Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Review: Heaven is for Real Movie Edition by Todd Burpo

ISBN: 0849922070
Published: March 4th, 2014 (originally published November 2nd, 2010)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Read from May 10th to 27th, 2014
Synopsis from publisher:
“Do you remember the hospital, Colton?” Sonja said.“Yes, mommy, I remember,” he said. “That’s where the angels sang to me.”
When four-year-old 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 following months—a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.
This true story, retold by his father but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, 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.
Bonus material in this special movie edition includes:

  • Photos from the movie set
  • Updates from father, Todd, and son, Colton, on recent events including the making-of-the-movie experience
  • “From the Set” Q&A’s with the movie’s filmmakers and actors


This book is the story of the Burpo family whose son Colton had a burst appendix when he was four years old. Later on, Colton tells his parents that he was in heaven and starts sharing with them some of the things he saw there. This book is the story of Colton's parents trying to learn more about heaven through Colton's stories.

Reviewing this book is going to be difficult. First of all, I will say that I enjoyed the writing throughout the book. It was written in a way that was easy to follow and interesting enough to hold my attention. That alone really made me want to like the book.

However, I didn't really like the book. I'll preface this by saying that I was pretty disbelieving of the entire story before I even started reading the book. However, I was also intrigued enough to want to hear it all. In the end, I wasn't convinced at all that Colton really went to heaven. That being said, I don't think the Burpos are lying. I think Colton really believes he went to heaven, and I think the Burpos really believe he went there too. However, nothing Colton says actually convinces me he did.

I believe it's far more likely that Colton was always told that when you die you go to heaven, and when he was in such a scary situation, he really did imagine he was in heaven to a degree that he thought was real. After all, the doctors never tell the Burpos that Colton actually died for any length of time, even though his situation was very serious. The book likes to make claims over and over again (almost as if they're pounding it into you) that Colton couldn't have learned this one piece of information because he was so young and what young kid has reached this level of theological understanding. That makes no sense to me though. Colton's dad is a preacher. I know without a doubt that there was a ton of religious discussion going on around Colton from the time he was born. Sure, most of it went straight to his subconscious, and he probably couldn't have pulled it up on his own. However, stuff in the subconscious can come to your conscious at the strangest of times, and I'm pretty sure the fear Colton felt and his subsequent imagings of heaven would be more than enough to help him suddenly remember the variety of things he'd heard and dismissed over his lifetime.

Overall, I enjoyed the writing style of the book, but as for the actual argument that Colton went to heaven, the book only strengthened my feelings that he didn't. There are just too many other explanations that make far more sense to me.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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