Friday, June 15, 2012

To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD

It's one thing to read a book about someone dying, going to heaven, then coming back when that person is a child. It's a totally different thing when that person is an orthopaedic surgeon.

Dr. Mary Neal drowned while kayaking in Chile. After going over a waterfall, she was pinned at the bottom and, despite the efforts to rescue her, died.

This book is the good doctor's detailed account of what transpired.

The 33 chapters are very short which makes this an easy read for the summer. Plus there's an excellent Q&A with Dr. Neal at the back.

This isn't just a book about dying, going to heaven and all that encompasses that experience. This book wrestles with some of the meatiest theological questions: who is God? What is God and is it possible for people to relate to him? Dr. Neal won't "beat around the bush" or give you cliches; she spits out her honest experience and relates her applications without apology.

Purpose and meaning come into play as well for Dr. Neal. This book will definitely be added to the libraries of those who crave to know more about the hereafter.

This book was provided for review, at no cost, by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.

1 comment:

Luxembourg said...

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.