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 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, his great grandpa, his dead sister, and Jesus's rainbow horse. The standard men in white beards and 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 what happens is that this little boy gets really really sick, vomits every 30 minutes. His parents eventually get him to a hospital where lots of tests are administered. Even though the Burpos question whether it is appendicitis (they have a strong feeling it is) the incompetent doctor says all tests say no. So instead of ripping the child out of bed and heading for 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 poison was circulated through him, he was dehydrated, and of course he hadn't eaten in days. Ripe for delusion I say.
He of course is 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 out of body experience, he knows what his parents are doing in other rooms for instance. When he 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, it's Christiany, if you are Hindu, it's Hinuy, if you are Jewish it's........ well nothing at all since they don't believe in an afterlife (I kid, I don't know if that's true). So did I mention Colten's (SP?) father, the author Todd Burpo, is an evangelical preacher man?
Slowly Colten's story comes out, by means of a myrid of questions by his father (leading ones no doubt). Colten would mention stuff like what color cloths Jesus wore (purple if you wondered) and his dad jaw would drop (this happened often) because no one had ever told Colten that. "How could he know this?" his dad wondered. I'll tell you how Todd, he probably heard you say this and every other biblical tid bit your jaw drops to to other people, and he heard it! Being your a preacher and all, it's bible bible bible day in and day out in your household. My question is how could he not know it? Three year old brains are super sponges, Brain-wows if you will....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 Colten is with his dad and family at a funeral. Colten 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 Aldis 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 Colten's "memories" and got "answers" he believes proves his evangelical Christianity. If you don't believe what he believes folks 'ya aint gettin' into heaven people...sorry.