To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD is about an orthopedic doctor who drowned while on a kayaking trip in Chile. The book spends little time of her journey into Heaven but does give enough of her time there throughout the book.
The book is dedicated to God: "I dedicate this book to God: You gave me life And I live for your glory."
Mary Neal's book talks a lot about her life to become a doctor, her family life, her religious life, the divorce of her parents, loss of family members, her death and return to life. The book is a fast read, I read it in one day while taking some breaks, and emotional. I could feel her emotions as she wrote the book and her encounters in life and death.
I liked this book but as some have reviewed, I did not care for the politics of Kerry and Obama at the end of the book, but since this was her book, I guess she could write whatever she wanted.
For those who doubt that people return from a near death experience, this is a book for them to read. A few days before I lost my mother, I was in the hospital with her. She told us she had gone into a tunnel, never saw the light and was at peace and did not hurt. I said I was glad she came back. I had to fly back home for some knee surgery and told her I would be back in a couple of weeks, we lived in different states, when she had surgery on her leg. As a diabetic she was about to lose her leg. She died while they were checking her out of the hospital the next day; I think God did not want her to go through surgery at her age, 89.
Mary's husband, Bill, is with her the whole time as she heals from the experience in Chile. In the book, Mary Neal said her husband is the glue that holds things together.
I will say, I thought she should have been in a hospital instead of a hotel after the accident and also should have taken a medical flight back to the United States. (The reader will see what I mean when they read the book.)
I will give a little commercial here: anyone traveling, especially out of the country, should take out insurance. As a travel professional, I have seen too many people lose a trip and injured people have the expense of returning home.
The author uses a lot of biblical quotes in To Heaven and Back. She also has the poem "Footprints in the Sand" by Carolyn Joyce Carty ( the Internet has another author, Mary Stevenson, I have seen anonymous many times and her version is different than the poem in this book.)
I will write the one in the book because it is always a special poem and I believe it relates to all of us.
Footprints in the Sand
One night a man had a dream
He dreamed he was walking along a beach with the Lord
Scenes from his life flashed across the sky
And he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to him and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life had flashed before him,
He recalled that at the lowest and saddest times of his life
There was only one set of footprints.
Dismayed, he asked, "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
I don't understand why, when I needed you most,
You would leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious child.
I love you and would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
When you saw only one set of footprints...
That was when I carried you."
There are some family pictures in the book that helps the reader connect with the family, always a nice feature.
I give this book a four star. I received a complimentary copy of To Heaven and Back to review. The opinions are my own. I wish to thank the author for such a look into her and her families life.