Saturday, June 23, 2012

To Heaven and Back... a book review

To Heaven and Back: The True Story of a Doctor's Extraordinary Walk with God

ISBN: 978-0-307-73171-5
Book Description:

Dr. Mary Neal was a devoted wife and mother of four children, a talented and successful orthopedic surgeon, and an experienced outdoor enthusiast, when the unthinkable happened on a vacation in 1999. Mary and friends were kayaking on the Fuy River in Chile, when her kayak became trapped under a waterfall. Despite her and her companions efforts to dislodge the boat, Mary lost consciousness and drowned before they could pull her body to shore.

During the time she lost consciousness and died, Mary experienced a taste of heaven that few in this world have known. She was led by heavenly beings and saints who had gone before. She saw and felt beauty and peace like she had never known, and approached the entrance to eternity. However, it was not time for her to enter, and she was sent back to the world.

To Heaven and Back is the story of Dr. Neal's spiritual journey, including the extraordinary account of that fateful day in Chile. She also chronicles her physical recovery, and the many miraculous events that accompanied her return to health. Her remarkable story is an inspiration and comfort to those needing reassurance of the presence and love of our incomparable God.  (

For me personally, this book is another insight to the magnificence of God.  For Dr. Mary Neal, this death experience was a life-changing event.  Her descriptions regarding her life before and after this accident shows that God works in His timing and in His way to direct and redirect our paths.

I love the fact that she is able to connect the dots between life events and see the fingerprints of God.  Nothing is a surprise to God; He knows that even through the pain of life circumstances we are being molded into the perfect image of His son, Jesus.  She has challenged me to stop and look back over my life and see God's fingerprints in my own story.

At times I felt disconnected to the author / book because her academic-side sometimes overtakes the heart message she is sharing - God is active in the lives of His children. 

Click HERE to watch of video of Dr. Mary Neal's interview on Fox News.

I received a complimentary copy of To Heaven and Back from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.




  1. I heard this was a great book! I will have to pick it up. I just got done reading a book that was written back in the late 1800 called "Mabel Clement" by J.M. Sellee. It was a awesome book. You can still find it on line if you would like to read or maybe in a library.

    1. Clint... I located this book online that you can download for free at:

      I'm bookmarking it to read! Thanks for the suggestion!

    2. Free download for Mabel Clement: A Young Lady contends for the Faith... not To Heaven and Back.

  2. This book is a thoughtful memoir and spiritual journey by a remarkable woman. The author's medical training and experiences served, not to distance herself from a seemingly incomprehensible God who makes people suffer, but to draw her and her family closer to God by seeing His work in their lives.

    Sometimes, I think it is much harder for people with a scientific turn of mind and training in the sciences and medicine to believe in God when all education is pretty much "it all happened by chance" and is indeed structured to teach that chance is the only reason things happen. Believe me, I went to school for 9 years after high school and all of that training was science and a lot was overlapping with the science that medical doctors study, because I studied biology, biochemistry and immunology. So I resonated with this book and Dr. Neal's journey--especially when she writes that "science and spirituality were assumed to be incompatible."

  3. I read this book when my grandmother died and I found it to be very moving and inspiring. I guess I picked it up because I was still morning my loss and the picture on the front of the book really grabbed and and filled me with hope.
    I really is a good read.
    I am your newest follower and hope you follow back.


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