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  • To Heaven and Back: A Doctor’s Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Mary C. Neal
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1999 in the Los Rios region of southern Chile, orthopedic surgeon, devoted wife, and loving mother Dr. Mary Neal drowned in a kayak accident. While cascading down a waterfall, her kayak became pinned at the bottom and she was immediately and completely submerged. Despite the rescue efforts of her companions, Mary was underwater for too long, and as a result, died. To Heaven and Back is Mary’s remarkable story of her life’s spiritual journey and what happened as she moved from life to death to eternal life, and back again.

    Joyce says: "To Heaven and back"
    "A Narcisists Legendary Tale"
    What would have made To Heaven and Back better?

    Leave out personal religious and political beliefs.

    Would you ever listen to anything by Mary C. Neal again?


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    She did not focus on the title of the book. What draws the reader to the book is the title and the promise of hearing a story of angels and life after death from a medical doctor's perspective. She focused instead on her personal accomplishments here on earth. We learn mostly that she is highly educated, well traveled, a world class athlete, and of course a perfect mother.

    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I just finished the book, and was so disappointed. I purchased it because I lost my sister recently and wanted something uplifting.
    I was surprised to discover there is very little in this book about death, heaven, and angels.

    The book is mostly comprised of Dr. Neil's narcissistic rantings about her accomplishments in life (beginning in childhood) and religious/political beliefs.
    It's almost like reading someone's journal. She seems to be ego tripping all over herself throughout the book. By halfway through the book, I'm thinking, OK, we get it, you are a brilliant, highly educated, cultured, world class athlete, all the while being the perfect parent.

    It's ironic that she says she embraces "finding joy" every day in her life. I "find" that hard to believe if her book is any indication. The entire book is bleak, depressing, and dark, even when she is describing what should be a happy experience.

    I'm a religious person, and even I grew tired of the constant interjection of her torturous and redundant perspective on religion and faith. There are countless numbers of quotes and readings from the bible. One might start to wonder if she was using them as filler.

    Despite all of the good doctors success in life, the reader will likely get the strong impression that Dr. Neil feels like she has endured many injustices throughout her life.

    Welcome to life here on earth Dr. Neil!

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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