Have a Little Faith: a True Story

By Mitch Albom


Welcome to the heartwarming journey of “Have a Little Faith: A True Story” πŸ“–βœ¨, a non-fiction masterpiece penned by the acclaimed author Mitch Albom. This book, distinct from Albom’s previous works, dives deep into the realms of faith, spirituality, and the unbreakable bonds that connect us across different walks of life.

Mitch Albom, known for his ability to touch hearts and provoke thought through his writing, invites us into an intimate exploration of faith. The narrative revolves around two main figures: Albert Lewis, a Rabbi from Albom’s hometown in New Jersey, and Henry Covington, a pastor from Detroit. Each of them, from their unique perspectives, offers insights into the essence of belief, commitment, and the diverse ways people understand and live their faith.

Published in 2009, “Have a Little Faith” falls into a special genre that blends biography with personal memoir and philosophical musing, making it a unique read in the realm of non-fiction. Mitch Albom’s quest to understand the meaning and manifestations of faith in the modern world is not just a story; it’s an invitation to reflect on our own beliefs and the common humanity that unites us all.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the essence of “Have a Little Faith,” explore its plot, characters, themes, and the rich literary devices that Mitch Albom employs to make this story not just readable, but profoundly impactful. 🌟

Plot Summary

“Have a Little Faith: A True Story” by Mitch Albom unfolds through a series of intertwined narratives, each contributing to the book’s exploration of faith, redemption, and the power of human connection. Here’s a detailed walkthrough of its plot:

Exposition β€” The story begins when Mitch Albom, an accomplished sports journalist and author, is approached by his childhood Rabbi, Albert Lewis (affectionately known as “the Reb”), with a request to write his eulogy. Though initially hesitant, Albom agrees, sparking a journey into the heart of faith and spirituality.

Rising Action β€” As Albom spends more time with the Reb, attending his synagogue in New Jersey and engaging in profound conversations, he embarks on a parallel journey in Detroit with Henry Covington, a pastor with a checkered past who now dedicates his life to helping the homeless. Through these encounters, Albom delves into the complexities of faith, the struggles of those trying to rebuild their lives, and the stories of two men from different worlds who share a deep commitment to serving their communities.

Climax β€” The narrative reaches its emotional apex as Albom comes to understand the depth of faith that guides both the Reb and Pastor Henry. This revelation comes through a series of events that test the faith of both leaders and their congregations, including financial struggles, health crises, and the challenge of maintaining hope in the face of adversity.

Falling Action β€” Albom reflects on the lessons of compassion, tolerance, and faith he has learned from both men. As the Reb’s health declines, the preparation for the eulogy becomes a catalyst for Albom’s personal introspection about life, death, and the legacies we leave behind.

Resolution β€” The book culminates with the Reb’s death and the delivery of his eulogy, marking a poignant moment of closure for Albom. He realizes the impact of the Reb and Pastor Henry on his understanding of faith, the importance of community, and the unifying power of love and kindness. Albom’s journey comes full circle with a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper appreciation for the diverse expressions of faith in human life.

“Have a Little Faith” is not just a story about two clergy members; it’s a narrative that challenges readers to find beauty in the diversity of faith and the commonalities that bind us together as humans β€” a truly transformative exploration of what it means to believe, belong, and become.

Character Analysis

“Have a Little Faith: A True Story” introduces readers to compelling real-life characters whose journeys and personal transformations provide depth and heart to Mitch Albom’s exploration of faith. Here’s an in-depth look at the main characters:

