Review of “Heaven is for Real”

Cover Art for Heaven is for real a little boy's astounding story of his trip to heaven and back Quick Review: 5 stars, You won’t be able to put it down, start to finish 2 days!

As most of you know I’m a avid reader and could never post reviews on all the books I read or I’d never get any reading done! And, to be honest, I went through quite a few “blah” books that make it very difficult for me to want to comment on. Or, maybe I could just put “blah” on the review and be done with it, but that’s probably not very helpful to anyone.

Having said that, there are a few books that have really stood out and I’ve loaned and recommended to many of my friends. “Heaven is for Real” is one of those books. If I gave out star ratings, it would be a 5 out of 5 stars, 2 thumbs up, lots of smilies, you get the idea. Now, (small disclaimer) I may have been more moved by this book because at the time I read it, I had a 3 yr old son and the main character in this book reminded me of him so much. I don’t typically cry while reading books, but this book had me crying on a plane. Yeah, awkward! However, it does tell you how much I was impacted.

Onto the review…as you can probably figure out, the story is about a 3 yr old boy who “dies” and goes to heaven. You can argue if he really died, if he really went to heaven, etc., all you want, but please don’t argue it with me. I can only go by what the book says and frankly, at some level it doesn’t matter. The images of heaven this little boy conveys in this book simply enhance my understanding of heaven and drive me (and most likely other readers) closer to Jesus and to me, that’s the key. I’ve tried to envision what heaven would be like and this book has broadened my perspective, made sense out of confusion, and provided comfort.

One of the main concerns I had beginning the book was, “Is it true?” After reading the book, my conclusion is probably, but I can’t swear to it. I will say that the parents throughout the book intentionally quiz the little boy in almost trying to trip him up to disprove him and are unable to succeed. Also, the admission that the little boy is “no angel” upon his return is really funny/realistic in my book!! (Remember, I’m the parent of a little boy of similar age!!) My humble suggestion would be even if you don’t believe the book, don’t want to read the whole book for whatever reason, are against the whole thing in general, skim through the book until you find the “picture section” and look at the picture of Jesus. I don’t want to be a spoiler, but this picture is the most amazing part of the book for me. Sometimes words cannot describe things and this is one of those times.  It’s beautiful and the story of how it came to be is amazing.

It truly is a great read, very inspiring and is a book that sticks with you. You won’t read this book one day and forget about it the next. It sticks in a good way.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t, run to the library or bookstore, it really is worth it!

“Rick and Bubba’s Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage” Book Review

 

I picked this book out as I thought it would be a fun book and I needed some laughs. I got them!! While I’ve never heard Rick or Bubba on the radio as I don’t live in that area, they have warmed my heart. There’s one chapter in this book that had me laughing so hard I actually woke up my husband who was sleeping soundly beside me.

Now, having said that, I’m a therapist and would be remiss not to mention that this is NOT a book for marriage counseling. It is not that in-depth, but I don’t think it was intended for that purpose. Don’t get me wrong, it has some good advice and may help some couples, but hard-core marital issues will probably not be resolved by reading this book.

Rick and Bubba seem to have a lot of fun writing the book. Since it is written by 2 guys with a few inserts from their wives, it is predominately focused on the guy’s perspective. Most of it is light-hearted and fun, but one chapter in particular deals with the death of Rick’s youngest son when he was 2 1/2 yrs old. Heartbreaking. Yet it shows how they struggled together as a couple to come through that seemingly unbearable experience and their marriage is stronger than ever.

Full disclosure: I got this book complimentary from the Book Sneeze program through Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review or in any other way compensated.

“The Shack” Review

the-shack
Most of you know that I LOVE to read and though my time is limited with a 1 yr old, I still make time, though not as much. I’ve decided to throw in a few book reviews of books that I think are worthy. I will try not to spoil any plots in the process for those of you who decide to read the book. If you’ve read the book or have some thoughts on it, I’d love to hear them.

A few days ago one of my BFF’s recommended that I read the book, The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. That night, I begged my husband to stop at Sam’s to pick up the book. (I HATE paying full price for books.) Though it was sub-zero temps outside, he did! (This is a man that truly understands my love for books-have you seen his stash??!) He didn’t even make me get out of the car as he went inside and got it for me! Yes, you can probably get it at the library, but I’m guessing that there’s a huge waiting list at our library right now and I didn’t want to wait!

I LOVED IT! The book dives right in with the daughter being kidnapped in the first chapter while Mack (the father) was saving his other daughter from drowning. Then ensues The Great Sadness which weighed heavily upon Mack for many years. His life changed when he receives a note from “Papa” asking him to meet him at the shack where his daughter was presumably killed. Mack has to make the decision whether ignore the letter, go and see if the letter is from the killer, God or some sicko just messing with him. He obviously goes and meets God (Papa), Jesus, and Sarayu (the Holy Spirit) where his life changes forever.

Just when you think you’re about to the end of the book and the author has wrapped up the storyline in a tidy little bow, BANG! Surprise! It’s a, “What?! Where in the world did THAT come from?” moment! You will find yourself counting the pages thinking that there is just not enough pages to cover the rest of the story line, but it does. I wouldn’t recommend reading this book in a place you are uncomfortable crying. There are spots in this book that even people who don’t cry may need to grab the kleenex.

Mack’s life changes forever in the book, but yours just might, too. There are many messages throughout the book that relate to modern-day, real life. The book addresses the problem of evil, forgiveness, trust, blame, and other issues Christians struggle with in a way that is comforting, explanatory, and logical. Let me just say that if you are a hard-core Calvinist, this is NOT the book for you. Or, maybe it is. Maybe you’ll open your eyes to a new way of thinking or some new thoughts. You never know. The book can be very freeing as well as confrontational. Sometimes it takes courage to read books that you know may change you as change can be hard work and take serious thought. It’s worth it.

Did I agree with ALL of the theology? No. It’s rare that I do though! But, for the most part, it’s great. It gives a more compassionate, loving view of God rather than the harsh, angry God we sometimes bring with us from the Old Testament. I think changing that view to an all-loving, always working in our best interest God is paramount and more accurate. It focuses on having a relationship with God rather than religion. In my view, the main emphasis is on how much God loves us, each individually. Remember, God is especially fond of you!

Let me know your thoughts. Have you read it? Will you read it? Did it change you?

There’s a book discussion at Bethel University on Feb. 23 on this book. If you would like more information, let me know.