Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book Review: Heaven is for Real

I recently had the opportunity to review the audiobook Heaven is for Real written by Todd Burpo and read by Dean Gallagher.  Approximately 4 1/2 hours long, it was a pretty quick listen.  Gallagher does an amazing job as reader, and I would completely forget that I wasn't listening to Colton's dad's voice, just to his words.  Part of that is the writing style, too.  Burpo writes like a dad, just talking to you about what happened in his family.

A description of the book, subtitled "A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back," from the publisher:

“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said. “Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back. Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read. With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words,
Heaven is for Real offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”
I had read some reviews of the book, so I was intrigued, but skeptical.  Listening to the book convinced me that this did seem possible.  And listening to Colton talk about meeting his sister in heaven made me absolutely bawl.  Colton's mom had suffered a miscarriage that Colton did not know about.  As I listened to Colton's dad describe the conversation between Colton and his mom when he talks about meeting the "baby who died in your tummy" I was there.  I have no idea how she managed to hold it together and not break down sobbing.  I don't think I could have done it.

I enjoyed this book.  Did Colton actually visit heaven?  Take a listen and decide for yourself...

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this audiobook free from Oasis Audio as part of their Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Heidi T said...

I saw Colton & his dad do a TV interview when they were promoting the book, and felt the same-- intruged but skeptical. I may add this to my wish list after all :) Is it something that would be appropriate for small children (say pre-k) to listen to as well? Or is more geared toward the older crowd?

Debra said...

Heidi -- I didn't hear anything that would be inappropriate for the pre-k crowd. It may not hold their interest, but I think the scariest stuff in the book would go totally over their heads. "Burst appendix" and that whole discussion probably doesn't mean much to them.