Book Review: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and BackHeaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven by Todd Burpo

Just before Colton turned four, he had a life-changing experience. During an emergency surgery when he almost died, Colton visited Heaven.

Over the next several years, he told his parents bits and pieces of his astounding story, revealing that he met Jesus, his miscarried sister, his deceased grandfather, and many others in Heaven.

This quick read is a bestseller, but I admit that I don't believe it completely.

Pros: It helps readers imagine Heaven, makes Jesus feel personable and shows His love for children, and supports the idea of eternal families.

Cons: I don't believe angels have wings. Four-year-olds can have pretty vivid imaginations, especially when they are exciting the interest of their parents. It was months after the surgery when Colton first mentioned having an out-of-body experience.

Who knows? It was an interesting read, and I don't feel like it was a waste of my time. My guess is that sweet Colton had some type of wonderful near-death experience, but the story became embellished over the years.

Heaven is for Real is written and narrated by Colton's father, who is a pastor. It is engaging, although it felt stretched a bit to be book-length. Also, the father's never-ending surprise with every new revelation about Colton's vision/dream/whatever you want to call it, was rather tiresome.


  1. I didn't like the evangelical wording of "he can't go to heaven without Jesus in his heart!" stuff. Seemed to me like that was more Todd and less Colton. I also had to laugh the first time they said something about "he'd be the only Burpo who ..." I was like, what? Not realizing it was the last name. I'd downplay that last name more if it were me ;) The story sounded sincere enough to me though and I didn't doubt it was a true experience. Overall I found it uplifting and interesting and a good quick read! What are you reading now? My book list is running low :)

  2. Great honest review. I've been considering picking this one up :)

  3. It was interesting but I also found myself wondering how much was the father inserting his own beliefs into things. You might enjoy "Return From Tomorrow" by George Ritchie. He was 20 at the time of his experience and I found pretty much all of what he said to ring true to my own beliefs about life after death. Here's the Amazon link (sorry I can't make it all pretty):