Sunday, July 17

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin and Alex Malarkey

In 2004, Kevin Malarkey and his son Alex were in a terrible car accident.  Kevin sustained only minor injuries, but Alex was near death and many did not expect him to live.  Alex was in a coma for two month, barely clinging onto life.   Though the doctors could not explain it, Alex began to heal.  It was slow, but at the end of the two months Alex woke, and boy did he have a story to tell.  He spoke of seeing the accident as if he was not seeing it from his body and described things that he should not have known.  From there, Alex says that he was brought into heaven.  He also recounts being told (in Heaven) of another man who ‘died,’ went to heaven, and returned to earth, and said that man’s descriptions were accurate (I’m presuming he’s talking about 90 Minutes in Heaven, though it is not directly identified beyond vague references).

Each chapter is written primarily by Kevin.  He describes the ongoing medical condition of Alex and shares the struggles his family went through and the support they received.  He also includes many stories of Alex’s experiences which Alex shared after regaining consciousness.  At the end of each chapter is a page or two written by Alex, describing either what he saw in Heaven, or giving a bit of his perspective on things.  There are also picture inserts within the book, which help give a visual reference not only of the crash, but of Alex’s healing and progression.

Inevitably, this book will be compared to another bestseller – Heaven is for Real, regardless of which one you read first.  The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven focuses quite heavily on the healing process, both physically and emotionally.  Stories of support, both monetary, emotional, and physically seem much more prominent here as well, whereas Heaven is for Real seemed to focus more on the vision or visit to Heaven. 

The accident in The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven is terrible, and even though the outcome was evident before reading it, I still felt a sense of relief when I finally reached the part where Alex awoke from his coma.  It is amazing to see the strength that the Malarkey family was able to muster when presented with such a terrible ordeal and get through it together.

The writing itself was not particularly strong; there seemed to be several times where thoughts were either repeated, or more detail was given than always necessary.  And while I got a good sense of Kevin’s journey, I had a hard time getting a good grasp on what Alex would be like if I were to meet him.  It would’ve been great if Alex’s sections could’ve been expanded on.   This wouldn’t even necessarily have to be about Alex’s experience with Heaven, but even his opinions and thoughts about his treatments and his recovery.  There was a short interview with Alex at the end, but if felt forced and they didn’t really provide anything that I hadn’t already read or surmised from the rest of the book.

Heartbreaking at times, joyful at others, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven tells a tremendous story, not only of a miraculous recovery, but of a child who may have gotten a glimpse of Heaven.  None of us can know for sure right now what exactly happened, but that doesn’t make the story any less amazing.

3/5 stars

I received this book free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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