I came to this book with my own beliefs in the after-life, and finished it with the belief that young Colton Burpo was indeed gifted with a near-death experience that allowed him to experience the spiritual world lying beyond this, the physical world.
My reservations about the book lay in the disingenuous disclaimers that the child’s perception of heaven was untouched by his parent’s religious beliefs. As Todd Burpo is a pastor, it’s unlikely that a four year old child – over a period of several years – would recount his spiritual experience in any way other than one which dovetails neatly with the Christian doctrine he is surrounded with on a daily basis.
Another point of interest was that Lynn Vincent, the author who assisted Todd Burpo in recounting his son’s experience of heaven, is also the author of right-wing American politician Sarah Palin's memoir.
If your spiritual belief lies in Scriptural Christianity, this story will touch you with its humour and the amiable view of a close community; Pastor Todd is clearly a gifted raconteur and excellently conveys the sense of comfort and joy one can gain from being part of a solid group of like-minded souls, especially in a crisis.
If, like me, your spiritual beliefs are more alternative, you may not be comfortable with some of the more emphatic statements young Colton uses to describe the mysteries of heaven he was blessed to have witnessed during his near-death experience.