Author: Bob Mitchell
The following review was contributed by: Jim Curtiss. Click Here To Read More Of Jim’s Reviews
The set-up (or backswing, if you will) of Match Made in Heaven is that
of a seasoned pro: the protagonist, Elliot Goodman, is rushed to the OR
with a heart attack. Praying for his life, God appears to Elliot and
asks why his life should be spared. Not able to answer to the Almighty's
satisfaction, Elliot finds himself transported to the links for the golf
round of - and for - his life. Win, and Elliot gets his life back. Lose,
and it's all over. An added twist is that Elliot has to golf against 18
of history's famous personas - from Joan of Arc to John Lennon, from
Marilyn Monroe to Leonardo Da Vinci. In the course of this golf round,
each of Elliot's foes reminds him of life's essential philosophical
Yet (to continue with the golf metaphors) the book's follow-through is
not that of a seasoned pro but that of a weekend-warrior. Yes, there are
bright spots, but there are dubbed shots as well.
But let's tee off with the bright spots: The author's creativity serves
him well, and seemingly minor touches such as Moses' "Burning Bush
Country Club" logo and Joan of Arc's "Nike Air: Mail" (chain mail armor,
get it?) show a clever attention to detail.
As far as content is concerned, the repartee that Elliot shares with
most of his opponents is well wrought - W.C. Fields, in particular, is
well captured - and the author must have done considerable research in
order to make these scenes believable. To highlight a few of the others:
John Lennon teaches Elliot to lighten up, which is a very salient lesson
for many of us; the Edgar Allen Poe chapter contains a surprise
conclusion that propels its lesson extremely well; the Socrates chapter
contains excellent dialog; the Leonardo Da Vinci chapter posits, and
provides credible support, for the idea that Da Vinci may have invented
golf; and that Abraham Lincoln might not have been as honest as we
believe him to be is an interesting supposition. All these things
contribute to making the book very readable.
Now about those chili-dips: First, the author goes into too much detail
when describing the golf shots and play-by-play of each hole. One might
argue that whether Elliot wins or loses the match is the heart of the
book and thus deserves such extensive coverage. Fair enough. But these
passages prove somewhat dry even for a golf enthusiast such as the
The second drawback of the book is the author's over-reliance on
clichés. A partial list of those teed up by the author include,
"slurping suds, chomping at the bit, loaded for bear, you could hear a
pin drop, and my heart stopped beating". For new writers, employing such
language is somewhat understandable. However, in coming up with such an
interesting premise for the book, the author has proven himself to be a
creative individual. Thus, the reviewer's wish that this creativity had
been more utilized vis a vis language choice is not misplaced.
On the front cover of the book, bestselling author James Patterson
delivers this gracious praise for Match Made in Heaven: "This daring
book is a miracle and quite possibly a classic."
This reviewer humbly disagrees. Match Made in Heaven is a fine first
outing. But it's not exactly on par with a classic.