  • Albert Lewis (The Reb) β€” A kind-hearted and wise Rabbi from Mitch’s childhood synagogue. Throughout the book, the Reb’s unwavering faith, compassion, and sense of humor shine through. His life’s work is dedicated to serving his congregation and teaching the importance of faith and love. His interactions with Mitch offer profound insights into the nature of belief, the challenges of leadership, and the beauty of aging with dignity.
  • Henry Covington β€” A pastor with a troubled past, including drug addiction and crime, who experiences a dramatic transformation through faith. Henry becomes a beacon of hope in Detroit, ministering to the homeless and needy in his community. His story is a powerful testament to the possibilities of redemption and the impact of second chances.
  • Mitch Albom β€” The author and narrator of the story, Mitch embarks on a spiritual journey, guided by his interactions with the Reb and Henry Covington. Initially skeptical and detached from matters of faith, Mitch’s experiences lead him to reevaluate his own beliefs and the role of faith in his life. His character development is marked by an increasing openness to understanding and embracing the complexities of faith.

Character Analysis Summary:

Albert Lewis (The Reb)Compassionate, wise, humorousServe his congregation, teach about faith and loveRemains steadfast in his faith, providing guidance to Mitch
Henry CovingtonResilient, transformative, dedicatedRedeem his past, serve the needy and homelessTransforms from a troubled past to a pillar in his community
Mitch AlbomSkeptical, reflective, evolvingUnderstand faith, write the Reb’s eulogyGrows in his understanding and appreciation of faith

Through these characters, “Have a Little Faith” delves into themes of redemption, the power of community, and the enduring strength of faith across different lives and circumstances. The character analysis highlights the book’s message that regardless of one’s past or the challenges faced, faith can offer a path to redemption, understanding, and love.

Themes and Symbols

“Have a Little Faith: A True Story” by Mitch Albom is rich with themes and symbols that contribute to its profound messages about life, faith, and human connections. Let’s delve into some of the most significant ones:

  • Faith Across Different Lives β€” The book beautifully illustrates how faith plays a central role in diverse lives, transcending religious denominations. It showcases faith not just as a religious concept but as a universal force for good, understanding, and unity among people.
  • Redemption and Second Chances β€” Through characters like Henry Covington, the story emphasizes the power of redemption and the possibility of transformation, regardless of one’s past. This theme underlines the belief in human potential and the capacity for change when guided by faith and compassion.
  • Community and Service β€” The importance of community and the act of serving others is a recurring theme. Both the Reb and Henry Covington dedicate their lives to serving their congregations and communities, highlighting the idea that true faith is expressed through action and love towards others.
  • Life, Death, and Legacy β€” The narrative explores the inevitability of death and the importance of reflecting on the legacy one leaves behind. The Reb’s request for Mitch to write his eulogy serves as a catalyst for these reflections, urging readers to consider what truly matters in life.
  • Understanding and Tolerance β€” Albom’s journey reflects a growing understanding and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. The story advocates for a world where diverse beliefs coexist harmoniously, grounded in mutual respect and understanding.


  • The Purple Cassock β€” Worn by Henry Covington, the purple cassock symbolizes both the burden of past mistakes and the transformative power of faith. It represents Henry’s redemption journey and his role as a spiritual guide to others.
  • The Reb’s Sermons and Teachings β€” His words serve as a symbolic guide for Mitch and the readers, offering wisdom on faith, love, and the essence of a fulfilling life. They act as a moral compass, steering characters towards self-discovery and understanding.
  • The Broken Windows of the I Am My Brother’s Keeper Church β€” The church’s dilapidated state, especially its broken windows, symbolizes the struggles and imperfections of life. Yet, it also stands as a testament to the church’s resilience and the community’s unwavering faith in the face of hardship.

Through these themes and symbols, “Have a Little Faith” invites readers to ponder profound questions about the essence of faith, the significance of our actions, and the unifying power of love and understanding in our diverse world.

