Photo Credits: NPR.Org

With a bright and sunny cover featuring an image of a cute, smiling child, Heaven Is For Real seems like a promising story of a child’s journey to heaven and back. However, this story has little to do with the young Colton Burpo or heaven at all.

Sure, we get to see how Colton becomes ill on a family vacation. The family thinks that it’s just a stomach virus, but it later proves to be misdiagnosed appendicitis  When his appendicitis goes misdiagnosed his appendix ruptures, requiring emergency surgery. It is during these surgeries that Colton spends three minutes in heaven visiting with God, Jesus, Mary, the grandfather whom he’s never met, and even the sister whom was miscarried before he was born. 

Readers are allowed to see fragments of what Colton saw in heaven. His father, Todd, reports that Colton was fascinated by all of the colors in heaven and the beauty of Jesus’s eyes. He also notes that Colton told over and over again of the love Jesus has for his children. We get this information in little fragments told by TODD, not Colton. The story does not seem to be told in Colton’s perspective at all and nothing ever seems to come to “life”.

I think it is safe to say Colton really did get to heaven for a little bit. Todd Burpo provides enough evidence to believe that, he just lacks in the details. I want to know more about what heaven looked like, what Colton did, what was said, and I especially wanted to know more about Satan’s presence in heaven, something barely touched on in this novel. 

In sum, Heaven Is For Real is a  cute, easy read, but if you’re looking for long vivid descriptions that really paint a strong picture of what heaven is like, I recommend sticking to Choo Thomas’s Heaven Is So Real.