Sunday, May 25, 2014

Book Review: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent (no spoilers)

Book: Heaven is for Real
Author: Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent
Publication: November 2nd, 2010
Source: Audio Book from Local Library
Read: April 14-17,2014
Summary (From Goodreads):
"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."

 "Heaven Is for Real" will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering the chance to see, and believe, like a child

My Thoughts

I can understand why people did not enjoy this book. This is one of those books that you have to have faith in God and believe to enjoy. I haven't always had a strong faith in God, but I do know I believe in God. Ever since I have came to college my faith has been renewed. I tell people all the time about my religion and why I believe. That has helped me to understand my faith.

I listened to the audiobook of Heaven if for Real. I expressed a desire to read this book to one of my friends and she told me the narrator of the audiobook was amazing. I really have to agree. The interview at the beginning of the audiobook was a bit boring, but after that I really got into the book. The narrator's voice was able to change tones with the characters and I found his voice to be really amazing for this book.

The first thing that really struck me about this book was in the interview. Colton's said ", I like this book because it is true. That is what really happened." Throughout the book I often thought of that one quote that all of this did happen. I did not believe everything in this book some parts could have been exaggerated to make the book better, but I do believe a lot of what Colton said in this book was true.

The first moments of this book were agonizing going through Colton's surgery. Although I knew he would survive. I still felt every emotion his parents Todd and Sonja felt in that moment. I felt their pain and their sense of relief when the ordeal was over. That is what first got me into the book. After that I just wanted to continue listening. I kept finding excuses to go places just so I could listen to Colton's story.

Another thing that struck me throughout this novel was the idea of child-like faith. Children have a unique faith in the fact that they do not question God's existence, but just believe. They do not feel the need to show off their faith in order to be a "Good Christian." They are not boastful or proud or feel the need to pray for the sake of praying. This idea of child-like faith in this novel is the way God would like our faith to remain, but adults don't have the luxuries children do. Children don't go through trials as adults do and that is what changes our faith.

I have always had a picture of Heaven in my mind. The pearly, golden gates and walking into God's arms. Colton made Heaven a happier place for me to. I have always believed in eternity, but Colton made eternity that much more real. I still don't know if you can actually go to Heaven and come back. I believe God gave Colton some sort of experience so he could share his faith with the people back here on Earth. Doubting Thomas is talked about towards the end of the novel. Thomas was a man that didn't believe anything unless he saw it. That is why do many people don't believe in God is because we are not able to see or hear him. We just have to believe. Through Colton's journey he is able to tell people I have seen the light and it is beautiful. I hope this book has touched some nonbelievers in the way it has touched me.

Colton's father Todd Burpo is a pastor and I think that is what also made this novel powerful because whenever Colton offered a new piece of information about Heaven, Todd would hear Bible verses running through his head and put the Bible verses in the book. Colton never contradicted anything said in the bible actually he had almost the same description as many parts of the Bible. That is what made me believe so much more. I do have to admit I do not believe in everything in the Bible, but I do believe in most of it. So Colton's child-like faith matching up with the Bible strengthen my faith in Heaven.

I have been told for years to read Heaven is for Real. I always put off reading it because I did not believe you could go to Heaven without dying and I still don't, but I do believe that God worked some miracle on Colton so that he could share his faith with the world. It is very brave of Todd and Sonja Burpo to share his story with the world. As stated at the end of the book this story has been a blessing, but it came with days of suffering agony. It was not always a happy story. God worked a wonderful miracle and it was all written into this novel so thousands of people could be touched by this story. I'm proud to finally be one of those people. Heaven is for Real changed the way I think about my faith and Heaven.

I do think the movie will changes pieces of this story and exaggerate pieces of the book in order to make the film more interesting, but if the film helps people to discover faith then it has done its job. I think the book is wonderful and I hope to see the movie soon. I think the images of Heaven the movie creates will make the images I imagined while listening to this book all that much more powerful.

*This is my thoughts and views on religion related to this novel. My faith is my faith and I do not want to pressure anybody to believe in things they do not believe. This book may not be for everybody, but I highly recommend it. All negative comments about religion related to this novel can and will be deleted. We live in a free country and are all allowed to have our opinions, but I do not need to hear criticize about my choice of publish this review showing my real views on religion.*

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