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921 of 973 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most of all true
At the same time that Dr. Mary Neal was drowning in a river in Chile, her husband, Bill, appeared to me in a dream. Bill is an old friend of mine from high school. We had shared many adventures and confidences over the years, but neither he nor any other friend had ever stared at me in a dream and woke me up. I shook it off at the time, only to learn a few days or weeks...
Published on February 9, 2012 by Bruce Stubblefield

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83 of 90 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Written Story but Lacking in After Life Details
I will say that this book was well written and very easy to read. Unfortunately, like so many other NDE-type books out there, it fails to go in-depth regarding the questions and answers of what it's like after we die. I don't expect it to be a theology lesson, but let's face it, the whole reason most of us buy a book like this is to get a real glimpse of the afterlife...
Published on July 18, 2012 by Michael N


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Genuine but poorly written, August 25, 2012
By 
Amazon Customer (Seattle, Washington) - See all my reviews
This book was very poorly written, but the experience this doctor had was obviously very real and a genuine spiritual experience. However, the description of her actual experience with the spiritual beings would have filled two pages -- the rest of the book is all about her beliefs and bible verses ad nauseum. Too much preaching! The descriptions of her background and her family were fine and necessary but there should have been more about her actual experience. That's what everyone is interested in reading. The style of writing was also not compelling for me.

I became very bored with this book, though I read it to the end and was heartened to read that a percentage of the proceeds go to worthy charitable organizations, so it wasn't a complete waste of money.

If you wish to read a much more detailed and well-written account of near-death experiences, read P.M.H. Atwater's books, specifically "Coming Back To Life: Examining the After-Effects of the Near-Death Experience" and "We Live Forever: The Real Truth About Death", just two of the many books she has written on this subject. Atwater herself has had several such experiences and her vivid descriptions of them are fascinating. You won't be bored reading her accounts.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars To Heaven and Back review, November 14, 2012
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I was disappointed that the subject matter did not address the title to any great extent. More time was spent giving credentials of the priest, etc. which was not relevant. Expected more.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Get coffee not this book, January 25, 2013
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This review is from: To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor's Extraordinary Walk with God (Paperback)
After seeing an interview of this author I thought the book would be an interesting read. Save your money. It's disjointed and self serving for the most part. There's very little on her death experience and, as I nurse, I found the post trauma events unreal. I wanted much more from this read but only got disappointment. The title is totally misleading. This book is more about Christian living than a near death experience. Grab a cup of coffee instead of this book.
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54 of 68 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't recommend this book, June 9, 2012
By 
Carol808 (Southern California) - See all my reviews
I looked forward to reading this book and hoped it would be as informative as "Embraced By The Light", but it wasn't. I expected to hear about what she saw and experienced in heaven, but the book said very little on her heavenly experience. Very little. The book seemed sketchy to me- jumping from one thing to another and back again. She drowns in a kayak accident, but takes a plane back to the US with two broken legs and the fact that she had just died? It just didn't make sense. I wouldn't recommend it to others. Heaven hardly entered into the book.
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57 of 73 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Uplifting, May 10, 2012
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This book left me feeling sad, inadeqate, and suspicious.

Sad and inadeqate because there is no way to live up to the standards set by the family, either temporally or spiritually. This is a very high achieving family and there is no reprieve in reminding us. The name & name/place dropping alone was like finger nails on a black board.

The book left me suspicious as well. The account of her son's tragic death seemed to include an unfortunate wiff of vidictiveness. Enough so that I googled the event. Apparently she and her husband wanted criminal charges brought against the driver whom she describes as a 'dead ender' who should have seen her son at the road edge from a quarter mile away.

The account of the accident in the papers tell us alcohol was not involved and that visibility was dim at the time [8:30 pm in June].
The young man was apparently distracted by his cell phone, but specifics were not discusses. From the local sources:

" While Adams [local authority] doubted that he could convince a jury that [name deleted] did recklessly or with "criminal negligence cause the death of another human being," valley resident Mary Neal, mother of William Neal, asserted Maine authorities failed to meet their responsibilities in the wake of the accident.

"It was clear that small-town politics significantly influenced the process, or lack thereof, so we were further disappointed
and disillusioned by the legal system when Mr. Adams chose not to file criminal charges against [nane deleted]," Neal said Tuesday in an e-mail response to questions."

