Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hell has truer ring to it

Mary Feely

YANKS are falling over themselves to buy Heaven Is for Real, an account of a return trip to the hereafter by a child who fell seriously ill when he was three.

Now 11, Todd Burpo is sharing his observations of what he found in the great beyond: John the Baptist, a little sister who died, and Jesus with sparkly blue eyes.

The book has sold 1.5 million copies and tops the New York Times best-seller list for paperback non-fiction.

We all know that prophets come in all shapes and sizes, but let's consider the source of this happy-ever-after story.

Talk to 11-year-olds in this country, and half of them will tell you they're going to marry Jedward. (The others are going to marry Cheryl Cole.) Their astounded parents aren't rushing out to buy wedding outfits. If an 11-year-old returned from the shop short of change, but with a vivid account of an alien nicking the money, we'd still turn out her pockets for evidence of illicit chocolate bars. If another told us he'd saved an attempt on goal by Lionel Messi, we'd say: "That's nice, dear. Have you brushed your teeth?"

Still, this hit tome does point the way to a follow-up. Thinking back to those weeks snowed in with three less-than-angelic kids back in December, I'm sizing up the market for a book called Hell Is for Real.

Mary Feely

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