This is another of those books which tells the story of someone who had a near-death experience, entered heaven, and came back to tell the tale. It’s slightly different from some of the others because it was a child who went there, and he miraculously recovered from a situation the doctors thought was hopeless.
I’ll cut to the chase here, my problem. Quite a bit of this book would seem to not be consistent with Scripture. My comments about the content, therefore, are not that I think Alex or his Dad Kevin are lying about the whole thing, but that their interpretation is wrong. At the end of the day I think they’re good Christians who want the glory to go to God but that their beliefs sometimes border on gnostic heresy, that the spiritual side of heaven is ‘good’ and the physical is ‘bad’.
There’s also a balancing act which gets close to toppling into a prosperity gospel pit – it doesn’t go there but is close. In particular Alex’s Mum was told that she should pray for Alex’s healing and not lose that faith or else he would die. The knock-on effect of this is that a reader who lost their child could feel condemned that they didn’t pray enough, or didn’t have enough faith – and that’s simply not true.
That all said, there is actually a lot of good in this enjoyable book. The honesty of the family shines through and some good lessons about enduring through tough times are there. There are good examples of God’s miraculous healing power to build your faith, and personal illustrations of prophetic pictures as well.
It feels like it was pulled together a bit clumsily – part of each chapter is apparently written by Alex so has a nice child-like quality to it but at the same time he uses some very complex sentence structures and words, which make the whole thing quite frustrating. There are also random quotes scattered throughout the text, which make a nice addition but at times distract from the main body and at one point split a sentence in half over four pages!
Overall, don’t get me wrong – the book is a good one, I enjoyed reading it, felt myself tearing up on more than one occasion and felt like I got to know the family, I’m sure they’re good people with a strong and genuinely Christian faith. But, at the end of the day, I have to trust God’s word over the Malarkeys’ so it’s not getting a thumbs up from me this time.
I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers. I’m not required to give a positive review.