10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2006
Once my wife and I started to read this book, we couldn't put it down. A totally unique story line that features wit and laughter balanced by moments of wisdom, insight and poignancy. In a disarming way, this book teaches us once again that in the game of life (like golf) fulfillment is found not in winning or losing, but in the character of one's struggle in playing the game.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2006
Match Made In Heaven's improbable premise, a life or death golf game orchestrated by God, is matched only by it's surprisingly clever conclusion. The story contains as many intricate twists and turns as the best designed golf course. This is a book about golf for the golfer and non-golfer alike, with as much to say about life as golf, perhaps more.
The philosophy and character of its all-star cast, ranging from Leonardo DaVinci to Babe Ruth, Beethoven to John Lennon, Picasso to Marilyn Monroe, is impeccably captured by an author who is as insightful as he is creative. Sprinkled with a generous dose of light humor, MMIH is a must-read page-turner unlike any other. It should be this year's runaway best-seller. Five stars.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2007
The concept of the book was good, and the character's progression through the game was entertaining. The author's message was good, but... I think that it was somewhat predictable. All in all, it is worth reading, and it goes by really quick. If anything the cast of characters that emerge also offer a good refesher in history.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially since I am both an ardent golfer and a former heart surgery patient. The book's message that in both golf and life ..."it is all about heart" is so true. And "Match Made in Heaven" presents that message in a brilliantly written, quirky, humorous fashion that should be a must read for every golfer and everyone who has ever had something life threatening in their lives, and anyone else who values life's "mulligans".
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2010
I admittedly am not finished with this book yet but I can't say I have not enjoyed any of it up to this point. He starts out name dropping golf equipment brands enough that I have to wonder if he is getting a kick back from the manufacturers, and a lifetime of free golf at the course named in this book. The book just seems to force the details right now I am reading the Edgar Allan Poe chapter where the author refers to Poe as; "the author of _____________ and _____________" no less than 6 times. For example: "Just my luck, the author of William Wilson and Masque of the Red Death moaned..." Repeat 5 more times listing 10 more books and I am annoyed. I can't for the life of me see why my friend recommended it to me other than the golf connection. Sorry I am just not feeling it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2006
Elliott Goodman is about to die. He's had a heart attack and the doctors know he's beyond help. And he is--until God offers a bargain: beat me in a round of golf, and you're saved.
But how do you beat God? God being ultimately fair sends 18 people to play 18 holes of golf with Elliott. These are the people that Elliott must beat, one hole at a time. Golf is a game where you only master the moment, but what if you have a new opponent for each hole, with a golf/life lesson each time? How would you fare? Could you focus teeing it up against Leonardo Da Vinci, W.C. Fields, Moses, Freud, and others? And you have to handle a conversation with them based on their field of expertise applied to your life situation and this particular round of golf!
This book is for the thinking golfer. There are great tips along the way when you look for them--but you've got to be prepared to think through how golf applies to the great game of life as well.
Armchair Interviews says: Not a quick read, but an enjoyable one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
This book was recommended to me by a golfing friend, a guy in his mid-60's who reads about one book a year. I didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to find that the author had done a good job of researching the characters and presented them in the most amusing, yet factual, manner. The premise is that the main character has a heart attack and in the murky area between life and death he must win a golf match to stay alive. On each of the 18 holes of golf he is challenged by a famous person from history. A quick read and a fun read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2006
There's the old joke about Moses and God playing golf - which can't be repeated here - and this book makes it happen! I was delighted with the cast of golfers that show up to play the narrator, a sort of All-Time Open. The structure is fascinating, both obvious and always surprising. Mr. Mitchell's knowledge is exceedingly wide, and his wisdom is deep. A great choice for Father's Day, for Dads Who Think.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
As far as I can tell, this was Mitchell's first published fictional novel. He's had several non-fiction books published, was a Professor of French for 11 years at Harvard & elsewhere, & spent one year in Tel Aviv, Israel as a consultant on creative film writing & production.
Only by reading the acknowledgements section, does the reader learn that his book has been the writer's attempt to deal with his own heart attack. I guess this book came into my life at the appropriate time.
My Dad died of a massive heart attack at the too young age of 55, while he was playing his favorite game: golf. I was told he made his putt, then keeled over & died. A dream way to die for an 85-year old golf fanatic; but, not for a 55-year old golf fanatic.
On April 4, 2003, I had a procedure which resulted in me having a stent placed in left anterior descending artery, the one called the widow-maker. I had a 99.9 blockage in it & was told I would have needed open-heart, by-pass surgery if this had come up just a few years earlier.
In early June 2006, I wrote a piece about my Dad & Father's Day. My Rabbi asked me to read it during the High HolyDay services taking place next month. I finished editing it down to a three to four minute presentation, while I was reading this book.
Here, the main character, Elliot Goodman, has suffered a heart attack while perusing the stacks of one of Harvard's libraries. He is 50-years old & a Prof. of Comparative Literature. This was a comparable age to my Dad.
However, Elliot does not arrive at the hospital as a DOA, as did my Dad. We find him in bed hooked up to many monitors which are helping to keep him alive. Then G-d appears hovering above him in his hospital room. G-d makes a deal with him. If he wins a golf game which G-d will set up for him, he will live. If he doesn't win, he will die. G-d won't play. He'll have 18 different surrogates play the 18 different holes.
This is a unique & brilliant idea. In the hands of a true comic writer, such as Dave Sedaris, or a comically ironic writer such as Nick Hornsby, or a true stream of consciousness writer such as Jack Kerouac; this novel might have turned out to be a gem. This book is not a gem. It is not terrible. It is not wonderful. It is just fair. It could be so much better.
Elliot Goodman is not a strong enough lead character to the supporting characters of Leonardo da Vinci, Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth, Abraham Lincoln (who actually cheats, kind of a cheap laugh at his expense), Moses, John Lennon, Joan of Arc, Picasso, W. C. Fields, Socrates, Beethoven, Gandhi, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Shakespeare (they speak in iambic pentameter, another cheap laugh), Freud (a control freak, another cheap laugh), Ben Hogan, Edgar Allen Poe, Christopher Columbus, & finally G-d himself on the 19th hole.
Mitchell tries to be humorous. Moses still kvetches about being denied entrance into the Promised Land because he hit a rock instead of asking it for water. Marilyn Monroe is the first star he ever had a crush on & is stupefied upon first meeting her. Picasso draws sketches. Lennon sings. Many of these immortals take swings appropriate to their lives & not to golf.
There is some humor within these pages. There is some pathos. But, with a better writer the humor could have been funnier & the pathos more sad & more believable. It's a great concept & knowing the author wrote it after his own attack, makes one wonder . . . is this truly his first fictional novel, or merely his eighth non-fiction title?