Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Heaven Is For RealSo I’m going to start off this review by saying that I am not religious. I was raised Catholic but I just found that there were a lot of Catholic teachings that I had a hard time agreeing with. I am a spiritual person and I consider myself to be a Christian but I am not gung hoe about organize religion. Personally, I don’t think God takes attendance at church on Sundays, but rather evaluates based on your good/bad deeds. (and, I personally think that you’d have to do some seriously evil things to be not allowed in to Heaven and even then, if you truly regret what you’ve done God will forgive you and let you in.)

So, with that out of the way (if you have any butthurt about my faith, please keep it to yourself), on to the review of Heaven is for Real  by Todd Burpo. I borrowed this book from my boss, more so because she highly recommended it to me than because I actually wanted to read it. It took me quite a while to actually get around to reading it, too. The reasons being, as I said before, I’m not very religious and, also, I had other books that I wanted to read. I thought to myself that this book is probably like all the other books that are about people trying to prove that there really is a Heaven but since I don’t have the next book in the Dragonriders of Pern series yet I figured I’d give this Heaven book a try.

First, I’ll tell you a little about the book and the author, Todd Burpo. Heaven is for Real is a non-fiction book that Burpo wrote describing the events leading up and to and following his son, Colton’s, brush with death. Burpo is the pastor at the small town church of Imperial, Nebraska, U.S. and the story is about Colton’s emergency appendectomy and the amazing stories that were revealed after he recovered.

Now, I’m going to talk about the writing style. The book is written in the first person, specifically in the point of view of Todd Burpo. First person is not my favourite writing style and at first the story seemed to be very disorganized. Burpo kept jumping around to different stories and at some points I was lost. I thought, wait, they were just in the car at Arby’s and now they are at the hospital? What? As I read further into the book, however, I came to like the way Burpo wrote the book. It was conversational, which isn’t surprising after he tells the reader he is a pastor and a storyteller. After a while the chapters became their own little stories. Two chapters that I liked in particular were the one about the baby sitter and the one about the little girl, named Akiane Kramarik, Burpo hears about who also has visited Heaven and paints beautiful pictures about it.

One part of the book that will stick with me is chapter nineteen entitled “Jesus Really Loves the Children”. In this chapter, Burpo talks about how Colton kept reminding him and his wife that Jesus really loves the children. Constantly reminding them. It made me think, that as a teacher I should try to love the children a little more. I often get frustrated by unruly students, hence the career switch to librarianism, but there are really a lot of children out there who need someone, anyone, to love them. Kids without parents, kids with negligent caregivers, kids who are bullied or kids who are just going through a hard time; all these kids need love and I’m going to try and love them a little more.

In conclusion, this book did not change my life dramatically, nor did it convert me into a gung hoe believer, but let’s just say that as I turned the last page of this book I believed a little more than I did when I turned the first.

For more information about Colton’s trip to Heaven and back please visit http://www.heavenisforreal.net