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on December 1, 2016
I have been reading afterlife books for over 20 years. This is one of the worst books I have read on this topic. If you are expecting a glimpse of the afterlife, you will be sadly disappointed. The title is horribly misleading. To Heaven and Back? A normal person would assume this book would reveal a few secrets of Heaven. Not so. The author claimed to visit Heaven and the angels say, it's not your time. Then she goes back. That's IT! Then she writes a book on her ‘experience.’ What experience?

That would be like flying to Africa, landing, and taking the next flight home 30 minutes later. Then writing a book entitled, ’My Journey to Africa.’ That's basically what this author did. Highly fraudulent.

The book is horribly boring. It's mostly Bible Filler. Another reviewer said the same thing -- ‘too much filler.’ Another wrote, ‘Little to do with Heaven.’ Another said, she wrote ‘almost nothing about Heaven.’ Another said -- ‘The author promised much, delivered little.’

If you really want a glimpse of Heaven, there are far better books out there. Start with Betty Eadie's book, ‘Embraced by the Light.’ A masterpiece. Then read George Ritchie's book ‘Return from Tomorrow.’ It's an eternal classic. I read this once a year, and I am on the edge of my seat each time. Then read, Dannion Brinkley's book, ‘Saved by the Light.’ Brinkley has three books. They are all great!. I love that guy.

Then read, ‘The Soul's Remembrance’ by Roy Mills. Not many know about this book. A spiritual masterpiece. Roy writes about the Prayer Room in Heaven -- where ALL prayers are heard and evaluated. This is the only book I know of that discusses the Prayer Room. One other great book is ‘I Saw Heaven.’ by Arthur E. Yensen. This book is all heart and soul. It's about his spiritual experience that happened in 1932. As Arthur wrote, ‘Heaven is the Real Life -- and worry is the most foolish thing you can do! Don't worry about what happens to you while on earth, but concentrate on how you live and develop spiritually.’ The book is an eternal treasure. Hard to find.

You read these books, and you will get a great idea of what Heaven is like. God bless you.
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on November 29, 2017
At first, I was having a real hard time with this book, especially after reading several other books on near death experiences. It's a bit of a slog through the first half. She spent a lot of time talking about her family, her job, and her experiences as a Christian. It wasn't until she finally talked about her near death in South America, that things got interesting. There isn't a lot of memory for her concerning her visitation to heaven...but there is a lot about what this visit did to change her life. Dr. Neal talks about her continuing talks with either an angel or God about why things happened, and what she should do. She apparently was comforted when her own son passed away after her own accident.

This book really doesn't spend a lot of time with information about heaven, if that's what you are looking for. But if you want a book that adds to your own understanding about our relationship with God, this book is a good read. She writes well, and the last half of the book made it worth it for me. One takeaway from this book, is our Heavenly Father is very aware of us as individuals, and that He cares about us. I think right now with everything that is happening in the world people need to understand this...but you need to make the first step.
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on February 9, 2012
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 later why I had seen him.

The story of her experiences from the drowning, through the repeated revivals and her ultimate survival are the events upon which this book is anchored. But the meat and meaning of it are in the unfolding of her life as guided and protected by her God. I'm obviously no disinterested party. Skeptics can be reassured by my report that if it came from Mary's pen, it will be the truth and the whole truth. I doubt, however, that her or anyone's personal account can penetrate fully into the modern psyche. That is, into those who think that they need proof of what we call God. As an account of a brush with the Hereafter, here have been many others similar to it, and they're well enough known to be used as shorthand in bad films.

What Mary and those like her have experienced are gifts from somewhere, given not just to them. She gives it back to us disguised as a simple offering. She doesn't baffle the reader with melodrama, hyperbole, fantasy, or excessive adjectives. She tells her story in a concise & detailed way, with a voice of eloquent and unadorned sincerity. In this way, it's easy to read and difficult to put down, vividly descriptive and completely convincing, humbling and inspiring.

Fortunately for us, she kept waking up in the middle of the night until she couldn't keep from writing it down for us. The reason to read this remarkable account is witness, which is one of the few ways that we have left to hack a little hole in our jungle of unbelief.
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on April 9, 2017
This book was beautiful, positive, uplifting, and inspiring. Absolutely love this book. It really changes the way I think about my own life and its perspective. I recently lost someone extremely close to me, and this book has really helped. Things I've always wondered about, I found some answers. Dr. Neal is a very inspiring and positive woman. Thank you so much for writing this book and God Bless you.
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on August 8, 2017
I love this book. As I get older and as a believer I know that I have lived longer on earth than I will live here in the future. My eternal destiny is heaven promised by my Lord and savior Jesus. I am more and more interested in reading about my eternal home. Dr. Neal experienced this place called heaven but was sent back to earth for a reason. Her story is remarkable. Being a fellow physician I can confirm all the medical facts she states her book. She was dead - not just dreaming. She did miraculously come back to life. Life it's self is a miracle. We were put on this earth for a reason. Her story has helped me to focus on what God wants me to do here on earth before I also visit heaven some day.
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on September 18, 2014
I also had a similar drowning experience...with similar results. I didn't suffer from any of the injuries that the author did, other than the inhalation of water. I was swimming in shoulder deep water when my leg cramped up so badly that I was unable to swim or even stand up. Within a very short time the other leg cramped up also. I had always thought that the will to survive would enable the potential to swim to shore. I was very wrong !! The pain was so intense that with both legs drawn up...I was unable to do anything, but sink to the bottom. I was sure no one saw me go under. I began to panic when the oxygen was depleting from my body and all attempts to surface, swim or stand were useless. When I accepted that it was over and inhaled water...a sense of calmness and peace took over. I, too saw the white light and a feeling of total serenity. There was also a very reassuring voice telling me that I was going to be OK. It was beautiful !!! The next thing I knew...I was on the shore coughing, choking and sputtering with people yelling "Breathe !!!" I was OK !!! 18 years old...embarrassed...but alive !!!! I didn't tell many people about it because I didn't think they would believe me. Do I believe Dr. Deals story ??? ABSOLUTELY !!! I, also was told that it wasn't my time to go yet, and to go back and tell what happened. That was 50 yrs ago. It is so great to have people fulfilling their mission....and I am so thankful that I had and survived the experience. Believe ??? Thank you GOD ....for sparing and SAVING me. Amen
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on October 17, 2012
Mary, thank you for writing this wonderful book about your NDE and how it changed your life. It took a lot of courage from you, especially since you appear to be,and you describe yourself as a very private person. The fact that you are a very specialized orthopedic surgeon, adds to the credibility of the story. You seem to have a great reputation in that field and in your community, so I am sure you would not make up stories to get attention, and risk that. You don't need to. Your life is already nearly perfect.

