hug. This was an easy and engaging tale. A sentimental mystery of sorts. So glad I decided to pick it up on a whim.
Profile Image for Nigel.
849 reviews98 followers
October 27, 2021
Yep - enjoyed that!

In full
It's a while since I read any of Mitch Albom's books and I thought I'd give this one a try. A very expensive "executive" craft has sunk. Nine people are still afloat 3 days later on a lifeboat having seen no one else. They see a man in the water and manage to get him onto the lifeboat. He says that he can save them if they all believe in him as he is the Lord. That gives you pause for thought doesn't it! In part this story is told by one of the people on the lifeboat who is writing a journal. There are two threads in this story. One is from a policeman on land who has been taken to see what might be the lifeboat concerned and the other is the media via their interest in the story.

It didn't take me long to get into this book and after that I was caught up in the story however odd it may seem. It is not a long read and is crisply written. From time to time I found myself wondering just where this might be going. Some of the threads seemed rather odd in the circumstances. That said I had some thoughts quite early on about a possible outcome and wasn't far off the truth I guess. It's one of those books where it would be a shame to reveal more.

In some senses this, and other books from Albom, are probably rather odd to some believers and unbelievers. Within that caveat I found this a convincing story I guess. Was it an enjoyable read - yes. Was it thought provoking - maybe. I would certainly read another by this author in the future and fans of his will be very pleased by this story I think.

Note - I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review
Profile Image for Anna.
1,133 reviews96 followers
February 6, 2022
I always find something inspiring in anything written by Mitch Albom. What I took away from the story is that God hears our prayers and if our hearts are open a stranger just may hold the answers and grace we seek. When in a place of desperation some turn to God and some blame God, yet God's love for us remains the same. Filled with thought provoking insights, hope and finding a pathway to forgiveness of yourself and others. Beautifully written with a message desperately needed in today's broken society.
Profile Image for Ian M. Pyatt.
376 reviews
October 14, 2022
Perhaps I was enamored with "Morrie" and wasn't prepared for a story like this? Or, the religious overtones in the book, I've not been in a church in decades and it's not that I don't believe there is a God, but this just seemed a stretch towards the end with Benji and Alice & their discussions in the boat when it was discovered Benji was not responsible for the sinking of the boat.

It was a nice blend of well-crafted characters Mr. Albom created for the book and their interactions with each other reminded me of those in the movie The Poseidon Adventure (I favour the original and how they had to overcome those differences to get out of he sunken ship to be rescued) until each of those in the raft meet their own untimely demise, with the exception of Benji.

Profile Image for Michelle.
1,306 reviews127 followers
October 7, 2021
I have not read any books by Mitch Albom before but, I was intrigued by the blurb, so I requested it on NetGalley.
Billionaire James Lambert decides to set sail on his luxury yacht called the Galaxy with some of the richest and famous and influential people in the world. But something goes wrong, and the yacht explodes. The stranger in the lifeboat is story of the 9 of the survivors on a life raft when they see a person in a water. They bring if onto the raft and they find out that this person is GOD.
The story set in three stages The sea, The Land and The news. The land tells of Inspector Fleur leading an investigation when the life raft appears off a beach a year later in Montserrat.
This is a beautifully written, life affirming story of love and loss. It is also thought-provoking. What would you do if the lord appeared in front of you and you wanted answers to his actions and your own. The regrets that you have and what you could have done differently. I do believe in God so it will keep me thinking about this book for a while. I really enjoyed this tale, and I was engrossed through out and will make sure that I will check out the other books that he has written.

Profile Image for Smriti.
626 reviews592 followers
January 27, 2022
read Life of Pi instead - seemed like a bit of a rip off.

Very Jesus-y for me (no offense) - didn't hit home the way the other books did. Also, huge gaps in logic but perhaps this wasn't a book for logic.

It does have some good writing (quotable lines as always) and solidly paced. But it ultimately felt empty.
Profile Image for Lisa.
647 reviews242 followers
February 15, 2022
An Evocative and Intriguing Story Of Asking For Help and Not Getting What You Want

Nine people have been adrift for three days in a lifeboat without food or water. The luxury yacht they had been on had exploded, and now they have lost all sense of hope. When they spot another man floating in the water, they pull him in. He says he is the Lord. But is he? What would we do if, after crying out for help, God appeared before us? What might the Lord look like, and how would he act?

Benji, one of the employees aboard the ship, narrates the story, recounting the events on the yacht and the lifeboat in a notebook. The notebook is later discovered when the empty life raft washes up on the island of Montserrat. The island’s chief inspector, Jarty LeFleur, a man battling his own demons, must solve the mystery of what really happened.

“If that is to be, if this is indeed my end, then I am writing to you in the pages of this notebook, Annabelle, in hopes you might somehow read them after I am gone. I need to tell you something, and I need to tell the world as well.”

A STRANGER IN THE LIFEBOAT is an evocative and intriguing story exploring that sometimes the answer to a call for help is ‘no.’ Sometimes the answer is not what you wanted. Maybe we are asking the wrong questions.

Mitch Albom’s writing is simple, skillful, and captivating. His dialogue is even sprinkled with a touch of humor. I laughed when the passenger ask the Lord why he is there and he answered: “Haven’t you been calling me?” I also loved the structure and the labeling of the chapters: Sea, Land, and News.

Albom is a creative storyteller who skillfully transports us to a leaky liferaft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This book follows Albom’s memoir FINDING CHICA about a young girl for Port Au Prince who stole the author's heart. Albom reported that her diagnosis with a brain tumor and his journey to help her, caused these same questions to arise. Some of Albom’s other thought-provoking books include TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE and THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN.

I listened to the audiobook performed by the author. The narration performance was solid. Albom gives rhythm, emphasis, and heart to the story. Hearing the story in the author’s voice as intended is a beautiful gift.

“The distance between death and life is not as great as you imagine.” “Really?" Janis turned his way. "Then why don't people come back to earth after they die?” The stranger smiled. "Why would they want to?”

“When someone passes, Benjamin, people always ask ‘why did God take them?’ A better question would be why did God give them to us? ‘What did we do to deserve their love, their joy, the sweet memories we share?’”

Publisher Harper Audio/ Harper Collins
Published November 2, 2021
Narrated Mitch Album
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
Profile Image for Jocie.
57 reviews2 followers
August 1, 2023
In turmoil, strife, and just trying to survive, who do you turn to? Do you believe there is a God that will save you? Do you believe that if there is God why would He let all these bad things happen? However you think, this story will put both of those sides into perspective. What would you do, if a man claiming to be God came to you and offered you safety if only you believe in Him?

This book was fantastic from front to cover. Going back and forth between the Sea, Land, and the News this story wraps itself all together. God came in their hour of need and offered them help if they believed He was who He says He was. And He did. Because of this other people that were suffering at the cruel hands of fate, were able to heal.

This story is about faith, healing, trusting, peace, and forgiving oneself. It was an easy 5⭐️’s for me and definitely a future re- read.
Profile Image for Karen J.
239 reviews188 followers
September 15, 2023
Such an in-depth, well researched and extraordinary story. This will be running around in my mind for many days to come.
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