A Surprisingly Honest Adventure!
I admit, I was skeptical when I first heard about this book. I was expecting some cheesy imagining of what heaven could look like. But as I began to read this book, I saw a story unfolding before my eyes.
This is not some biblical study on what heaven is like. This is also not some overactive imaginary description of it either. It is the story of a family who walked through the valley of the shadow of death and how they emerged from the other side.
The story is about Colton, the son of the main author (a pastor) who had a near death experience where he found himself in the heavenly courts and witness to some amazing details. But the story is told from the perspective of the Father and the horrors of watching your son almost die. And then as life progresses, the boy gives glimpses of the glory he witnessed by revealing very specific details of information concerning their family that he literally has no other way of knowing... Examples include how Colton told about his Grandfather, his second older sister (who was miscarried), and a whole bunch of details about heaven that a child his age would not have any knowledge of even with the background of church, Sunday School, and being a pastor's kid.
As I said, I was skeptical from the beginning, but I really appreciate how this book was written. I think that anyone can find encouragement within its pages and I heartily recommend it.
on November 10, 2012
This is such a beautiful book ! So many people of have questions about heaven, well all you have to do is read this book and all your questions will be satisfied!
This review may be a little...different. It has taken me a while, because after reading this book, I sat back and thought about it. What do I say, and more importantly, what do I believe?
Summary: This book is intended as a true account of a boy who visited heaven, as told by his father and a co-writer, Lynn Vincent.
Writing and Theme: The book is largely written as an account of Colton Burpo, who claims his spirit left his body and went to heaven while he was in a serious operation at the hospital. Over time, he tells of his experiences in heaven with Jesus and other people from history.
I would rather that the father had been the only author, as since this is to be a true account, it is a crucial point to this book's integrity. As there is a co-author, it's hard to tell if she "spiced things up". The work itself is fairly well written, and keeps your attention.
Theological and Topical Points: This is where it gets hard. First, I'll look at it from the skeptical point of view.
Does God really let people see heaven? To be honest, I don't know. In the Bible there are accounts of people going to heaven without physically dying, but they never returned.
In this age and nation, we need to consider other elements. Please don't take offense, but these questions unfortunately have to be asked. Is the boy a pathological liar? Is the father a pathological liar? Is he using his son to be published? Is he using his son to gain fame? Did he omit details and/or explanations for this said miracle, making it to appear in favor of a miracle and in turn, Christianity? How much profit will this book bring the Burpos and their ministry?
I know, it sounds awful, but with all the stories and scams that fly around nowadays, these questions must be asked.
Now from a different point of view, this book is quite inspirational. It provides encouragement and comfort for us, and in that respect, I would recommend reading it. I enjoyed the whole book, and only after did I start to ask questions. But whether this book is true or not, it is a beautiful story. I am not telling you to take it as truth, but maybe view it as a possible miracle. To be sure, it should encourage your faith, and make you search deeper as to how strong your faith is.
on June 15, 2014
Not for me, way to religious.
Found it just too silly, not believable. Waste of my time and money.
I am sure the parents took great relief in their sons return to life, but come on....kids just don't talk like that.
on May 1, 2015
A wonderful family movie! Very stirring, compelling and captivating! I couldn't help but get caught up in the scenario when Mom is a little slow on the uptake! She just didn't want to believe Colton's experience...like most. Sometimes our sense of reality gets in the way of what God's reality is and we need innocent little people to sometimes jar us back into God's realm from time to time.
Super, super movie! I would like to have seen more presentation on what the alternative to Heaven is, but then again, that wasn't Colton's experience. However, it would've been fitting had it been "attached" in Todd's very weak sermon somehow. I was saddened to see how a pastor could have questions like this while trying to lead the flock. One cannot lead where one has never been! It was an honest portrayal of the frailties of mankind and various faith issues that we all get from time to time, I suppose.The actors did a superb job and the cinematography was excellent. Highly recommend.
on March 25, 2015
I read this book for my Toastmaster Book Club.
This is the true story of a young boy wakes up from surgery and starts to tell stories about going to heaven and meeting Jesus and family members who have passed away before he met them. his father, who is a priest, coaxes the stories out of the boy without trying to lead him. The boy's stories are very convincing to his father and he does start to believe the boy.
There will be naysayers who say that this book is a hoax. In fact, just as I reading this boo, it was in the news as one of the people involved somehow with the book disavowed it. The young boy in the story, who is now a teenager, stands by his story.
