Customer Review

3,088 of 3,714 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Gonna get a lot of flak for my review, so here goes..., August 28, 2011
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This review is from: Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Paperback)
For those of you who are going to rant and chastise me for being judgmental, save it...

I, too, have had a terrifying experience where my child was extremely sick, doctors could not diagnose him for a couple of days, he went into the hospital, and when he was finally diagnosed was not expected to live. This is where my 'judgmentalism' comes from...

Thinking I was going to be buying a sweet little, uplifting tale that would resonate with me as I am a person of great faith and unfathomable love and thankfulness to God _ I came to a point in this book (about midway through Chapter 6) where I had to quit reading this book. The more I read (as written by the little boy's father) about the actions of these parents before actually seeking medical attention for their obviously sick child, the more judgmental I became. I don't like it when I find myself judging people, so the best thing for me to do was to delete the book from my Kindle and just forget about it. If I could ask for my money back, so that no money goes into the hands of people who acted so ignorantly, I would.

Here are a few examples of their behavior that just stupified me: When little Colton first became sick, before a trip, his mother took him to the doctor and the doctor wrote his illness off as a stomach flu. The parents prayed not that their sweet little 3 year old get better, but that he would get better enough not to interrupt a trip. (The trip was for a district church denomination meeting.) So, little Colton seems to be back to his old self the next day, so they go on their trip. While out on their trip, both of their children become sick one night and the parents believed there was a revisitation of the stomach flu. That's understandable. However, when the 6 year old daughter who only threw up a couple of times overnight and the 3 year old continues to vomit "hourly", without any sign of improvement whatsoever, do they check-out of the hotel and take him to the ER or head back home? Nope, they take him to the home of some friends (let's just give this virus to everybody we know) so the mother can take care of him while the father attends church with one of the friends. Ignorant, selfish call I think. But, we're all entitled to a dumb move now and then. So, I keep reading. Once church is over, the father and his friend come home to find the 3 year old still very sick and vomiting "profusely". The male friend the father went to church with that morning is concerned, thinking the symptoms might equal appendicitis. The father, whose experience as a pastor and garage door salesman make him an expert, decides that it's not appendicitis. Fine, anybody can be wrong. Keep reading... so dad decides it's not appendicitis and must still be the (contagious) stomach flu, therefore the family will just stay another night with their generous hosts - just in case they haven't made them sick yet, I guess. The following morning,after a night of the little boy STILL vomiting, the parents pack up to go home and their host, seeing the sick child cradled in his mother's arms, says that the little boy looks "pretty sick" and suggests that the parents take him straight away to the ER. Well, the parents reason that the 3 hours they would sit in an ER would be better spent driving home, so they head on home. They call ahead to their local doctor, make an afternoon appointment, and before heading out explain their reasoning to their host. The host "said he understood", but the father "could tell he was still worried". Okay, even now the friends of the parents are apparently thinking "what are you DOING?". Two hours into the drive, after the parents have had to stop and change clothing on an already fully potty trained child (!!!) whose began soiling himself and the child is by now "crying constantly" and they've had to stop "every 30 mintues" for him to throw up. So, they're still an hour or so from home, and they STILL DON'T STOP AT AN ER! I mean, come on people, it doesn't take a triple digit IQ to figure out at this point that 48 hours of hourly to half-hourly vomiting by a 3 year old can result in dehydration so severe that he could be having organ problems. Wait, the dad even says that 2 hours into this 3 hour trip home that they know he must be getting dehydrated (ya think?!?) and they STILL DIDN'T STOP. So, they get back to their hometown in 3 hours and, though earlier in the book Dear Old Dad says they called ahead for an appointment with family doc, when they get home you know what they do? They go to the ER. FINALLY! And when they get to the ER, the kid is so sick, they don't make the family wait the dreaded 3 hours that the parents had speculated about earlier, no, one look at the child and the ER staff immediately takes them back. Blood work is performed, Xrays are performed, and IVs are run. Results... the doctor doesn't know what's wrong with the child, but the Xray shows 3 masses in his stomach. While the IVs and antibiotics (antibiotics... they don't give those for stomach virus) are dripping, friends begin streaming in. One friend suggests that the parents should have the boy transported to Denver Children's (ya know, since doctors at Podunk Hospital don't know what's wrong). The parents dismissed this, instead deciding (I suppose) to let the Podunk docs google until they make a diagnosis. On day two, after the boy is STILL throwing up and only getting worse "faster", mother stays on at the hospital while Dad works and prays. Finally, on day 3 at Podunk, it dawns on the parents of little Colton (whose looking like death to his parents)that maybe they should take him to another hospital. Denver Children's? Noooo, that would be too far from the parents "base of support". ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHAT ABOUT COLTON'S MEDICAL SUPPORT? This is where I quit reading. I know from the photo on the cover that little Colton survived and is doing well (he's obviously not 3 anymore). But I just, at this point, had formed such an unfavorable opinion of these parents selfishness or ignorance or both, that I just didn't want to read anymore. As a parent, I love to the point I would die for my kid. Sitting in an ER 3 hours from home is a far cry from death. Subjecting him to days of continual degradation of health and wellbeing so that I can be close to those who will pat my back and tell me it's all gonna be alright is not my idea of taking care of my child. I'm sorry if this feeling is offensive, but it's why I could not finish this book.
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Tracked by 29 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 490 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 29, 2011 10:49:08 PM PDT
Donald says:
I suspect I would have your same reaction and don't know why you would receive a lot of flak for being a caring parent. Now I'm conflicted. I may still buy the book because Colton's story sounds fascinating but I may scan it liberally, skipping a lot of the oblivious or unproductive (looking for the right word here...) parental behavior. So your review may do many of us a lot of good!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 30, 2011 6:48:29 PM PDT
ejane says:
Excellent review...........but I'm still buying it!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2011 4:04:15 PM PDT
MTK says:
Thank you for your insightful and detailed accounting of the incidents that led to Colton's hospitalization. It's a good review for someone who is evaluating whether this book is a buy or a library wait list.

