Book Review: Heaven is For Real – A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of his Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
by Julie Failla Earhart
I don’t think I’m alone when I wonder if heaven is real and what it could be like. I believe it’s real; it may not be what I imagine, but it’s real alright. One of the first books I read that really spoke to me about what heaven could be like was Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven. (If you haven’t read it, by all means run right out and get a copy.) But I’m not here to discuss Albom’s wonderful novella. I’m here to talk about Heaven is For Real, written by Todd Burpo, father of Colton Burpo, and in collaboration with experienced writer Lynn Vincent.
Four-year-old Colton’s appendicitis is misdiagnosed; doctors thought he had the flu. However, as his symptoms worsened, the doctors were forced to reevaluate his condition, but not before he almost dies. Although the doctors never lose him, not even for a few seconds, Colton leaves his body and takes a quick trip to heaven.
Eight years later, when Colton is twelve, his dad publishes his story about what happened in those few seconds. During those eight years, Colton reveals little by little. At first, no one believed he had made the journey, since he never died on the table. However, his accounts of exactly what his parents were doing made believers out of everyone, including the doctors. Colton would tell of his adventures when the moment was right or the situation fit. For example, when Todd was talking about his dad, Colton remembered meeting him in heaven.
I have heard nothing but raves about this book, especially for those who have recently lost a loved one. However, I was disappointed. Ninety percent of the story is about how Todd and his wife pieced together Colton’s amazing journey over the eight years. I understand that no one is going to get a detailed account of anything from a four year old, much less something that does not seem unusual or foreign. The remaining ten percent of the story described heaven and Jesus. That ten percent was wonderful, but it didn’t have the life-changing impact that Albom’s above mentioned work did.