ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Book Review: Spirited Life and Afterlife Stories by Mike Friedman

Updated on June 18, 2020
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has been a professional writer and critic of films, books, music and theater for over 20 years.


Where Will You Venture After Life on Earth?

You Might Need An Emissary...

Nuelle, the emissary of the carriage to the Beyond, may be your escort one day. Where will you go next?
Nuelle, the emissary of the carriage to the Beyond, may be your escort one day. Where will you go next? | Source

Do You Have Questions About Life and Afterlife?

If you study philosophy, you have likely confronted the global religions and their alternatives to an afterlife. If you read science fiction or watch it in movies or on television, you no doubt have encountered many more alternatives to the next life, whether it is nonexistent, mental, physical, or other-dimensional.

All of this can raise more questions than answers can be provided by philosophy and religion.

If you have questions about what happens after the years we are granted on this planet - and even if you are sure where you will or will not go next - author Mike Friedman offers two sets of stories offering alternative answers that warm the heart and bolster the mind to come up with even more answers.

I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.

— Simone de Beauvoir, La Vieillesse

Answers in the Footsteps of a White Horse

Mr. Friedman knows what he is writing, certainly, and has won the annual Best Fiction Writer Award for a number of years. He is esteemed and supported by many faithful readers and one hopes that you will join them.

The Carriage Driver, with a sequel to appear in the future, is a unique collection of stories about the lives and backgrounds of individuals and how they are escorted into their next chapters. I think that you will be moved by at least some of these stories. In fact, many people continue to read the book several times.

Meet a white horse in this book and be captivated. Let yourself be intrigued by each alternative journey.

Blackwaterfoot: horseshoe prints on the beach.
Blackwaterfoot: horseshoe prints on the beach. | Source

A Logical Choice for Considering the Afterlife

Michael Friedman is a logical choice of author to poke around in readers' minds in order to extrude creative thoughts about life and afterlife.

However, a site called, gave him the profile of a philosophy professor accidentally. What fun! Still, Mike makes philosophy of afterlife alternatives fun and easy to understand - something that many professors cannot achieve.

. From out of all this and more, Michael has created a set of stories about the physical and metaphysical that appeal to those outside university walls and to those who may never have thought about philosophy or what happens to humans after this life.

I am glad that he did this. Several of his stories are among my favorites of all stories from Ancient Days to Modern Times.

Who is the Mysterious Nuelle?


Who is the Carriage Driver?

While one's earthly remains travel by coffin or urn of ashes to an end point, the long-time carriage driver in a top hat with his equine emissary Nuelle elegantly transports the real people departing this life. They all travel to different locales.

At the end of some of the driver's stories, you may wish that you could go along with the characters, their futures seem so compelling..

The departing souls enjoy a comfortable carriage ride, sometimes touring their hometown a final time before shimmering out of this dimension.

It is a much better ride than one would have with the boatman on the river Styx or on the Klingon Black Ship.

Sometimes, Nuelle is the only one who really knows what's going on in a particular case. This horse is always ready for the journey. So who is the real driver - the man, the horse, or both?

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Promises in Boston

Michael says in his own description of his book "This work presents the instances where a person’s life has led to a carriage ride to the Promised Land."

The book leads the reader to serene and/or stimulating thoughts in the current day as well. As a pastor once said, "Last Days!? These are our ONLY days, so we need to make the most of them."

But still, there is After.

The stories in this book encompass Boston, Massachusetts with place names that might be familiar to you. Other places may not be familiar at all - like the comfortable interior of the carriage drawn by Nuelle, who likes about half an apple for a snack every day.

The driver in the top hat is well dressed and kind, sometimes following Nuelle's lead as they gather souls for delivery to that Promised Land. Each individual has their own concept of it and some of these ideas are astonishing.

What might be called Heaven by many of us is located just past a way-station in the Beyond, called The Castle.

Castle In the Sky
Castle In the Sky | Source

Castle Options - Some Familiar, Some Not

In the other-wordly castle, the Traveler may meet friends and family, but even if (s)he meets no one else, (s)he enjoys the ministrations of a cordial staff. The Castle is pleasant and welcoming, a place to be nourished before going on.

Interestingly, such a place is found in certain religious teachings -- One pastor has described a glade under trees where angels bring food before one enters Heaven, for instance..

Travelers may rest a short while in the castle way-station and then journey on, or in some cases, they may even return to Earth for a special assignment mission. All the while, the carriage driver has his carriage, top hat, and horse at the ready.


