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I was surprised about The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, for starters, I thought it would be a copycat version of Heaven Is For Real. I only assumed that because Heaven Is For Real is the more popular of the two, and I had never heard of this one until a few months ago. Every time I heard the title I thought someone was referring to Heaven is For Real.

Boy, was I wrong! I can honestly say that The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” is my personal favorite of the two novels. It draws comparison to Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven because it discusses a great deal of Alex’s recovery from his injuries.

A Quick Summary:

At the beginning of the novel, Kevin, the narrator and father of the injured boy Alex went into detail about the accident that left his son injured. He was talking on the phone with his wife, looking back at his son who asked him a question, all while driving. He didn’t see the vehicle approaching that would hit soon hit his car. At the scene of the accident, people and emergency staff came to help Kevin and Alex, Even when some thought that Alex was dead from the way his head hung, they still prayed for him.

Doctors at Columbus Children’s Hospital soon discovered that Alex had sustained a major neck injury. One expressed his doubt that Alex would survive due to the severity of his injuries. And that’s when it happened. The people came together and prayed for Alex faithful. People would come into the hospital just to pray for Alex in his hospital room. The prayers grew when Kevin launched prayforalex.com, where the family tracked his progress.

Throughout this time, the family suffered from other hardships like financial issues. God answered every worry that Kevin had. After 4 months of being in a coma, Alex finally woke up from his coma. The family came together to learn what they needed to take Alex home and care for him themselves. He ended up in the hospital a few times after that.

More importantly, Alex accomplished milestones that the doctors doubted would be possible because of the injury. He could talk. With every chapter it seemed like Alex continued to prove predictions wrong. The Malarkey family is convinced that if it’s in God’s will Alex will walk again whether it is here or in Heaven.

That’s pretty much the best quick summary I can give.

I had several emotional moments where I empathized with the Malarkeys. The most emotional was probably when their home suffered damages from a snow storm that left the family nearly homeless and in need of a new roof. I remember pausing during this part of the story and looking up the ceiling asking “Why God?”, but after reading Kevin’s father’s point of view, it changed my entire outlook on life and God’s blessings.

With every hurdle I felt compassion for the Malarkeys, but I also felt joy because every need was met through the good will of God’s people who they were blessed to be surrounded by. When they needed a van for Alex and all of his equipment, a church (that the family did not attend) donated money in order for them to purchase one; when they could not afford the $15000 bill to send Alex on a two week stay at the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, the Eric Westacott Foundation raised  $30,000 which allowed Alex to attend on two different occasions; Alex became the youngest person to receive the “Christopher Reeves” surgery, where a diaphragm pacing system is installed into his body in replace of him carrying around a 60-pound ventilator.

Throughout the novel, Kevin Malarkey really stressed the glory of God. God works in the most amazing ways. If there was ever a time that I truly believe a novel about God, it was this book. It was beyond touching and well-written. Alex is a quite admirable young boy. God bless his family!