Writing Style and Tone

Mitch Albom’s “Have a Little Faith: A True Story” is marked by a writing style and tone that deeply resonate with readers, creating an engaging, reflective, and ultimately uplifting experience. Here’s how these elements contribute to the book’s mood and atmosphere:

  • Conversational and Intimate Tone β€” Albom employs a conversational tone that makes readers feel as though they are sitting down with a friend who is sharing a deeply personal and impactful story. This intimacy invites readers into the narrative, fostering a connection with the characters and their experiences.
  • Inclusive and Respectful Approach β€” The author’s respectful approach to discussing various faiths and beliefs underscores the book’s inclusive message. Albom’s writing encourages readers to open their hearts and minds to different perspectives, promoting understanding and empathy.
  • Reflective and Philosophical Insights β€” Throughout the book, Albom weaves in reflective questions and philosophical insights that encourage readers to ponder their own beliefs and values. This introspective quality adds depth to the narrative, challenging readers to consider the role of faith in their own lives.
  • Narrative Driven by Real-Life Stories β€” The use of real-life stories and experiences grounds the book in reality, adding authenticity and emotional depth. Albom’s storytelling prowess shines as he navigates complex themes through the lives of relatable characters, making abstract concepts like faith tangible and understandable.
  • Optimistic and Hopeful Undertones β€” Despite exploring themes of death, loss, and hardship, the book maintains an underlying sense of optimism and hope. This balance between the realities of life’s challenges and the possibility of redemption and understanding contributes to a mood that is both reflective and uplifting.
  • Simple yet Powerful Language β€” Albom’s choice of language is straightforward yet powerful, making complex themes accessible to a wide audience. His ability to convey profound messages in simple terms enhances the book’s impact, leaving a lasting impression on readers.

Together, these elements of style and tone make “Have a Little Faith: A True Story” a compelling read that not only entertains but also inspires and enlightens. Albom’s writing invites readers on a journey that is as thought-provoking as it is heartwarming, underscoring the power of faith, love, and the human connection.

Literary Devices used in Have a Little Faith: A True Story

Mitch Albom masterfully employs various literary devices in “Have a Little Faith: A True Story” to enhance the narrative’s depth, emotional resonance, and thematic richness. Here are the top 10 devices used:

  1. Anecdote β€” Albom utilizes anecdotes effectively throughout the book, sharing personal stories and moments from the lives of the Reb and Henry Covington. These anecdotes serve to humanize the characters, making their experiences and lessons more relatable and impactful for the reader.
  2. Imagery β€” The author employs vivid imagery to bring scenes and emotions to life. Descriptions of the dilapidated church in Detroit or the warmth of the synagogue in New Jersey allow readers to visualize the settings and feel the atmosphere, deepening the connection to the story.
  3. Simile β€” Through similes, Albom draws comparisons that illuminate the characters’ thoughts and feelings, making complex emotions more accessible. For instance, comparing faith to a “shield” illustrates its protective and comforting role in the characters’ lives.
  4. Metaphor β€” Metaphors are used to convey deeper meanings and insights, such as when Albom describes faith as a “journey,” highlighting its evolving, dynamic nature and the personal growth it entails.
  5. Symbolism β€” Objects and scenarios, like the broken windows of the church or the Reb’s sermons, serve as symbols that represent larger themes of hope, faith, and community resilience, enriching the narrative’s layering of meaning.
  6. Foreshadowing β€” Albom subtly uses foreshadowing to hint at future developments and themes, building anticipation and thematic cohesion. The initial request from the Reb to write his eulogy foreshadows the exploration of legacy and the impact of a life lived with purpose.
  7. Flashback β€” The narrative structure includes flashbacks to pivotal moments in the characters’ pasts. These flashbacks provide context and background, helping readers understand the motivations and transformations of the characters.
  8. Irony β€” Situational irony is present in the contrast between the characters’ pasts and their present roles, emphasizing the theme of redemption and the unexpected ways life can unfold.
  9. Alliteration β€” Alliteration is used for emphasis and to create a rhythmic quality in the prose, enhancing the reading experience and making certain passages more memorable.
  10. Personification β€” Albom occasionally personifies abstract concepts, such as faith or hope, giving them qualities that readers can relate to and understand on a personal level, thus deepening the narrative’s emotional impact.