The Old High Silk Hat

Top hats can lead one to many places - like the Chocolate Factory, a Mad Tea Party, or the Promised Land. I imagine the carriage driver in the book to be someone like Fred Astaire or Patrick Stewart.

They Can't Take That Away

The way you wear your hat, The way you sip your tea, The mem'ry of all that No, no! They can't take that away from me!

— Fred Astaire in

Favorite Chapters

Each story is better than the last, but my favorites are likely the most unusual of the group:

  • The Aviarist - The gem-like colors of the world's birds bring to mind the rainbow, the light spectrum, flowers, and a jeweler's showcase. You may think of all those things as you read this engaging story. Do you know anyone who has collected colorful birds throughout a lifetime? What does one do with them ultimately? This story describes a beautiful option
  • The Pianist - Have you ever seen a piano in the company of angels? Is there music in Heaven? -- Many sources already say there is beautiful music there.

Other stories in this book focus on a trumpeter, children, couples, and individuals who come back to Earth rather than continue to the other side. And who takes people to "The Other Place" (no Heaven)? There seems to be a whole stable of them!

The Carriage Driver
The Carriage Driver
The first story in this anthology is good and grips the reader's attention, but each one following it is even better. When you reach the end, you want to return to the first one and start the journey anew.

Spirit In the Sky (Norman Greenbaum): Released in 1969

Consider Your Years Before the Carriage Ride

Will you be happy in your senior years?

Setting: It is around the the middle of the 21st century and you are in your 70s, 80s or 90s - are you happy? You could be!

As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.

— Criss Jami, Killosophy

So what if I'm ninety-three? So what if I'm ancient and cranky and my body's a wreck? If they're willing to accept me and my guilty conscience, why the hell shouldn't I run away with the circus? ... I'm not running away - I'm coming home!

— Sara Gruen, "Water For Elephants" book and film

As Lively As In Youth

The Quinn Moosebroker Mysteries
The Quinn Moosebroker Mysteries
This book captures the lives of an older man and an older woman who are still very lively and have adventures together that m,any young people would love to experience.
Quinn Moosebroker and Betty Atwood begin a long-time relationship at the 2nd Street Playhouse, a community theater whose members love old radio mysteries.
Quinn Moosebroker and Betty Atwood begin a long-time relationship at the 2nd Street Playhouse, a community theater whose members love old radio mysteries. | Source

Mystery Tonight!

Mysteries occur one after another in the lives of Quinn, Betty and his adult daughter. Some of these thrillers involve murder and others involve the backstories of classic pieces of art like those stolen during WWII raids by the Third Reich. We also hear about the lives of Quinn and Betty before the timeline of the book. The stories occur locally in Clearview Terrace, but take the characters to Europe more than once. The book has a pleasant variety.

The stories pack a lot of interest and action into the lives of an older couple. I hope the stories and the characters encourage older people to remain active as long as possible..


A Man Needs A Trusty Auto

Quinn's major hobby is restoring and maintaining his 1946 wood-paneled Chrysler Town and Country (a "Woody") and an occasional trip to a book shop operated by Blake Knightly. The characters remind me of the inhabitants of the town of Pickaxe, Michigan in "The Cat Who" mysteries.

Another Helping Of Life

If you want to read about additional characters and their life events, you can try a copy of Mike's Emerald Wells Cafe and Pear Blossom Lane. The stories take place in and around a cafe diner in Emerald Wells, Texas and Mike says about this book: "It’s a western. It’s a poetry book. It’s a romance. It’s a food book. It’s the lost biography of the USA. In my heart, I am from Emerald Wells."

With over 400 pages of great characters and stories, this book is rated 100% at five stars out of five on

You'll likely find something fascinating and engaging in any of these Michael Friedman books. No matter which ones you choose, they will give you entertainment and something to consider while you are figuring out where you will go after you leave Earth.

Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure

And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven

— Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Patty Inglish MS


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Charu Bhatnagar profile image

      Charu Bhatnagar 

      4 years ago from India

      Such nice review and well put together Hub. Loved it, thanks.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Lawrence, I hope you like some of the stories as much as I do! Have a great read!

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


      The first one reminded me of Bunyan's 'Pilgrims progress'. It sounds like a series of 'enchanting tales'

      Might have to go on my 'to read' list.


    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      I'm looking forward to it, Mike! (And I see my numb fingers omitted the 'h' from your name in my previous comment. So sorry.)

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi. Shyron. Thanks for your support of The Carriage Driver Series. Also, the Quinn and Betty stories were fun to write. Since they had a thread running through them it was actually fairly easy week after week to answer the question, ‘What comes next?”

