Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BookSneeze Book Review: Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

Todd Burpo is pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan, a wrestling coach, a volunteer fireman, and he operates a garage door company with his wife, Sonja, who is also a children’s minister, busy pastor’s wife, and mom. Colton, now an active 11-year-old, has an older sister Cassie and a younger brother Colby. The family lives in Imperial, Nebraska.

Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer of Same Kind of Different as Me and Going Rogue: An American Life. The author or co-author of nine books, Vincent is a senior writer for WORLD magazine and a lecturer in writing at the King’s College in New York City. She lives in San Diego, California.

Before I review this book I wanted to make mention that I am not obligated to give any book I read a favorable review.  However, I have had the blessing to be reading (and reviewing) excellent books lately.  So I haven't come across any which I haven't enjoyed as of yet and this book is no exception.

Several months ago, two different people I know told me that I should read this book.  Needless to say, I went and purchased the book, but never actually got around to reading it until last week.  Reason being, I was a bit skeptical.  But lately, I have been pondering heaven a lot and so finally decided to read this book. 
This book was simply written as it was a quick read.  It is the kind of book that once you get into it, you don't want to put it down.  I don't think there has ever been a book written about heaven like this one.  It is so believable, authentic and real.  As I said, I started reading this book with a lot of skeptism, but slowly, my skeptism changed to awe. 
Heaven is for Real is narrated and co-authored by Todd Burpo on behalf of his son Colton.  I must make mention of the other author, Lynn Vincent.  I really enjoyed her writing style and am now interested in reading her book called Same Kind of Different Me
This book is about a boy named Colton who is the son of a simple country pastor in Imperial, Nebraska.  While on a family vacation, Colton who was four, suddenly gets ill. They took him to see a doctor because he was in pain and vomitting so much.  But the doctor who saw Colton determined that it was just a stomach virus, however, it wound up being much worse, a burst appendix. 
Colton wasn't getting any better, so they had to admit him to the hospital.  However, while he was in the hospital a few days, he was getting worse.  So Mr. Burpo decided to sign Colton out of the hospital and take him to another hospital.  It was in this
other hospital that they finally discovered that he had a burst appendix and they had to do emergency surgery on him.  Colton was in such bad shape at this point, that the doctors didn't think he would make it.
I really empathized with Mr. Burpo and his wife Sonja in their suffering as it's not easy to watch your child suffer, much less, dying. I related to Mr. Burpo's raging against God, afraid that he would lose his only son.  But thankfully, Colton survives the surgery and shows signficant improvement.  It was a miracle and from this point forward, things really start to get interesting.   
When Colton was released from the hospital and home, he begins to innocently mention what he saw while he was in heaven.  Needless to say, his parents were really taken aback.  At first, they both had difficulty believing that their four year old son was in heaven.  The doctors didn't mention that he died and came back to life on the operating table.  But as time went on and Colton continued to mention things about heaven that he couldn't have possibly known.  So they both started to believe him and began asking him specific questions.

At this point, you don't even want put the book down.  Colton's experiences are so real and tangible that they leave you feeling hopeful.  Not only that, everything he describes about heaven seems to align with the bible.  There is just no way a four year old could have known anything about heaven unless he was really there.  I guarantee that after you read this book, you will believe "Heaven is for Real" too.
I conclude by mentioning one of my favorite parts, when Colton is describing what Jesus looked like to his father. He says, "And his eyes ... oh, Dad, his eyes were so pretty!"  I just loved that! I can't wait to see into the eyes of Jesus one day.
I can't recommend this book enough, it was just amazing.  It will definitely bless you!


Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read this book!! Im only 12 and it sounds amazing!!! My friend told me to read it so wen I read your review it seemed even better than the way she told me it was like!!!!! great job:)

Anonymous said...

I just finished "Heaven is for Real" for the second time. It gives you such an amazing feeling that reading it just once doesn't cut it. I'm sure I'll read it again too.