Stephanie's Reviews > Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
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May 10, 14

bookshelves: religion, 2011, fiction, pure-crap

Oh Boy.

I am reluctant to review this since I have friends who loved this book, and my mother recommended it. But this book bugged me so much I just have to have my say.

This is a book about a three year old boy, Colton, who comes close to death (never pronounced clinically dead, as in most near death experiences ), Claims that he hung out with Jesus, God, John the Baptist, Gabriel, the Holy Ghost (I've always wondered about the holy ghost), his great grandpa, his dead sister, and Jesus's rainbow horse, and the ubiquitous men in white beards on giant thrones.

I do not doubt for a second that this child experienced something, be it a near death experience or an illness spawned delusion, but I take issue with how his story comes about. I have an open mind about this kind of thing, but.....awe c'mon.

So Colton gets really really sick, vomiting every 30 minutes. His parents eventually get him to a hospital where tests are administered. Even though the Burpos question whether it is appendicitis (they have a strong suspicion it is) the incompetent doctor informs them that all the tests are negative for appendicitis. Instead of ripping the child out of bed and heading to a different hospital immediately, they wait 3 or 5 days (can't remember which). By the time they get it in gear and get him to a new doctor the boy is very close to death. His appendix has ruptured and the poison circulated through him. He was dehydrated, and of course he hadn't eaten in days. Ripe for delusion I say.

He was taken into emergency surgery, during which he has his NDE/out of body experience. Some compelling things do happen that a lines itself more with an out of body experience, he knows what his parents are doing in other rooms for instance. When Colton is in "Heaven" He sees dead relatives he had never met before. This is all I can buy.

Whenever someone reports a NDE, they are usually consistent with that persons belief system. If you are a Christian your experience will follow what you were taught from the bible. If you were raised to believe (or not believe) in another manner, your experience will follow what you were taught. Did I mention Colton's father, the author Todd Burpo, is an evangelical preacher?

Slowly Colton's story comes out, by means of a myriad of questions by his father (leading ones no doubt). Colton would mention stuff like what color cloths Jesus wore (purple if you wondered) and his dad's jaw would drop (this happened often) because no one had ever told Colton that Jesus wore purple. "How could he know this?" his dad wondered. I'll tell you how Todd, he heard you say it! You're a preacher, I'd gather the conversation is pretty bible heavy in your household.

My question is how could he not know it? Three year old brains are super sponges...he heard this mentioned a some point and that's how he knew it Todd, no great mystery.

As I was listening to this book I kept trying to keep an open mind, but where this book completely jumped the shark for me was during a part where Colton is with his dad and family at a funeral. Colton points at the casket with a stern and concerned look on his face and says "Did that man have Jesus in his heart daddy? He had to have Jesus in his heart or he won't go to Heaven!!" *insert drama sting here* and Todd's jaw dropped once again. During this I'm standing in Aldi looking at the cauliflower and said out loud AWE C'MON!! I got a few stares, so I dropped the cauliflower and said "spots".

This book is written by a guy who really believes in his evangelicalism. He rummaged around in Colton's "memories" and got "answers" that he wanted to hear and then believes proves his evangelical Christianity. If you don't believe what he believes folks 'ya aint gettin' into heaven people...sorry.
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Comments (showing 51-100 of 367) (367 new)


message 51: by Angela (new)

Angela I loved this review. But what really it put it over for me was when you said it jumped the shark. I <3 you now. ;)


Stephanie Angela wrote: "I loved this review. But what really it put it over for me was when you said it jumped the shark. I <3 you now. ;)"

Oh thanks! Back at you.


Lindsey What gets me is they took accounts of his experience over several years before they wrote the book. Any chance he might have picked up some more "heavenly" information at church or home during that time?

Nah.. heaven IS for real!





Not. :)


Stephanie It may very well be real, I have no idea, but the chance this kid had it right is very minimal.


message 55: by Patty (new)

Patty I read this book in the bookstore, and I kept thinking, yeah, right. It is a nice little story and I enjoyed it, but I might have believed it more if his father wasn't a preacher. It just didn't ring true to me.


