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Proof of Heaven

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  547 ratings  ·  131 reviews
A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family

He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to t...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Apparently some people feel as if I gave away some of the book, so don't read this review unless you want to know so of what happens, although if anyone reads the few first pages you will figure it out for yourself.

I really enjoyed this book, but the last few chapters had me not wanting to pick it up. It just bored me. I already knew Colm didn't believe in God, and I know Cathleen is searching for anything to save her son. I knew Dr Basu is going to fall in love with Cathleen --

I really loved le...more
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
"Faith is the recognition of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1

Colm Francis Magee had died seven times before his seventh birthday. Cardiac arrest. Not to be mistaken for a heart attack in which clogged arteries prevent blood from reaching the heart and then the muscle withers. There was nothing wrong with Colm's strength of heart. No, Colm Francis Magee's heart simply and inexplicably stopped beating at the most inopportune moments.

And that is the beginning of Ma...more
Review first published on my blog:

Proof of Heaven is a book about a mother and a child and the lengths any parent would go to save a sick child. It is also a book about beliefs - as the title suggests - about god and what happens after death. Cathleen is a young single mother trying to care for Colm, her very young but very sick child. Due to his illness, Colm has "died" many times in his life and then returned.

The book touches on different points of view...more
Kieran Walsh
I'm going to justify this by saying this book was a Christmas Gift and I felt a certain obligation to read it as the friend who gave it to me is a relative of the author. Coupled with this fact I have zero to nil connections with any writer so there's a certain smugness in mentally noting along the lines of- 'oh, I guess It behooves me dig in here as I've a passing connection with this writer', like as if my perusal/review drives the NYT book review meeting its deadline this Sunday.
The tragedy...more
Religious undertones and metaphors abound in this tale of a terminally ill young boy who is searching for his father (are we all searching for OUR FATHER?). The biblical aspects of the story are evident in the representation of each character. Cathleen, the mother represents Mary, her brother Sean is a composite of Joseph (the foster-father) and John (a disciple), Dr. Gaspar Basu embodies the characteristics of the Magi bringing the gifts of wisdom, love and protection to the young Colm (Jesus?)...more
Being a mother, the mother-child bond is something that I hold sacred, so when I saw that I could review a book about a single mother who finds out that her only child, a son, has a life-threatening illness, I was both excited and worried about the task. Frankly, I wasn’t sure that I could handle the subject matter. My son and I are very close, as are the mother and son in this novel, and I wasn’t sure that it wouldn’t rip out my heart to read this novel. I’m really glad I chose to read it anywa...more
Sara Strand
I will tell you right now that as a parent of two children this book hit home. Not because I have an ill child or have ever had to experience making decisions all the while knowing that your child is still going to die you just have to make him comfortable on that journey, but because I know what it is like to love a child so fiercely that you would do anything to make it all better. Nobody can ever understand what it's like to love a child like a mother can- between carrying that child and know...more
The beginning of this book seemed so promising of it being a unique and interesting story! A young boy collapses and his heart stops beating. He seems to be dead....but then he is revived and seems back to normal. This happens several times, baffling the doctors and immensely worrying his single mom. Then comes chapter after chapter of the mom and her brother arguing and fighting, the boy doubting that God and Heaven are real, the doctor getting personally involved in this patient's life.....and...more
Wow, read this in one sitting and loved it. I couldn't believe the author wrote it in two weeks! but in the afterword you find out that she and her loved ones share a lot of similarities with the characters so maybe that's why she was able to write it so quickly. It was an amazing story that kept me thinking long after I finished it. I did think the boy was inordinately mature for his age (five through seven in the story). Some of the things he said seemed a bit unrealistic to me but didn't detr...more
Cathleen, abandoned by her boyfriend upon learning she was pregnant, is raising her young son, Colm, as a single mother. Colm suffers from a rare and fatal heart condition. Cathleen, raised in a strict Irish Catholic family clings to the hope that through prayer, Colm may be healed by a miracle. Sean, her older brother, is skeptical, having lost his faith following 9/11. Colm does not believe in God, but attends mass with his mother to offer her solace and a chance for hope. When Cathleen brings...more
Stephen G.
Great Story with great characters. Tackles some of the "big" questions in a unique way. Couldn't put it down!
Henry Jones
A must read... A touching story with a surprising ending.
Wow, what a sensitive and honest presentation of one of life's biggest philisophical questions. As a bereaved parent I was forced to read it slowly as I could only take in so much at a sitting. But I am the richer for having read every word. At the same time the book is not without it's flaws. A few (very few) times it seemed I was reading a passage that was an unnecessary side bar, a tangent that was added after the book was written, perhaps to appease the more traditional reader. That aside, t...more
The description of the book was very misleading - there was hardly any "search" for a proof of heaven. The premise of the book, a child with an unheard of disease, and keeps dying over and over, was a bit hard to swallow. Then, the trip to search for a miracle cure in Assisi was not well developed, almost senseless, and left me wanting more. Next, the author completely switched gears and the boy went looking for his real dad, and the whole entourage of people are able to travel cross country wit...more
Lydia Presley
Original review posted here

I’m not even joking – I devoured this book in three hours. I could not put it down. Out of tea? Oh well. Cold and need to move to the bed to get under electric blanket? Nope. Don’t wanna stop reading.

