Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielsen

Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy by Stephanie Nielsen
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication date: April 2012
Pages: 320
Source: Library
For: Because I read her blog

When Stephanie Nielsen and her husband and friend were in a horrific plane crash, she had no idea just how much her life would change. But finding her way in life post-crash, while it has its ups and downs, has helped her focus on those small things, those beautiful details in life that she can cherish because she knows just how close she was to losing them.

Things I Liked:
What an absolutely riveting, amazing, powerful, heart-wrenching, hopeful, and every emotion in between story.  I have been a reader of NieNie Dialogues for a few years now, but I think I didn't start reading her blog until after her accident.  I remember some of the brave and amazing and overwhelmingly difficult things she talked about and I was completely blown away by all she didn't talk about (but which you can discover in this book).  Her experiences are amazing, but what really shines is her ability, with the help of God, her husband, children, family, and friends, to overcome the mountains of challenges she faces.  I think it can be enjoyed by those who are LDS (or Mormon) like me and those who are not, just as her blog is enjoyed by both.  I loved the evolution of how she views herself, especially in regards to physical appearance.  It is easy to say that appearance doesn't matter when we are pretty, but it is even harder after you've experienced being different than everyone else.  Just a wonderful story made all the more powerful because it is true.

Things I Didn't Like:
It was a bit hard for me to read about her experiences so soon after my nephew's passing, but it also brought some comfort, seeing her family gather around her and support her and hearing how she was able to overcome her challenges.  The writing is not great, but I think it makes up for that in honesty.  I highly recommend this one to anyone who is feeling sorry for themselves or needs a boost of morale to keep going in difficult times. 

Reminds me of books like Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and even The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
s-factor: none
(that I recall)

mrg-factor: X
some references to her relationship with her husband

v-factor: ->
not violence exactly, but the crash was pretty horrific and those parts can be disturbing

Overall rating: *****

How do you feel about inspirational memoirs?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I've been reluctant to read this. Even though I know her story...was afraid it might be a re-hash of her blog. But most readers whom I trust highly recommend it!

    1. It actually felt different from what she had on the blog - there was more story (or maybe I didn't read her blog that closely). Definitely give it a shot!

  2. I've heard nothing but amazing things about this. I don't read many memoirs, but I think I may read this, especially since I just got a copy for me birthday. I love this book in person. The cover is so pretty and seems fitting. Thanks for the review!

    1. I hope you get to the book, it really was quite good.

  3. I probably should read this, but haven't really wanted to. I think I'm afraid something really hard will happen to me too, and that reading it is preparation?

    1. Oh, great. Now I've read it in preparation and I'll be paranoid about it :)

  4. I've got this one, but haven't read it yet. I didn't read her blog either, so I've been wondering how the writing would be. Even if it's only so-so, I still plan to give this one a go at some point.

    1. Yeah, it's not great, but it's a step up from her blog (a big one). Worth reading, all the same!

  5. I'm so nervous to read this one! I think I'd end up being a blubbery baby for the majority of the read. Even just seeing them on videos and on their blog gets me teary. It's such a powerful story. A lovely, hard story, but so emotional. I can see why it would be difficult after your nephews passing. *hugs*

    1. Oh, yes. There is much blubbering that will happen, but there are some funny parts too. Definitely be prepared to bawl though :)


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