Pros:fast and interesting read, a lot to think about
Cons:still leaves room for skepticism (but that's to be expected)
The Bottom Line: This is a fast and easy read about a preschooler's experience in heaven. A lot comes together to enforce the truth of his trip.
I had heard about Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Trip to Heaven and Back a while back but just got around to reading it recently. It was rather thought provoking.
This is the story told by the father of a boy who says he went to heaven. Colton, was four years old when he went to the hospital and was on the verge of death while his family was on a out of town trip. A few months later, when the family is again going out to town and passes the hospital, Colton mentions something that surprises his parents about being with Jesus during his stay at the hospital.
As the book progresses we hear about the many more conversations his parents have with him about his experience in heaven. Colton's father is a minister, so you might think that he has told his son about the things he would see, but Colton really seems to have experienced it. He is quick to answer all his parents' questions, not thinking about what the right answer is. He tells his parents he met his sister up there (a lost pregnancy they never told him about) and his great grandfather who died many years before her was born.
He described many things like what Jesus looked like and what God's throne looked like, who was up there. He described what they wore, and how the Holy Spirit worked. He told about things that seem to come from Revelation, which the father says his son definitely did not learn about in Sunday school or from him.
The book is written by Todd Burpo and was easy to read. I read it on my kindle and it was fast. I believe it's under 200 pages (in paperback). There are some photos of the family included as well as an image that another girl who said she went to heaven painted that Colton said was a perfect drawing of the Jesus he met.
Overall I found this book inspiring. A lot of Christians want to believe in heaven and hearing a child, who at four is so innocent, describe what he saw when he was on the brink of death, really reinforces that it really does exist. It's easy to be critical of the story since the dad is a minister, but throughout the book the father tries to explain himself why what Colton says or how he reacts to certain questions prove he really did go. With a trick question like what happened at night to which Colton talks about how the light of God is always present and it never gets dark there, and other questions along the same line of thinking show that he is never tripped up and always seems to say things that are backed by passages in the bible.
One negative was that when describing Colton's illness it does seem like the family waited a little long to head to the ER. Also there are definitely things to be critical of in Colton's descriptions, but I think his descriptions without always knowing the vocabulary for such things seem appropriate.
If you are at all curious about this book I'd recommend reading it. The father shares Colton's experience in a way that is easy to follow and is rather inspiring. I am still slightly skeptical of a few things, but overall I think this little boy really did see heaven.
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