Heaven is for Real Book Review

Heaven is for Real Book Estuary Review

Heaven is for Real Book Review


Heaven is for Real is a nonfiction, Christian, and inspirational book that will touch on your spirituality, faith, and religious beliefs. I’m reviewing this book not to judge or argue on whether or not the accounts in the book are true. In this review, I will just make it easier for you to know what Colton shared about his experience of heaven and give my brief comment on my experience reading this book or story as I usually do. 


Goodreads Blurb of Heaven is for Real

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed–a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.


Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery–and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.


With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, “Heaven is for Real” offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”


“Heaven is for Real” will forever change the way you think of eternity, offering you the chance to see, and believe, like a child.


Book Review of Heaven is for Real by Book Estuary 

Heaven is for Real Summary

Heaven is for Real is Todd Burpo’s account of their lives prior to his son’s encounter with Jesus and God in heaven. Todd is a protestant pastor in Nebraska while his wife, Sonja is a teacher. During the narration in the book, they only have 2 children, Cassie and Colton. Prior to Colton’s surgery, Todd broke his leg in a softball game and was dependent on crutches. A few months after, Todd was diagnosed with kidney stones and hyperplasia but was cleared miraculously after some more tests were done on him.


Three months after, Colton complained of stomach pain that lasted for days and was only confirmed by doctors to be a ruptured appendix and an abscess after 5 days. During his surgery, Colton had a near-death experience which made it very difficult for Todd and his wife to deal with and even tested their faith.


Colton underwent a second surgery for an abscess after 8 days and the doctor who attended him, Dr. O’Holleran had almost given up treating Colton stating that there’s nothing he can do to Colton anymore and recommended for his transfer to another hospital. However, a blizzard occurred preventing his transfer. On the next day, Colton suddenly showed significant signs of recovery.


Months after his near-death hospitalization, Colton started telling stories about his trip to heaven and meeting God, Jesus, Angel Gabriel, John the Baptist, and many more.


Colton’s hospitalization happened in March 2003 when he was almost 4 years old. 


Heaven is for Real Description of Heaven

Colton’s description of heaven is best read from his own words as stated in the book.

“The first person you’re going to see (in heaven) is Jesus.”

“Dad, Jesus had the angels sing to me because I was so scared. They made me feel better.” Colton further explained that he was sitting on Jesus’ lap.

“He had to have Jesus in his heart! He had to know Jesus or he can’t get into heaven.” Colton said during a funeral. 

“Jesus gave me work to do and that was my favorite part of heaven. There were lots of kids, Dad.” 

“Hey Dad, Jesus told me to tell you, He really loves the children.”

“Everybody got wings. We flew, all except Jesus. He was the only One in heaven who didn’t have wings. Jesus just went up and down like an elevator.”

“Everyone kind of looks like angels in heaven, Dad. All the people have a light above their head.”

“It doesn’t get dark in heaven. God and Jesus light up heaven.” 

“The gates of heaven are made of gold and there were pearls on them. The heavenly city itself was made of something shining like gold or silver. The flowers and trees in heaven were beautiful, and there were animals of every kind.”

On God’s throne, “It was big, Dad… really, really big, because God is the biggest one there is. And he really, really loves us, Dad.”

“And do you know that Jesus sits right next to God? Jesus’ chair is right next to his Dad’s!.

On who is seated on God’s left side, “Oh, that’s easy, Dad. That’s where the angel Gabriel is. He’s really nice.”

“Nobody’s old in heaven.”

“The angels carry swords so they can keep Satan out of heaven.”

“I know. He’s in heaven. He’s got a new body. Jesus told me if you don’t go to heaven, you don’t get a new body. On Colton’s response about his father saying that Pop is not really in the cemetery where he was buried.

“There’s going to be a war, and it’s going to destroy this world. Jesus and the angels and the good people are going to fight against Satan and the monsters and the bad people. I saw it.”


Heaven is for Real Description of Jesus

“Jesus has markers (referring to Jesus crucifixion wounds). And he has brown hair and he has hair on his face…Jesus’ eyes are so pretty…“

“Did you know that Jesus has a rainbow horse? I got to pet him.”

Furthermore, according to Colton, only Jesus is wearing purple in heaven with a crown that has a diamond thing in the middle.


Who else did Colton meet in heaven?

Colton met God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, John the Baptist, Mary, Angels including Gabriel who is seated at the left side of God. He also saw his father’s grandpa named Pop and his sister who died on his mommy’s tummy. 


Is Heaven is for Real true?

As mentioned in the introduction, this blog entry is focused mainly on my experience reading this book twice. The first time was maybe 5 years ago and I reread this prior to writing my review here. I would not really want to comment on the truthfulness of Colton’s story as it is a matter of one’s faith. What I would want to comment on is how engaging Colton’s story is. I must say that this book is narrated in a way that once you started reading it you will have a hard time putting it down. 


Colton’s story is indeed extraordinary. As to how believable Colton’s account really depends on your faith but the most important thing is, as Todd also mentioned in the book, they shared Colton’s story and they were able to touch lives by doing so. Some people find the story encouraging and inspiring. It became in some ways a source of hope.


Just as a good story should be, Colton’s story surely delivers a great and inspiring experience to readers and in my case, it made me again believe. It is not a story that you will easily forget. If you are a believer like I am, it confirms our beliefs that there is Someone Who is greater than ourselves out there and if you are a doubter, it will surely remain at the back of your head for years to come.


Also, I can only imagine that you will have a comeback to any account on the book and that is understandable. As a believer, I did have some questions too but I believe it is unfair to criticize the book for its supposed intention that is clearly not meant or conveyed by the author.


I must say, one can surely like the book or the story but not necessarily believe everything it says. 


Overall Rating and Final Thoughts About Heaven is for Real

I choose this book as my Christmas feature because Heaven is for Real is a book that allows readers an experience to believe as a child and in Jesus. The storytelling is engaging and I believe has a strong effect on readers in different ways. So, if you are looking for something inspirational or a story that you would just want to philosophize, Heaven is for Real will definitely give you that experience. I give this book my 5-star.  


Other Reviews from Book Estuary


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Book Title: Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
Author: Todd Burpo, Lynn Vincent
Publication Date: October 31, 2010
Print Length: 163 pages
My Rating: 5-star
Goodreads Link  
Buy on Amazon 


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