Stephanie Patty wrote: "I read this book in the bookstore, and I kept thinking, yeah, right. It is a nice little story and I enjoyed it, but I might have believed it more if his father wasn't a preacher. It just didn't ri..."

Definitely an obvious attempt at manipulation......ack!


Kranti Kumar Your exactly got the Point dear. Its really Ridiculous to Victim a boy at 3-4 really making us Fools only, not at all meaningful. No one can see the Heaven with this Flesh, once we see, no one will come. even Jesus Christ gone but he only come to lift us all with Him to live in Heaven.. I agree with you


Stephanie Kranti wrote: "Your exactly got the Point dear. Its really Ridiculous to Victim a boy at 3-4 really making us Fools only, not at all meaningful. No one can see the Heaven with this Flesh, once we see, no one will..."

Thanks for understanding.


Kranti Kumar Its not understanding, But its need Spiritual sense. Glad of your reply. I like to be a friend of you. If u wish. God bless you and keep you high. Bye :)


Stephanie Kranti wrote: "Its not understanding, But its need Spiritual sense. Glad of your reply. I like to be a friend of you. If u wish. God bless you and keep you high. Bye :)"

Sure....why not :)


Kranti Kumar We are Friends here, Glad of this dear. God bless you :)


Stephanie Kranti wrote: "We are Friends here, Glad of this dear. God bless you :)"

Thanks!


Kranti Kumar ur reading more books and talking less. lol :D


message 64: by Barb (new) - rated it 2 stars

Barb G I'm a Christian and wanted to much to be moved by this book, but I have the same issues you do. Of course he heard his parents talking about the Bible all the time and went to Sunday school, sermons, etc. Also, it drove me crazy that the boy was so sick and they didn't take him to the hospital, and then when they did, they didn't do anything when their son just kept getting worse and worse. I'm about halfway through it now, but these things just keep eating at me as I'm reading.


Stephanie Barb, so true. I was screaming at the guy to take the boy to the hospital! So many other books out there to be moved by than this crap.


message 66: by sckenda (new)

sckenda As if I was not skeptical enough to begin with, for me the dead give away is the "did-he-have-Jesus in his heart" question. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the New Testament is completely and literally true, the expression "accepting Jesus in the heart" appears nowhere in the New Testament. It is a phrase originating in and unique to the American revivalist-fundamentalist-evangelical culture, which now, through global television, is spreading internationally. I am not denigrating evangelicals, I just think it is important to recognize and distinguish cultural practices and phrases, particularly those developing within the last century, which an eternal Almighty would be unlikely to use.


Stephanie Steve wrote: "As if I was not skeptical enough to begin with, for me the dead give away is the "did-he-have-Jesus in his heart" question. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the New Testament is completely ..."

Well said.


Michelle Worst book I ever read! I wrote a review on Amazon about this and got blasted. So take heart...you are in good company ;)


Stephanie Michelle wrote: "Worst book I ever read! I wrote a review on Amazon about this and got blasted. So take heart...you are in good company ;)"

Oh I knew I was going to get blasted, I didn't care. I was just surprised it took as long as it did. It really is a horrible book. I'll look for your amazon review.


message 70: by Jacob J. (last edited Jul 26, 2012 08:10PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Jacob J. Karolina wrote: "I guess no one really knows the real depth of this book until we die. Even if it isn't true, don't you think you'd rather believe that when you die you get to chill with the big JC than nothing at ..."

The kid didn't tell the story, his father did (although the you wouldn't know from the literary quality).

Also, a word of advice, and I don't intend to be brash or sardonic, but I encourage you to study more modern philosophy, even theology, because it may help you understand why Pascal's Wager is moot. The argument that one should believe something solely because it may pay off in another realm of existence is just bizarre.

It's hurting the public in that it is passing off as fact what is absolute subjective testimony about the afterlife (even though the kid was never legally dead). This is assuming that every declaration over the years was recalled with complete accuracy, and that the family took no liberties in blowing such vague pronouncements out of proportion.

It hurts thinking people because they cannot accept it as fact (if they can stomach/humor it at all), yet we are still expected to, in addition to being inspired by it.

