Heaven is for Real

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Heaven is for Real (audiobook)

by Todd Burpo

AR Level 6.3, 6 points

This is the story of a boy named Colton who nearly died.  His dad is a pastor and their family lives in a small town.  Colton comes down with a bad case of appendicitis and nearly dies.  While he is in emergency surgery, he is taken to Heaven where he meets Jesus and sees and experiences many things we don’t know about on Earth, unless we’ve read and interpreted little-known parts of the Bible.  Colton’s memories of Heaven and Jesus, as well as things we wouldn’t know, start to come out as he shares from his innocent, child-like point of view.

I grew up in and out of church.  I was baptized Episcopalian, went to a non-denominational church in high school, attended a Nazarene college, and became a Roman Catholic when I was dating my husband.  I have been in a lot of churches, I’ve read the Bible and heard many interpretations, and I have had my ups and downs with what I believe and what it means to be a “good” Christian.  This book made me consider my faith and what I believe to be true.

What I liked about this book was that it caused me to have chills and chicken skin many, many times.  For example, Colton and his family had an ongoing joke about what Jesus looked like, and they’d often point out paintings of Jesus for Colton to say that didn’t look like Him.  Then, his father heard about a girl who painted pictures based on visions she received, and he pulled up her portrait of Jesus on his laptop.  THAT was the picture Colton stopped dead in his tracks and stared at, and eventually said looked like Jesus.  Ugh.  Chills.

What I didn’t like about this book… well, there were two things.  The first is the emphasis (for several chapters) on spiders and vomit, my two least favorite things in the world.  There was excruciating detail about their visit to a museum where there was a big tarantula exhibit.  Uh, no thank you.  I don’t need to hear about their hairy bodies or what color they are or how they move or escape from their habitats.  Second, and I get it, but there was a lot of barf.  Colton was sick, and non-stop vomiting was a symptom.  It was so sad that a little boy was so devastatingly sick.  The second thing that bothered me was the WANT to believe everything in this book without actually being able to believe it all.  That kind of bothered me.  If I don’t believe it, is it because I don’t have enough faith?  If I do, am I naive?  It is a book based on a “true” story.  I really want to believe that, but it is hard for me to do that.

I know there is a movie, but I heard it wasn’t great, so I do not plan to see it.  I don’t want anything negative to taint my feelings about this book.

Book 24 of 52

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