Posted on Sep 22, 2011 7:22:42 AM PDT
Lambpost says:
Im not surprised. People neglect their children all the time, and instead pray god will heal them. Unfortunately, children die quite often because of this. Its not just prayer, either - there are several forms of neglect, homeopathy being one of them.

Posted on Oct 21, 2011 8:41:26 AM PDT
If you would have continued reading you would have read the part about them regretting the decisions they made involving Colton's initial treatment. Also he was misdiagnosed twice. The mother's words were, "We screwed up." They regretted the way they initially handled it. Maybe you didn't read that far, since you said you stopped reading it. I agree that they should have taken him right away to the ER, and so would they.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2011 8:44:23 AM PDT
They were not using homeopathy. The little boy was actually misdiagnosed twice, and the parents even expressed in the book that they regretted the way they initially handled his treatment - taking him back to their hometown instead of staying where they were and going to an ER right away. This reviewer didn't finish reading the book, so perhaps that information was missed. It really wasn't neglect, but poor decision making initially.

Posted on Oct 22, 2011 8:46:59 PM PDT
D Lewis says:
I completely agree with you. I was listening to the audio book with my children in the car, and had to stop it and tell them that I thought those parents were being completely irresponsible, to the point of being cruel to little Colton, and that they didn't have to worry about ever being treated like that.
What parent subjects a child who has been vomiting for two days straight to a three hour car ride to see the family doctor? I wonder if the thought of a higher co-pay was involved. And then the poor kid had to be carted around to various places for tests. I'm sorry, but if my child was that sick three hours away from home, we would have been in the ER within 24 hours. And if the doctors didn't seem to know what to do, we would be at a children's hospital where the doctors would know what to do, and would be able to conduct tests without having to transfer the poor child from one facility to another. The neglect is just completely unbelievable.
I understand that they regretted their decisions, and well they should. They should have reached the point of regret much sooner.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 23, 2011 1:53:34 AM PDT
Lambpost says:
Whether you believe they were neglectful or not, what we do know for sure is that THE BOY, AND/OR HIS FAMILY IS EITHER MISTAKEN, OR FULL OF IT. There is no evidence for any kind of afterlife, and the account of a 7 year old kid just doesn't do it for me, especially when the story involves a bestselling book. This does not qualify as evidence for anything whatsoever. This book should be classified under the "fiction" section, and frankly im pretty shocked and embarrassed for humans in general that this is actually a bestseller. I wish I could have been born 100 years later when perhaps they aren't still using the logic of cavemen.


This is the type of 'evidence' that christian people have to come up with. Why cant there ever be anything substantial? Why cant we get evidence of an afterlife that is concrete, easy to understand, and available for everyone? Because it, and all its related supernatural claims, do not exist. It was invented by humans because death is an uncomfortable idea. We want to live forever and thinking there is a heaven makes the prospect of death a little less scary - but it doesn't make it true. If you want to live in the REAL world and have as many true beliefs as possible regardless if they make you feel good or not, you need concrete EVIDENCE.

This story of a couple neglectful parents (already shown to be less then logical, rational people), lining their pocket with your cash, playing on your fears of death, does not qualify for me, and it shouldn't for anyone who really cares if their beliefs are true.

Posted on Nov 30, 2011 6:26:14 AM PST
Mari says:
Ok that's all well and good but... why did u even write a review? You didn't finish the book. It seems unfair. What if I listen to the first three notes of a song and then write a review based on the fact that I didn't like those three notes together?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2011 6:52:24 AM PST
JL says:
@ Duped in FL: Hmm, you say there is no evidence of an afterlife, but do you have any "concrete EVIDENCE" that there is NOT an afterlife? Didn't think so.
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