Amy S's Reviews > Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy

Heaven Is Here by Stephanie Nielson
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's review
Apr 01, 2012

it was amazing

I approached Stephanie Nielson's new book, "Heaven is Here," with a bit of trepidation. These kinds of books are all so different, and I was worried it could be any of the following: a cheese fest, a vehicle to insert a religious plug every two minutes, emotionally manipulative, or the worst crime a blogger can commit: the book that is really just a compilation of blog posts, which you don't discover until you've plopped big money down for something you could have read for free. This happens all the time lately as publishing houses turn to bloggers for their next big books.

I totally loved it. It was not any of those things. What I found instead was an uplifting tribute to our inner strength, to faith, to family. Not in a trite way, however. There is clear growth from the first page of the book to the last. And Stephanie is honest with her feelings. She allows us to descend with her into her darkest moments, and it was easy for me to empathize with her feelings, her fears, her struggles, her anger, and even her hope. In reading her blog I always was amazed at her courage to be able to go into restaurants and stores and hold her head high. The book gives you the opportunity to see how she builds her courage along with her strength, how she takes her decisions one at a time, and reaches that point.

For background, Stephanie Nielson was a happily married mother of four living what she called a charmed life. And it was. A terrible airplane crash changes everything. For months she lies in a coma, having been burned over 80% of her body, and when she awakes she finds her body and her life changed forever. Her fears of her future are real. What will her marriage be like? And how do you survive when your children are terrified by your new face and reject visiting you?

The challenges she faced in the book were so real. What do we do when we find our lives going on a path we never would have chosen? In this day when so many are going through pain and heartache, unimaginable struggles, her message is clear: Yes, life can be hard and unfair. But joy and beauty can still be found, as well as strength we never knew we had. And she lets us know that we have to make that choice, to be grateful for what we can, to choose to be happy.

I appreciated her honesty and directness. I was surprised to find I could hardly put the book down. It was really absorbing. I did find myself tearing up in a few spots, and I am not one to cry when I read books. She does speak of her faith, but with gentleness and strength. I would recommend this book to anyone. I think you will be a better person for it when you close the cover.
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