The one thing I was disappointed about was that the father never found out for certain whether his son was dead on the operating table or not. This is an important part of all out of body experiences.
This was a book that I don't think I would have normally read. I am happy to have read it. It was not hard to read and I was always curious about what the boy would talk about next.
I read this book as it was given to me as a gift by a close friend, it isn't my normal genre, but the concept was very intriguing to me.
Overall, I would have to say that the book is quite boring; I found that the author spends more time talking about his life and life in his "one-horse town" than the experiences of his son, which is what the book markets itself as. I am not really interested in the life a pastor in a small town, and in truth, his life is not exceptionally interesting, he is a good man, there is no doubt of that, but he is - in the end - just an ordinary guy surviving life.
The writing style of the book is decent, not a work of art, but it sort of feels like the author is having a conversation with you. He writes like he talks, which at times takes away from the story, and other times makes it more natural. I think that given the topic of this book, this style of writing gives it more credibility, had I read a book that sounded like someone writing a story I don't think the message that this book is trying to convey would have been believable. In other words: how am I to believe this book when it sounds like I am reading Lord of the Rings? Its lack of eloquence and poetic writing gives a more realistic tale.
The funny thing about this book is that even though it is a bit boring, and the writing style isn't great, I would still recommend this book. I will admit when I read the book I was highly skeptical, and with the author writing so much about himself rather than his son's experiences I started considering the book to be more a brag book than anything else. However, when you get into some of the things the son said regarding his experiences in Heaven, it just tugs at this inner feeling that what he is saying is true, and that even though you don't know why you know it's true, you just do. This book has certainly made me rethink some of my previous opinions. I think, in the end, the thing I take away from this book is that it makes me happy.
In the end I give this book a rating of 7 out of 10, and would recommend people to read it.
on June 2, 2014
I was so disappointed in this book. I have read numerous NDE written by credible people and am convinced that we are all eternal and, in fact, we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience...this life is but a speck on our journey's.
However, this book was written by a Christian Pastor, committed to the bible...and had to continuously refer to bible verses to accept what his son was telling him. This dad asked the child leading questions about the experience which was a real disservice if there is a story to be told.
The most appalling part of the book, which is continuous throughout the book, that if you do not ask Jesus into your heart, well, sorry, the kid is frightened for you because you are going to burn in hell.
BS! Stop that kind of madness thinking please!
If you are a Christian, and believe the first and only bible verse you really need to get into heaven (John 3:16...for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son, that whosever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life). Yes, I know the verse, it was the first one drilled into my head as a small child. If this is the faith you follow then you will love the book.
All of the rest of the world is going to hell. Make sure you are the chosen one if you want to enjoy the child's experience as interpreted by Christian dad.
I prefer to read books without discrimination of one soul over another. I prefer to read true stories of NDE by the person who experienced it themselves. I thought by buying this book I would get a good insight into the child's experience. No. I got a lot about dad and his bible and very little that I could hang my hat on.
on December 6, 2011
I chose to read Heaven is for Real: A Little Boys Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo for BookSneeze and I read it in one sitting. I liked it. A lot.
This is a particularly Christian book written by a specifically Christian author, telling the story about his 4-year-old son's trip to heaven and back. It is a moving story. Anyone who has a child will be powerfully impacted by such a tale. Most people in general will love it.
I had first heard about it when in first came out - radio talk shows were flooded with stories and callers and "experts" on the book and its topics. But when you read the story and how the author captures the simplicity and innocence of the boy, you will be taken in. I read the book fairly quickly and enjoyed it! It was very thought provoking and I was always waiting to hear more from Colton. The fact that after this book, you are left thinking about many things and feeling inspired as well as enthralled, it speaks a lot about the story as well as the author. I would definitely recommend it - a future movie perhaps?? Hollywood just may do that.
on May 19, 2014
Rev. Todd Burpo's book is an endearing little read. A story of a struggling little family with its share of misfortune leads into the central theme of Todd's son coming down with peritonitis which because of inept diagnosis almost leads to his death. The little boy is spared and then comes a series of the boy recounting his experience with Jesus and God. All of it very real and clothed with the honestly and innocence of a small child. It's reminiscent of the old expression, "Honestly, you can't make this stuff up."
I have given it two stars. To be sure it is not great literature and does not have the same impact as a novel such as "The Shack" by William Paul Young. On the other hand it is non-fiction telling the story of very real events. The reader will not come away with theological elevation but it is memorable.