That is my additional two cents. I have more loose change, believe me.


Stephanie Karolina wrote: "I guess no one really knows the real depth of this book until we die. Even if it isn't true, don't you think you'd rather believe that when you die you get to chill with the big JC than nothing at ..."

What Jacob said (thanks, and well said). Karolina the kid never died.....ever, so whatever hallucination he had, had nothing to do with the "big JC". I have read other accounts of near death experiences that were much more moving and mind blowing because these people actually did die, if only for a moment.

As far as chilling with the "big JC"': if that meant I had to also hang out with bigoted, hateful, homophobs that would rather let a crazy man get his hands on 6000 rounds of amo to shoot up a theater then to try for reasonable gun control........take away healthcare from those who need it most......refuse to feed the hungry........these people call themselves Christians.....

I'll pass thank you.

Jesus would be so pissed at them. Hanging with Jesus and those who really follow his teachings and NOT the haters who have high jacked the religion would be fine.


message 72: by Traci (new)

Traci My husband had some wicked hallucinations when he was extremely ill, too. Not sure I'd say it was a NDE, but as he puts it, he was circling the drain with intent. He was kept sedated in an ICU for almost 2 weeks, and he had horrible nightmares pretty much the whole time, very vivid and scary dreams (most of which he refused to tell me). Do I think he saw Hell? Nope. He was on Propofol, and extended use of that CAN cause what he went thru. The guy in the room right next door to his experienced the same thing (his wife & I bonded at the hospital) and trust me, that guy didn't strike me as a heathen like my hubby and me.

My best guess is a lot of neurological stuff going on, and possibly some of the drugs they give you to keep you sedated.

As for the book, hubby read it at the recommendation of his aunt, and yeah, he was really put off by it, too. Said that the dad being "shocked" at the things his son knew was a load of crap, as dad is a minister. And really, what kid *doesn't* pick up way more from his/her parents than what the clueless adults think?


Stephanie Traci wrote: "My husband had some wicked hallucinations when he was extremely ill, too. Not sure I'd say it was a NDE, but as he puts it, he was circling the drain with intent. He was kept sedated in an ICU for ..."

That sounds truly horrific! I hope you husband is doing well. Sure sounds like a good explaination of what happened to the poor kid in this book.


message 74: by Arthur (new)

Arthur Graham Pure poppycock to anyone with a brain, for sure, but honestly I think the worst thing about this is the father's blatant cash-in. I wonder if he'll use the proceeds to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, like Jesus would?


Stephanie Arthur wrote: "Pure poppycock to anyone with a brain, for sure, but honestly I think the worst thing about this is the father's blatant cash-in. I wonder if he'll use the proceeds to feed the hungry and clothe th..."

Ha! Good point........I highly doubt it.


message 76: by Trudi (new)

Trudi Great review Stephanie. I believe there's something too, I just don't know what it looks like (nor do I think any one person or group could ever know either). Like you, I hope it's beautiful, if only for a fleeting moment. If that moment can be shared with those we have loved the most and lost, that would be enough for me.


Stephanie Trudi wrote: "Great review Stephanie. I believe there's something too, I just don't know what it looks like (nor do I think any one person or group could ever know either). Like you, I hope it's beautiful, if on..."

Thanks Trudi.


message 78: by Traci (new)

Traci Stephanie wrote: "Traci wrote: "My husband had some wicked hallucinations when he was extremely ill, too. Not sure I'd say it was a NDE, but as he puts it, he was circling the drain with intent. He was kept sedated ..."

He's doing very well now! Fully recovered, and better yet, has a much better attitude about life in general. Happier guy and a lot more fun to be around!


Stephanie Traci wrote"He's doing very well now! Fully recovered, and better yet, has a much better attitude about life in general. Happier guy and a lot more fun to be around! ..."

That's good to hear.


message 80: by Mg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mg Palmer Stephanie before you judge it you need to read it. How can you judge it without having read it. I'd encourage you to out your prejudices behind and just read it - with an open mind and then write a truthful review. Not one colored by your feelings or past experiences. Please. Just read it thru then tell us what you think. I dare you :-).