Yet this book was so filled with such emotionally corny scenes I’m a bit ashamed of myself.

This goes back to that idea of entertainment. Was Proof of Heaven a challenging, literary read that had me pausing to collect my thoughts and ponder over the wonders contained in tho...more
Stacey Taylor
**SPOILER ALERT** This book really let me down. I had high expectations of it and thought that perhaps there would be some meaning behind the title but unfortunately there's not. A little boy is slowly dying and his strong willed, religious mother is doing everything she can do prevent the inevitable. What's so frustrating is that the boy has an obvious lack of faith in the prospect of life after death yet his mother is portrayed to be some crazy catholic who over prays and forces her religious...more
I blame Books-a-Million for my subjection to this fatuous rubbish; they (for reasons both unknown an inexplicable) distinguished "Heaven" as their January book club selection, and I capitulated. Broadly, the novel is both mawkish and hackneyed, and the plot devolves into utter absurdity thanks to the disjointed pilgrimage to Assisi and the equally expedient cross-country tour intended to emblematize a quest for spiritual reconciliation and salvation. Also in contention are copious, ham-handed Bi...more
Kathleen Smith
I am half way through and I have to say this book started off with so much promise and then it just ran out of gas. The conversations were not real, the story became contrite and not believable. Colm was saying things that a 40 year old would say. It is almost as if two separate people wrote it. I need a good book..
I am finished. I think in reviewing a book that has such religious content is a slippery slop, that I do not want to slid down. No matter what I say I will offend. I do not want to d...more
Amy Schisler

I just kept waiting for...something more. I couldn't stand any of the characters. Cathleen used her religion (and I'm a VERY devout Catholic myself) to hide from the world but had really no faith in it at all. Sean ended up having no redeeming qualities even though I kept thinking he would come to his senses. Dr. Basu was an annoying, egotistical jerk who didn't love Cathleen at all, he just loved the idea of having another chance at having a son. And Colm was a spoiled rotten brat. I know this...more
Proof of Heaven tells the story of a young boy, Colm, who suffers from a rare disease which causes his heart to totally stop at random times until he is resuscitated. At the age of 5 he has already experienced this occurrence 4 times. His mother, Catherine, was abandoned by Colm's father while she was pregnant with Colm. She is willing to any lengths to find healing for him and help him to live. Her brother, Sean, is also very devoted to Colm, but struggles with alcoholism. After one of Colm's h...more
Oct 10, 2011 DH added it
this book sounds amazing and i can't wait to read it. i'm curious to see how this book will affect me. the storyline sounds great, but i hope it doesn't end up being too overly emotional or anything. i'm also curious to see how faith and religion will play in this book. i don't normally read books with religious overtones but this one sounded too good to pass up.
I found myself profoundly touched by this book...I definitely shed a few tears! I've never read a book like this -- I would call it a spiritual novel. I thought it was a beautiful story, and incredible that so much of the author was in it, too. I think it's a must-read for any parent, but also anyone who has questioned their faith at some point in their lives.
Yep, read it in one day! So happy for my friend, Mary. This book is a heartwarming story and a moving read for all the mothers and fathers out there. Colm Francis Magee reminded me how truly amazing our children are!
Mark Mccarragher
Was a goodreads winner of this book. I really enjoyed it. Was very touching and inspirational.
Lisa Williams
This book tried too hard. The dialogue was ridiculous and repetitive. The mother and the doctor were never consistent in their names for one another. How could you say you loved someone but continue to call them formally doctor then turn around and use their first name? The brother was never fully developed and it was difficult to sympathize with him. I believe a child can intuit many things, but they lack the skills to describe them. And what mother would tell her child he was going to live for...more
Hmmm although I did enjoy this book and its characters did not feel that colm's point of view was realistically written . The story follows his journey from five to seven years old but his thoughts are just too mature to be believable . The book also states that Colm's mother Cathleen has great faith in God but I didn't really see that in her but I guess the writer was trying to show how her faith was tested but it didn't feel authentic to me.
I did enjoy how the four main characters bonded tog...more
Sentimental, of course, but I read the whole thing.
Nov 10, 2011 Jessica marked it as to-read
Won in First Reads giveaway! Full review coming soon =]
Aug 02, 2013 Merry added it
Great Story!
Alexis Villery
Proof of Heaven is a thought-provoking read for those who believe and those who sometimes question what comes next. Cathleen is a single mother willing to do any and everything to save her very sick child, Colm, who has "died" many times. We follow all the characters as they struggle with questions regarding their faith; it hasn't been a easy road. Biblical symbols can be seen in the characters throughout the book. The message is clear and heart-warming.

Starting off this book quickly caught my a...more
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Mary Curran Hackett is the mother of two children and is married to Greg Hackett. She received an MA in English Literature from the University of Nebraska and a BA from the University Honors Program at Catholic University in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Danbury, CT, she has traveled extensively and lived in various places throughout the U.S., but her favorite place in the world is home with...more
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