Heaven is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy
Category: nonfiction, memoir, burns/recovery, Christian
Synopsis: Badly burned with her husband in an airplane crash, Nielson heals and rebuilds her life.
Date finished: 9 April 2013
Comments: While I was reading this book, a friend asked me what it was about. When I told her, she said she couldn’t read that, she needed a more uplifting book. I assured her that it was uplifting. And that’s almost the extent to which I can comment on this book. It’s not flashy, no purple prose or angst-filled soliloquies, just honest emotions, struggles, and joys. She didn’t go into much detail about what healing entailed, and at times I was fuzzy on exactly what hurt and why, but that may have been for the best. The physical disabilities and wounds weren’t what interested me.
The psychological wounds, the trauma of having your life and abilities changed, and especially the hurdle of getting over the physical changes to her face and body, that’s what made me think. Even though we tell our children, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” that’s a hard truth to remember when faced with facial scars, skin grafts, and gawking onlookers. I’d bought the book because it was so highly reviewed on Amazon. And then I let it sit on my shelf for months. I wasn’t sure if this was a journey I really wanted to go on. But I picked it up last week and opened to a page at random, and it happened to be the part where hospital staff is urging her to look at herself in the mirror for the first time. That really got my attention, and I wanted to know how she’d react to what she saw.
The simple writing made it easy to put myself in her shoes, and the part that was most heartrending was when her sisters decided it was time for her children to see her. It would seem that they’d not prepared the children well for what they would see, and they sprung it on Nielsen. It didn’t go well. I felt such empathy for Nielsen. I was angry, hurt, and disappointed, too.
All in all, this was a nice, honest book about a life-changing accident and its recovery. There was a pleasant Christian (Mormon) overtone that seemed natural, not preachy or overwrought. I enjoyed this read more than I thought I would.
Would you recommend this to a friend?