      Patty, that is funny, I should have carried a pen with me on all the book hunting and signed all the Star Trek books.

      Hi mar. Thank you for classifying my titles as favorites. That is appreciated.

      Hello Peg. The ‘gang’ at Emerald Wells Café had a good time. Those were the days. Poetry and pastry is how I explain it.

      Hi MsDora. There are several episodes still posted on Hubpages for you to sample if you wish.

      Hello Theresa. Thank you for your kind comments. You are appreciated.

      Hello Nellieanna. Thank you. The Carriage Driver is a peek behind the curtain. I certainly hope you enjoy my excursions into the imagination.

      Hello Patty. Thanks again for all your hard work putting together an overview of my work here on Hubpages. I am so glad you enjoyed the stories.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      4 years ago from TEXAS

      I'm all the more convinced that I must read Micael's book and that answers and clarifications I seek are to be found there! I'll have it in hand tomorrow.

      Thank you, Patty, for your scholarly review!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      @marcourjor - Thank you very much! The Carriage Driver series strongly grasped my attention, as I know it did yours. The series and more to come are blessings!

      @PegCole17 - These are very nice stories to read over and over, aren't they? I think not many books can say that about themselves and the characters become real people to us.

      @MsDora - I hope you have the opportunity to read the Carriage Driver collection and the sequel anthology when it comes out. So many novels today are full of violence and hate, that the Carriage Driver ids even more welcomed.

      @Faith Reaper - I began thinking about who the Carriage Driver and Nuelle might be and Mike's very next story gave us the background. It was as if he'd read my mind when I chose the images for this Hub. Anyway, his work is important and becoming part of our lives. Be blessed!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Patty,

      You've done such a superb job here in your wonderful review of The Carriage Driver. I cherish my copy. Mike has a gift no doubt in his creative writing and more. He is also an all-around good guy who is humble about his writing. There is nothing else around like The Carriage Driver.

      I bet Mike had a great imagination as a child too.

      Peace and blessings

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      This review on Mike's book endorses another one I read just a few minutes ago. Sure would like to read it. Thanks!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Patty, what a great job you've done here highlighting Mike's books and stories. They've captivated me along with his other works of fiction. It's like a mini-vacation reading about the folks at Emerald Wells Cafe and the afterlife is presented in The Carriage Driver as a joyous journey of hope, as is promised. Quinn and Betty's adventures take us on a different sort of journey where we have mystery and intrigue. Nicely done. Sharing this great review.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Comprehensive and heartfelt review of books that are classified as "favorites" on my shelves - excellent job, Patty - most well-deserved, dear Mike.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Oh wow, will you autograph all of mine? lol

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Patty - I was surprised when I found out I wrote all the Star Trek books. Heck, I might be wealthy if I had. haha

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      @Mike - The Internet has all kind of fun and not-so-much-fun mis-facts :) All fixed here, Professor and Sir, as said in a science fiction series I once read.

      @Shyron E. Shenko - I appreciate your comments very much. The story about the painting is a really good one.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Patty, this is a wonder description of Mike's Carriage Driver.

      I enjoy his series and I have enjoyed your making them Driver and Nuelle come to life.

      I also enjoy the Moosebroker mysteries, my favorite where Betty and Quinn switch a painting for a phony and pass it off for the real McCoy.

      Blessings Patty

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Patty. The reference to Medialander and Stanford are a different Mike Friedman. I do so appreciate your efforts here. Even without those two references, you have highlighted the Carriage Driver and Nuelle so very well.

      Indeed no mumbo jumbo. Those that have lived a good life and are deserving, go on to their reward. That is what we have been taught.

      A toast to our rewards.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      mckbirdbks - Thanks a million for your comments, Mike!

      Well, no matter what the Internet may say, I appreciate you as an author that can make philosophy live for your readers - no "mumbo jumbo" as I have heard it called in classrooms! lol I'll remove that bio if you like :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Patty. Thank you for this. You have done such a nice job with this. Your description of the message is so focused. The character of the Carriage Driver and Nuelle seem to come to life with your telling of the story. You have also highlighted two of my favorite episodes The Avarist and The Pianist. Each of those were a pleasure to write.

      I appreciate the mention of The Quinn Moosebroker Mysteries and also Emerald Wells Café. Emerald Wells Café brought joy as I published here on Hubpages. Your depiction of Quinn and Betty is very good, the message is clear, go out and enjoy your time here and together.

      The internet has mislead you regarding my bio. You made me sound so scholarly, I hate to say anything.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)