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Author Mitch Albom Speaks With Newsy About New Book

Provided By - Video Elephant on November 15, 2021
Mass kidnappings, powerful gangs and a presidential assassination. The chaos in Haiti us wrecking the lives of those who call it home nearly a month after a group of 17 American and Canadian missionaries were abducted. Their negotiations continue as their family's plea for their freedom. One American has a special bond with Haiti bestselling author and longtime sportswriter Mitch Albom. He has an orphanage on the island. Newsy's Dave Briggs spoke with him about how he used its strife to write a new best-selling work of fiction. NEWSY'S DAVE BRIGGS: The award-winning author Mitch Album joins us. Mitch, congratulations on "The Stranger in the Lifeboat" debuting at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. Before we get into the plot, why do you think this message has so resonated with audiences today?  MITCH ALBOM: Well, at its core, "The Stranger in the Lifeboat" is a story about asking for help. And I imagine, over the course of the last two years we've probably done more asking for help then we have in the last 20 years with everything that's going on in the pandemic, our economy and all that. And I think that's probably why people are embracing it. It's an upbeat book at the end It's about healing and we probably all could use a little bit of that. BRIGGS: For our viewers that don't know that story, tell us why you found yourself in a time of need.  ALBOM: Well for those who don't know, in addition to my writing and things, I operate an orphanage in Haiti that I have since the 2010 earthquake and I'm there every month and we have 53 children who were raised there   just amazing kids. One of those children, a number of years ago, named Chika developed a brain tumor when she was five years old. We brought her to American and we basically adopted her as our daughter and we toured around the world trying to find a cure for her. She lived two years, which was about a year and a half longer than they gave her, but she died in the end and we were very upset, obviously. My wife, a person of faith, was able to go to her faith very quickly and comfort her. I took the opposite tactic and I said, "There can't be any good in the universe or any God in the universe who would take a seven year old. I mean how can you be benevolent and not be benevolent to a seven-year-old orphan from Haiti who survived the earthquake on the third day of her life, you know, and lost her mother two years later and somehow now you have to give her a brain tumor." But as time passed, and the years passed, I began to look at it differently because I say, otherwise you're gonna be angry all the time. And I can best sort of describe my attitude towards it on something that, actually, I wrote in the book when one of the characters confronts guy who says he's God and by the way, I don't say he's God and you're gonna have to read the book to see if he is or isn't. I'm just saying, he says he is. BRIGGS: People this past year and a half have lost loved ones, they've lost jobs. What did you learn through that experience and through Have Faith Haiti that everyone in this country that's gone through something the last couple of years and frankly we all have that they can learn to get through these tough circumstances and to actually be better for them.  ALBOM: Well, you mentioned Have Faith Haiti. One of the great advantages of operating an orphanage is that you never have to go very far to see people who have it worse than you do. And to see these 53 children, some of whom were left to die out in the woods by whoever gave birth to them, you know, literally were found under a tree, some of whom were left and malnutrition clinics in the hallways, nobody came back for them for two years they just lived in a hallway to see these children whose total possessions can fit in a 12" by 12" cubby, and yet every night they sing prayers and songs and hymns of gratitude to God for what they have and they have nothing this is the second poorest country in the world it's very hard to look at that and say, "OK, well what my problems are worse than theirs." It's quite the opposite. You say, My problems are easily solved compared to that. I was blessed with a mother and a father. I had a family home life. I had such advantages just even with that, that they're never going to have. BRIGGS: You were, in fact, in Haiti when a group of American and Canadian workers were kidnapped and they still remain hostages today one of 800 kidnappings this year. How how can we help? What can be done? What needs to be done there in Haiti to make it a safer place for everyone?  ALBOM: Well, I mean, it's a big question, but the answer, in my view my just humble, one person view as someone who's there every month for the


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