Each of these literary devices contributes to the book’s ability to engage, enlighten, and move its readers, showcasing Mitch Albom’s skill as a storyteller who can explore profound themes with subtlety and depth.

Literary Devices Examples

Let’s explore examples and explanations for each of the top 10 literary devices used in “Have a Little Faith: A True Story” by Mitch Albom. For clarity, each device is presented in a separate table.


The story of the Reb’s insistence on paying for a window repair, despite the contractor’s refusal to charge him, illustrates his integrity and humility.This anecdote demonstrates the Reb’s character and the respect he earns in his community, reinforcing themes of honesty and service.
Henry’s journey from a life of crime to leading a congregation serves as a powerful narrative of redemption and transformation.Through Henry’s story, readers see the profound impact of faith and the possibility of change, emphasizing the book’s theme of second chances.
Mitch’s recollection of his bar mitzvah highlights his initial disconnection from faith and sets the stage for his spiritual journey.This personal story introduces Mitch’s skepticism and frames his evolution throughout the book, showcasing the personal nature of faith and belief.


Descriptions of the frigid, leaky roof of Henry’s church vividly convey the harsh conditions and the congregation’s perseverance.The imagery underscores themes of hardship and resilience, making the struggles and faith of the church members palpable to the reader.
The warmth and light in the Reb’s synagogue during services create a stark contrast to the bleakness of Detroit’s streets.This imagery evokes a sense of sanctuary and community, highlighting the role of faith in creating hope and belonging.


Albom describes faith as “a bridge over troubled water,” suggesting its role in providing support and passage through difficult times.This simile illustrates the comforting and sustaining role of faith during challenges, resonating with the reader’s own experiences of adversity.


Faith is depicted as a “journey,” emphasizing its dynamic and evolving nature.This metaphor reflects the book’s exploration of faith as a personal and transformative process, inviting readers to consider their own spiritual journeys.


The broken windows of the church symbolize both the physical and spiritual challenges faced by the congregation.The symbolism here points to the resilience and hope that sustain the community despite external hardships, reinforcing the theme of perseverance through faith.


The Reb’s early request for Mitch to write his eulogy hints at the exploration of legacy and the impact of one’s life.This instance of foreshadowing sets up the narrative’s deeper themes of mortality, legacy, and the meaning of a life well-lived.


Mitch’s flashbacks to childhood experiences with the Reb provide context for their relationship and the Reb’s influence.These flashbacks enrich the narrative, offering insights into Mitch’s growth and the foundational role of the Reb’s teachings in his life.


Henry’s past as a criminal contrasts sharply with his present role as a spiritual leader, highlighting the unexpected paths of redemption.This irony underscores the book’s message that anyone can find redemption and purpose, often in surprising ways.


“Faith forms the foundation”The use of alliteration here emphasizes the fundamental role of faith, making the statement more memorable and impactful.


Faith is described as “welcoming” and “forgiving,” attributing human qualities to an abstract concept.This personification makes the concept of faith more relatable and tangible, illustrating its capacity to embrace and heal.

These examples highlight how Mitch Albom uses literary devices to deepen the narrative of “Have a Little Faith: A True Story,” making the themes of faith, redemption, and community more vivid and resonant for the reader.

Have a Little Faith: A True Story – FAQs

What is “Have a Little Faith: A True Story” about?
“Have a Little Faith: A True Story” is a non-fiction book by Mitch Albom that explores the concept of faith through the author’s relationships with two men: Albert Lewis, a Rabbi from his hometown, and Henry Covington, a pastor in Detroit with a past of drug addiction and homelessness. The book delves into themes of belief, redemption, and the power of community service.

Who are the main characters in “Have a Little Faith”?
The main characters include Albert Lewis (the Reb), a beloved Rabbi; Henry Covington, a pastor with a difficult past who ministers to the homeless; and Mitch Albom himself, who narrates his journey of understanding and exploring faith.