Stephanie Mg wrote: "Stephanie before you judge it you need to read it. How can you judge it without having read it. I'd encourage you to out your prejudices behind and just read it - with an open mind and then write a..."

Mg.....I wrote a book review, therefor I read the book. Nowhere did I say I didn't read it so I am confused how you made the assumption that I didn't. I read this turd and it was horrible. That is my judgment. It's not awful because of the Christian aspect as it is because of it's manipulative nature. What they did to the kid was unforgivable, and the writing was atrocious.

This book is a steaming, stinky, nasty, sack of liquid crap.

I hope that is clear enough.


message 82: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe Mg wrote: "Not one colored by your feelings or past experiences."

Do you imagine that this is possible for anyone, ever? Every reading of every book is always colored by the reader's feelings and experiences; that's why no book is ever the same no matter how many times one reads it. Reading a book isn't an objective experience. It is an active mental engagement with the text. I'm overwhelmed at what a poor understanding of reading this statement suggests, not to mention what a poor understanding of the purpose of a GR review.


message 83: by Arthur (last edited Aug 01, 2012 10:38AM) (new)

Arthur Graham Kaethe wrote: "Every reading of every book is always colored by the reader's feelings and experiences"

I can think of one Book with a capital "B" that may have colored Mg's...


Stephanie Kaethe wrote: "Mg wrote: "Not one colored by your feelings or past experiences."

Do you imagine that this is possible for anyone, ever? Every reading of every book is always colored by the reader's feelings and ..."


Thanks, well said.


Stephanie Arthur wrote: "Kaethe wrote: "Every reading of every book is always colored by the reader's feelings and experiences"

I can think of one Book with a capital "B" that may have colored Mg's..."


I know, right?


message 86: by Arthur (last edited Aug 01, 2012 11:48AM) (new)

Arthur Graham Can you imagine what else we'd have to accept as truth if we gave this kind of credence to all such verbal diarrhea? Kids say the darnedest things...


Stephanie Arthur wrote: "Can you imagine what else we'd have to accept as truth if we gave this kind of credence to all such verbal diarrhea? Kids say the darnedest things..."

*shudder*


message 88: by Traci (new)

Traci Kaethe wrote: "Mg wrote: "Not one colored by your feelings or past experiences."

Do you imagine that this is possible for anyone, ever? Every reading of every book is always colored by the reader's feelings and ..."


Exactly! I always tell people that literature is subjective. What I get out of a book isn't what the next person will get out of it and so on. And how could she possibly think Stephanie had NOT read the book from her review posted here? How would she have known the things she listed as the "bad" things about this book otherwise? ESP?


message 89: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe I want to try reviewing via ESP. Sign me up with PsyNetGalley.


Stephanie Traci wrote: "Exactly! I always tell people that literature is subjective. What I get out of a book isn't what the next person will get out of it and so on. And how could she possibly think Stephanie had NOT read the book from her review posted here? How would she have known the things she listed as the "bad" things about this book otherwise? ESP? ..."

I knew you were going to say that! I think MG loves this book SO much that she believed there was no way I could have really read the book, because if I had I would have been transformed.


Stephanie Kaethe wrote: "I want to try reviewing via ESP. Sign me up with PsyNetGalley."

I knew you were going to say that too! Damn, I sense a money making opportunity.......


message 92: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe Ha!


message 93: by Brad (new)

Brad I've talked to cauliflower too, but for different reasons.


Stephanie Brad wrote: "I've talked to cauliflower too, but for different reasons."

Did it reply? And what did it say?


message 95: by Brad (new)

Brad It told me I was under arrest.


Stephanie Brad wrote: "It told me I was under arrest."

That never ends well.


message 97: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe hA.


Hannah hey hey hey


message 99: by Diane (new)

Diane One of the most ridiculous and incredibly truthless books out there. Can't believe it's been on the Best Seller list for ages.


Stephanie Diane wrote: "One of the most ridiculous and incredibly truthless books out there. Can't believe it's been on the Best Seller list for ages."

Scary isn't it?


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