I've been reluctant to purchase "Heaven is for Real", since it is the story of a child's encounter with heaven, and it would be hard for me to assess how much of it was real, how much of it was in the child's imagination, and how much of it might have come from his father and other adults influencing the child. I purchased your book because I am a terrible skeptic, but your credentials gave me confidence.

I had to read all the one star reviews to find out why some people could be so disappointed with this book. I seem to understand a little better now:

The actual trip to heaven must have taken less than a few minutes, given the fact that you're still here, and did not suffer any brain damage. Thank God for that! Therefore, there wasn't a whole lot of detail to be said. But what you did say is very reassuring. There is definitely life after death, and it will be a joyous wonderful life! We won't want to come back, once we are there.

As for the conversations with the angel (or Jesus, if it was Jesus, which could very well be. Didn't you ask his name? I think I would have). You said you spoke at length with him, on two occasions. Most of us were hanging on your every word, to see if you could share the answers you were given, but they were very vague. Given that tremendous opportunity, if any of us could talk to Jesus or an angel, what would we ask? I can make a pretty long list myself. For example, times have changed a lot since the bible was written. How does God feel TODAY about issues that fill us with doubt, fear and anxiety, such as divorce, abortion, birth control, war, homosexuality, lust, greed, selfishness, justice, etc. Here is a topic that weighs heavily on my mind: Pain and disease. Why do some people heal and some don't. Why are the lucky ones lucky? Not that I'm calling you lucky. You studied hard, you worked hard. You deserve your success. Yes compared to most of us, you are an over-achiever and some people may resent that. On the other hand, losing a child is probably the hardest thing for most people to endure. No one envies you for that. Your experience may have helped you understand it a little better, but I'm sure it was painful just the same. I believe you were blessed in many ways, and the fact that you always trusted God probably had a lot to do with it. There are many times that my trust gets replaced with doubt and anger, and I just have to remember to ask God to help me believe more, trust more. Your book taught me three very important lessons that I hope to remember for the rest of my life. The three verses of the bible that you read in your hospital room.

God bless you Mary, and many, many thanks!

I'm glad that you were able to share with us all that you did. If you think of any answers to my above questions, please don't hesitate to comment.
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on September 23, 2017
I was disappointed in that little was devoted to the actual experience in heaven as the title implies, but more of the author's
finding God's intervention in her life's experiences. She goes off on a tangent when she proposes that we know before we are born what
critical events will happen and we plan our life so to speak. How Jesus dying on the cross to save us from our sins fits into this
scenario I cannot imagine since we would all plan to go to heaven and not hell. Evil and sin does not enter into the picture.
That being said, as a Christian, I believe her main point that God does love and care for us daily and if we are alert to His
intervention in our daily activities, we will be better human beings.
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on December 5, 2016
Neal gives insight into her faith and relationship with Jesus Christ and goes on to tell how she died. She also shares her background about how she grew up and her love for her career. She explains almost every detail about that day, and describes what she felt as she was drowning. After her death, she reflects on how her life and faith were never going to be the same anymore. Neal is a neurosurgeon who places her life in Jesus’ hands as her purpose for life unravels before her.
I really enjoyed this book! I could sit and read it all in one sitting, engaged in every page. I would say it even deepened my faith and got me really excited for eternal life. It was interesting to read what life after death was like. Neal made sure she was reflective about everything, which brought perspective and understanding. I would recommend this book to those who want a good read, a meaningful read or if they’re wavering in their faith. Neal shares her struggle about finding her purpose and for those who are wondering what their purpose is, this is a good book to change a perspective or to find a perspective.
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on December 5, 2016
To Heaven and Back is a moving memoir by Dr. Mary Neal. The book reflects on the miraculous events of Neal’s life and how they tied into her stirring spiritual journey.
The most gripping and page-turning sections of the book were when Dr. Neal described the unbelievable events in her life. She has several near-death experiences and faces many tragedies. Not only are the stories remarkable, but the connection back to God after every trial is inspiring. Her struggles served to strengthen her faith and see how truly present God is in our lives.
While the book has the extraordinary events of Dr. Neal’s lifetime included, it also addresses everyday common struggles faced by many of us today. Neal’s book focuses a great deal on the challenges she faced throughout her life with her relationships, career, and her family. With her busy and ambitious lifestyle, Neal found she often had a hard time knowing what God was to her, and where He fit into her life. If you find yourself struggling to know who God is and what he means to you, this book may resonate with you. I would specifically recommend this book to parents, as Dr. Neal references her experiences with parenting often throughout the book. The relatability of many of the struggles Dr. Neal describes throughout her life make it a book anyone can enjoy and take something away from.
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