Author: Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent
Narrator: Dean Gallagher
Length: 4 hrs 16 min
Publisher: Oasis Audio
Publisher’s Summary: 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.”
Heaven is for Real is a very moving story of a young family’s struggle through the severe illness of their child.
The first part of the book details the illness and the subsequent trips from one doctor to the next in search of the cause of Colton’s problems. Any parent who has had a sick child in the hospital can relate to the emotional roller coaster that the Burpo’s must have been riding.
The second part of the book elaborates upon Colton’s claims that he visited Heaven. Colton’s account comes out in short bursts that leave his parents speechless. His story is encouraging and captivating when taken at face value.
Unfortunately I found this very difficult to do.
I sincerely want to believe that everything described in the book actually happened, however the skeptic in me kept rearing it’s ugly head. It’s much easier to believe that the Burpo’s are simply out to make a buck than that their son was in Heaven for three minutes with God, Jesus, John the Baptist, etc.
I didn’t find anything in this book that contradicts scripture. The only thing that really bothered me was how Colton was so nonchalant about the whole experience. I have a 4 yr old myself and I think that if he had the experience that Colton described then it would probably be the first thing he told me as soon as he was out of surgery. I expect that his story would all come out at once as soon as he was able to relay it. He is always asking my wife and I questions about Jesus and God so I have no doubt that he would tell us immediately if he actually sat in Jesus’ lap while the angels sang to him.
All this being said I have to admit that I did enjoy the book. It is encouraging if nothing else. I have personally spoken with several people who feel like this book has strengthened their faith and given them comfort so in that way at least this book might be useful in bringing people closer to God. However, it is a little discouraging to see people putting so much faith and belief into this little boy’s story instead of what has already been revealed about Heaven and Eternity by God in the Bible.
Audio Production: Dean Gallagher did a pretty good job narrating this book. It certainly wasn’t one of my favorite performances but he did a solid job.
Overall: The skeptic in me probably kept me from enjoying this book as much as several of my friends seemed to. While it is a nice quick listen I found it hard to hear this book without feeling that I was being duped. I want to believe the Burpo’s. I don’t want to think that this was a story generated solely for the purpose of earning money. But I sort of do..
Disclosure: I purchased this audiobook.