"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.”
©2010 Todd Burpo (P)2010 Oasis
Not as compelling as expected.
Perhaps telling the story chronologically rather than bouncing back and forth.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (personal memoir) - Heard great things about the movie, so had to at least listen to the book. As you can see from the title, this story is about a four-year-old boy, Colton Burpo, who goes to the hospital, has a near-death experience, goes to heaven and comes back. I really wanted to love this story and hoped it would lay to rest some burning questions...but it just didn't. It starts with a great interview with Todd Burpo (dad). Then the story begins by enumerating a lot of the health problems he had been having and how these tested his faith. Then it moves to little Colton's mysterious illness and all the hours the family spent trying to get him cured. Poor Colton really suffered for a couple weeks, and his parents suffered right along with him. After Colton comes home from the hospital, he starts revealing little things that start suggesting that perhaps he had been to heaven. I thoroughly enjoyed and believed the book till somewhere around his fourth or fifth revelation. Then we get to what made the story less believable...
First off, Colton's father is a pastor, so if little Colton says something like, "Hey, Dad, I saw an angel," Pastor Burpo starts comparing what Colton says to something in the Bible that supposedly validates his story. Second, almost everything Colton revealed went like this, "Hey, Dad"... (insert religious fact here) ... "and then he went off to play with his action heroes and left us standing there aghast." Thirdly, it's like nothing is left out, it's too perfect. Colton supposedly saw Jesus and God and John the Baptist and Mary and angels and the devil and golden streets and thrones and blah, blah. Then Colton starts repeating "Jesus loves us all" all the time. Sounds just like reading a religious pamphlet. It would have been much more believable had his dad not been a pastor with so much to gain by preaching every chance he got and if everything weren't tied up with a perfect little Bible bow.
I'll sum up by saying that Pastor Burpo sounds like a genuinely nice guy and I am not calling him a liar. I'm just saying this story was not 100% believable when heard with MY ears and processed through MY brain. It was, however, a short, enjoyable listen.
PERFORMANCE - Read by a male who did a pretty good job, especially when portraying young Colton.
OVERALL - I'd recommend this for anyone who might be interested in the subject matter, and you can make up your own mind whether you believe the story or not. It's interesting and entertaining, if nothing else. Probably should be previewed before letting younger children listen, mainly because of all Colton's suffering in the hospital.
No two ways about it, the information FROM the boy was very interesting. The book, however, is a preacher's vehicle. I'm glad the story was made available but probably would have benefited more from a point of view that didn't reference everything the boy told them to the author's own line of work.
If, however, you are involved in any christian philosophy and enjoy sermons with a positive message, this is the book for you.
I am a Christian and truly believe in heaven. I wish the book was more focused the little boy. I think the father tries too hard to prove this really happened. Not sure I would recommend, but it did give me hope that I will be reunited with those I love.
I enjoyed the story but it was tough to listen to this narrator. He emphasizes each word which makes it come across too childish. Just because the story features a child doesn't mean you need to read it like you are speaking to a first grade class. The emotions from this reader seemed like someone reading a Christmas tale, and not a serious spiritual story. Sorry, but I cringed through this. For some this may not be so terrible.. just depends if you like this guy's reading style.
a little skeptical... not about heaven, but the father trying to put his own interpretation and comparison to scripture and the fact that he (father) is a pastor/minister
I was sincerely disappointed in this book. If I'd have know that this was the father (...pastor's...) recollection, opinion and analysis of what happened I would not have wasted time or money on this book. I would have just rented it from the library. It may seem cynical but I have trouble with the way he twisted and justified everything that he wrote with scripture instead of leaving the reader to interpret.
Too many contradictions and ridiculous suppositions. This isn't the little boys story... it's the parents story. Seems a shame to use your son to make money. Not worth the money or the time.
It is obvious from the reviews that there is a split between believers of the Bible and skeptics. As a believer, I would have been terribly disappointed if the father had not referred to the appropriate scriptures. I knew immediately that the boy was spot on with scripture but I didn't have to look them up before listening further to the boy's story. There is no doubt in my mind that this boy went to heaven. Any believer could tell you that, unless the whole thing is a scam, which I do not believe it is, this boy saw heaven and did not hear these things at home. For one thing, a child that age would not have grasped the significance of what he saw, even if he had heard the stories. Some of these things are argued about by theologians even today. The boy's simple descriptions blew the complicated descriptions of theologians right out of the water. The father did exactly what I would have done: make sure the descriptions matched the scriptures. No believer wants their child to have misinformation about its spiritual future. No child could have had such understanding at that age. The descriptions are very simple, yet very deep. Much too advanced for a child to have figured out without actually seeing it. The skeptics seem to believe that the father put his own "interpretation" on the boy's story or on scripture. He did not. He simply read the scriptures and said what they obviously say. The boy "got it" from seeing it. I am grateful that the pastor/father wrote this book and shared what his son said. I would not have wanted to miss it.
I have listened to this book twice and have recommended it to several people. It is not great literature but it is a good story. To my English ear, the accent of the reader is too broad and in terms of the story, it takes too long to get to Colton's experience of heaven. But on the whole the message carries great hope. I have lost three people this year and the book strongly encourages me to believe I will see them all again.
"Breathless! I want more of Jesus"
What a great story. Glad it's through a child's eyes, so unspoiled and pure... God's magnificent love demonstrated through the miraculous
"I didn't finish it"
I found the constant religious references frustrating - maybe that info is on the back cover of the printed book and if I had flicked through a printed copy I may have noticed it then, but I didn't notice it when looking at it on Audible.
I believe that this story did happen as read, but it didn't live up to my expectations of it. I didn't finish it - I guess there was no 'unknown' about the story to keep me interested.
Very disappointed with this book because I had high hopes.
This is the story of a four year old boy w
ho nearly died and apparently experienced heaven.
Read by the boys father who insists on speaking like a little boy whenever he quotes his son and does a lady voice when quoting his wife neither of which add to the story and becomes quite irritating.
There is some unnecessary padding out in the book including a chapter that describes a family day out in detail that has no relevance to the theme of the book.
My biggest problem with the story is that the child's experience of heaven happens to fit exactly with the child's fathers opinion of what heaven should be like. Repeatedly the father (who is pastor) states that as adults we KNOW that heaven is full of angels with wings, Jesus is there wearing a crown and a sash and other characters from the bible are also there. He keeps saying "how could I child know what is in heaven unless he had been there".
The child also makes statements like the only way to get to heaven is through Christ - this is really narrow minded old school theory. Presumably there are no Muslims or Hindu's in heaven then?
This account is purely a case of seeing and hearing what you want to see and hear.
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