Neal is relentless in the book that God has plans, and even tells us an angel told her why bad things happen to good people. Apparently Neal wanted jail to happen to the driver. We don't know God's plan. I certainly understand her motivation but she should have told us this stuff.
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44 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Heaven and Back, November 30, 2011
By 
Barbara Cartwright (LANDER, WYOMING, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor's Extraordinary Walk with God (Paperback)
Does our life have purpose and do we have the knowledge of a caring God beside us? Dr. Neal shares her life journey, her thoughts, beliefs, and reflections, and then inspires us to do the same. Her thought provoking book affirms our life, our challenges, our decisions, as well as our death. This book will inspire you, and bring you peace.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Did the author's religious practice influence the content?, November 13, 2012
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Although there is no doubt about remarkable near death experience and God presence in this author's experience, my impression is that the religious practice of the author turned this story and the book to big disappointment. I expected more of genuine description of the divine contact experience. What bothered me was the focus on practiced religion. Shocking for me was that God was portrayed as an trivially responding entity that rewards the prayer. Or reacts to prayer. Or demands the prayer.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A less than heavenly reading experience, June 25, 2012
I am always skeptical about afterlife experiences, the works of people whose life-altering experience in heaven causes them to write (often bestselling) books revealing the afterlife to the rest of us. Sadly, in the case of To Heaven and Back, my time in reading a book in that genre was not worth it.

Mary Neal was a successful surgeon, with a good marriage and beautiful children, when her kayak accident rendered her drowned, dead, and, by medical standards, flown on to Glory. However, she was granted more time on earth after being dragged from the depths and resuscitated. Months in therapy and a wheelchair later, she now encourages her patients with her incredible story.

However, as incredible as these accounts might appear, Neal's writing is mechanical and lifeless, and does not lend itself to depicting an accurate, credible account of an afterlife experience. While I do not so much question the validity of what she claims to have experienced, I was not edified by her writing style and the way the book meandered from one snapshot of her life to the next, most of which were hardly apropos to the nexus of the book. She introduces herself in 50 pages of backstory, then spends less than 50 more on the afterlife experience. After that, the pages consist of random pictures from her life, as well as her time spent healing after the tragic accident.

I appreciate Neal's honesty and willingness to share her story, but think perhaps her skills lie elsewhere--certainly not in the writing realm.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, July 10, 2012
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I expected to read lots of details about her experiences in heaven and there were so little. It was really a memoir of her life and I didn't realize that. I think the publisher's synopsis is very misleading: An extraordinary account of her death, heaven, angels and life again. No, it's a memoir. There are almost no details about the extraordinary experience.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring encounter of what lies on the otherside of this life!, June 13, 2012
By 
Pirate2240 "Kat" (Southern California) - See all my reviews
"Many have said that my experience is remarkable. What I find more remarkable, however, is how readily many people in our society believe outlandish and unsubstantiated urban myths and conspiracies (Pop Rocks and Coke, JFK assassination, AIDS is man-made, etc.), yet disregard thousands of personal and consistent testimonies of miracles and near-death experiences from people throughout all cultures and religions." (pg 205).

Dr. Mary C. Neal, an orthopedic surgeon, thought she had an understanding of heaven, angels and Jesus being a believer from a young age, but nothing would prepare her more, than dying and getting first hand knowledge that everything she ever believed was not only true, she had to tell others. That is precisely what she did many years later after her children had grown from when she first drowned in a kayaking accident in Chile.

That is the one significant thing in talking with anyone who has died, gone to heaven and returned, they never forget the precise details no matter how long it's been. Unlike trying to recall a wedding or even the birth of a child, the longer you wait in between talking about it, some of the details fade. Mary Neal felt God was now telling her to take what she experienced and not only share in through her words in a book, but even now she incorporates that into the care of her patients as well.

In the novel, To Heaven and Back, Mary C. Neal describes her life leading up to her death and what happens long afterwards, sharing with the reader how many of the events could be described by some as luck, good fortune or karma. However when you connect the dots in all these circumstances, it becomes clear, that God's divine hand was orchestrating it all and in fact continues to do so. Not much time is spent on her time in Heaven since she wasn't allowed in, but merely got up to the entrance point, but what lives on even now in her life, continues to impact those around her.

I received To Heaven and Back compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers for my honest opinion and truly believe what Mary experienced is real. To doubt her word, would mean you had more information into what happened than she did, and I would find that hard to believe. Mary isn't hoping to make a profit off her experience and is in fact donating portions of the sale of this book to many non-profit charitable organizations you would find on her website.

The one thing that remains consistent for me, in reading her story is prayer to God was invaluable not only in the difficult roads in her life, but offering up thanksgiving and gratitude in those prayers as well. Being a huge believer in the power of prayer, I LOVE how simply stated Mary's experience truly was and gives me hope that we will live a long eternal life after we simply finish our jobs here. I rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars in my personal opinion and it's a great source of comfort to those wondering if life exists past this one besides the Bible and who may be grieving.
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To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor's Extraordinary Walk with God
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