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Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy
by Stephanie Nielson
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Check out my review at: http://www.shannonsbookbag.blogspot.com/2012/05/heaven-is-here-nielson.html ( )
I've been reading Stephanie's blog for years, even before the crash, so I felt like I knew quite a bit about her life before and after the accident and I was pleasantly surprised that there was so much more in her book that I didn't know. I remember certain posts from her blog and to read Stephanie's description about how those events took place really opened my eyes to what she has gone through and the type of person she has to be to remain so strong. If you read her blog and like her then I think you'll appreciate this book, very inspiring!
It feels kinda rude to rate a person's life. So I won't.
Maybe I should take this stance on all bio/autobiographies?
I really don't know how anyone could fail to be inspired by Stephanie's story. Just be warned: have a box of Kleenex handy.
This book is split into three parts. The first takes place before the Nielsons' accident, the second starts after the accident, and the third starts after Stephanie comes home from the hospital.
The first part is important in terms of setting up the story, especially in terms of establishing the life that Stephanie had before her accident. However, that part of the story can also come off as a little annoying, since it's basically a recitation of how great her life was and how she more or less had everything that she had ever wanted (perfect husband, perfect cute house, lots of perfect children). I honestly found myself flipping forward in the book quite a few times while I was reading the first part.
As soon as the second part starts, the book becomes very compelling. Stephanie's struggle to come to grips with her accident, her road to recovery and her new body is heartbreaking, especially since every challenge that she faces seems to fracture into a dozen different challenges. (E.g., for months, her goal is to recover enough that she can leave the hospital and be home with her children. However, when she finally goes home, one of her daughters is so upset by her changed appearance that she won't look her in the eye, and her toddler sobs at night for his mommy because he thinks that Stephanie's sister, who has been taking care of him for six months, is is real mother.)
This is a compelling, well-written book and my standard rating for such a book would be 4/5 stars. (I reserve higher ratings for books I have read multiple times.) However, I found that I couldn't give it such a high rating, for reasons that I couldn't quite identify at first.
Here's what I finally decided: If you think that Stephanie Nielson's life was perfect before her accident, you will find this book very compelling and inspiring. If, however, you idealize a different sort of life, you may find this book frustrating. Although Stephanie overcomes great physical, mental, and emotional challenges in this story, she has a blind spot when it comes to understanding people with different values or perspectives and meeting them on their own terms, and that's not something that changes throughout this particular journey. So, while I enjoyed this book, it may not be for everyone.
A poignant and inspirational memoir that chronicles Stephanie Nielson's life before and after the horrific plane crash that changed her path forever.
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LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alum
Stephanie Nielson's book Heaven is Here was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)617.1 — Technology and Application of Knowledge Medicine and health Surgery, regional medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology, otology, audiology Injuries and wounds
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