What themes are explored in “Have a Little Faith”?
Major themes include the diversity and universality of faith, the significance of community and service, redemption and transformation, the impact of legacy, and the journey of personal belief.

How does Mitch Albom’s writing style contribute to the book?
Albom’s writing style is conversational, reflective, and intimate, which helps to engage readers and invite them into the personal and philosophical explorations of the book. His use of real-life anecdotes, vivid imagery, and direct addresses to the reader fosters a connection and encourages reflection on the themes discussed.

What lessons can be learned from “Have a Little Faith”?
Lessons include the importance of understanding and tolerance across different faiths and beliefs, the potential for personal growth and redemption, the value of community service, and the profound impact of caring and compassionate leadership.

Is “Have a Little Faith” based on a true story?
Yes, “Have a Little Faith” is based on true events and real people. Mitch Albom shares his actual experiences with the Reb and Henry Covington, making the book a true story.

What makes “Have a Little Faith” unique in its genre?
What sets the book apart is its dual focus on two distinctly different religious leaders and communities, brought together by universal themes of faith and humanity. Albom’s personal journey of discovery and the direct involvement of real-life figures in the narrative add depth and authenticity to the exploration of faith.


Who approached Mitch Albom to write his eulogy?Henry CovingtonAlbert Lewis (The Reb)Mitch’s FatherA stranger
What is a major theme in “Have a Little Faith”?The complexity of technologyEconomic theoriesFaith and redemptionPolitical strategies
What significant transformation does one of the characters undergo?Becoming a professional athleteTransitioning from a life of crime to leading a congregationStarting a new businessMoving to a new country
How does Mitch Albom describe his writing style in the book?Scientific and technicalConversational and intimateLegal and formalSatirical and humorous
Which symbol represents the struggles and resilience of the congregation in Detroit?A golden chaliceA broken windowA red doorA blue sky
What lesson does “Have a Little Faith” emphasize regarding different faiths?The importance of competitionThe value of isolationThe necessity of conflictUnderstanding and tolerance
Is “Have a Little Faith” fiction or non-fiction?FictionNon-fictionA mix of bothAn anthology of poems
What literary device is heavily used to relate personal stories and insights?IronyAnecdoteHyperboleOnomatopoeia
Which character shows the power of redemption?Mitch’s childhood friendAlbert Lewis (The Reb)Henry CovingtonA fictional character Mitch creates
What does Mitch Albom hope readers gain from “Have a Little Faith”?A guide to financial successInsights into faith and the human connectionA new perspective on modern artInstructions for home repairs

This quiz is designed to test comprehension and understanding of key aspects of “Have a Little Faith: A True Story,” including its themes, characters, and literary elements.


Identify the literary devices used in the following paragraph from “Have a Little Faith: A True Story”:

“As the sun set over the dilapidated church, its broken windows captured the last rays, turning them into a mosaic of hope that lit up the faces of the congregation inside. In this moment, the church, despite its imperfections, stood as a beacon of unwavering faith, a testament to the power of belief over despair. The preacher’s voice, rich and resonant, wove through the air, a tapestry of stories that bound everyone in a shared experience of redemption and grace.”


  1. Imagery – The description of the sunset and the broken windows creating a “mosaic of hope” vividly paints a picture that appeals to the reader’s senses.
  2. Metaphor – The church is described as a “beacon of unwavering faith” and a “testament to the power of belief over despair,” comparing it to a guiding light and a document of proof without using like or as.
  3. Personification – The church is personified as standing “as a beacon of unwavering faith,” attributing human qualities to an inanimate object.
  4. Simile – The preacher’s voice is compared to a “tapestry of stories,” using “like” or “as” to highlight how his words interweave to create a shared experience.
  5. Symbolism – The broken windows symbolize both the physical and spiritual challenges faced by the congregation, while the light turning them into a mosaic represents hope and beauty emerging from brokenness.

This exercise is designed to help students recognize and understand the use of literary devices in enhancing the narrative and thematic depth of a text.