The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, A Book Review

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Book Reviews

boy who came back from heaven

(please make sure you read this update)

The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life Beyond this World is written by Kevin and Alex Malarkey.

At the bottom of the front cover are the words A True Story. The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven recounts the story of six-year-old Alex Malarkey who was seriously injured in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed.  While in a coma, Alex was taken to heaven and given the grand tour. He returned to earth and reentered his body so he could later share with all of us what he saw and heard. The book also records post-coma trips to heaven by Alex and even includes an angel appearance to Alex’s father Kevin Malarkey.

I almost stopped reading the book after reading the Introduction. Kevin Malarkey, an Evangelical Christian therapist in Columbus Ohio wrote:

I’m not here to beat a drum, convince you of a theological argument, or force you to validate Alex’s experiences. But I humbly offer a challenge: suspend your judgment for just a few chapters. I think your life may be changed forever.

If Alex’s story is a TRUE story then why do I need to suspend my judgment? Should not the truth of the story be clear to all who read it?

According to Kevin Malarkey:

Heaven is real. There is an unseen world at work—an intensely  active spiritual realm right here on earth, all around us. And much of this activity keeps us from focusing on our future destination, the place where we will spend eternity. Alex has been there….

The only thing The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven actually proves is that some people believe there is a heaven. Alex’s story “might” be true, but there is not one shred of evidence in the book to prove such a claim. In other words, we have to accept at face value the words of six-year-old (or 11-year-old by the time the book is written) Alex Malarkey; that what he shares is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

The story begins with Kevin and Alex Malarkey involved in a horrific automobile accident. Kevin, while talking on his cellphone, turned in front of an automobile coming in the opposite direction. The driver of the other car was a woman with two young children. Alex was injured far worse than anyone else. The accident left him paralyzed and in a coma for 2 months.

At the accident scene unconscious Alex saw:

  • Five angels carrying his father outside the car. Four were carrying the body and one angel was supporting his head and neck. (the police report said Kevin Malarkey was ejected from the automobile)
  • The devil sitting in the front seat of the automobile accusing Alex of causing the accident.

While in a coma, Alex was taken to heaven. According to the book, here is what Alex experienced and saw:

  • His father was in heaven too, but only for a short time.
  • Alex saw the five angels that carried his father’s body outside the automobile. The five angels stayed with Alex so his father could have time alone with God. His father prayed to God to let him trade places with Alex but God told him no. God sent his father’s spirit back to earth and Alex remained in heaven. God told him that he would heal him later on earth to bring more glory to His (God’s) name.
  • While in the emergency room, Alex watched everything that was going on from the ceiling. Jesus was standing right there beside him. Alex felt safe and he was not afraid to die.
  • While in the emergency room, Alex saw 150 pure, white angels with fantastic wings who were all calling his name. After awhile they said “Alex Go back.”  Alex did go back and Jesus came with him and held him  during his time in the emergency room.
  • Alex found himself in the presence of God. God had a human-like body but a lot bigger. Alex was only allowed to see God from the neck down because the Bible says anyone who looks on the face of God dies.
  • There is an inner heaven and an outer heaven. The outer heaven has a hole that leads to hell.
  • There  are lots of colorful, beautiful things to see and beautiful music too.
  • Heaven is a lot like earth but it is perfect in every detail.
  • Angels  are white, have wings, and are sexless.
  • Some angels are short, 2 feet tall, and others are much taller.
  • There are different types of angels with different jobs to do.
  • There are lots of buildings in heaven but Alex only really noticed the Temple. God never leaves his throne in the Temple. There is a scroll in a glass container that only Jesus can read.

After Alex came out of  a coma he continued to see not of this world beings. Angels were present in Alex’s hospital room.The angels helped and talked to Alex and he talked back to them.

One day, Alex told his father that he had something important to tell him. He wanted to make sure his father would not be sad after hearing what Alex had to say. Alex said:

There are two days I look forward to more than any others in my life. The first is the day I die. You see, I can’t wait to get home. It’s not that I want to die right now; I’m not sad…. The second is the day when the devil goes to the Lake of Fire. I can’t wait for him to be gone for good.

According to Alex, demons and evil spirits came to visit him. He is thankful that his father taught him how to pray and how to take authority over the demons.

Alex had this to say about the devil, demons, and evil spirits:

  • They are evil, scary, and ugly.
  • They accused Alex of things, bringing him doubt, making him feel sad, telling him he will never be healed and that God won’t protect him.
  • The devil has three heads and all three heads have hair of fire. (is the devil a redhead?)  Each of the heads speak different lies at the same time.
  • The devil has beaming red eyes with flames for pupils.  His nose is nasty and torn up.
  • The devil speaks English to Alex. His voice is screechy like a witch and changes into different sounds.
  • The devil’s mouth is funny looking with only a few moldy teeth.
  • The devil’s body has a human form but has no flesh.
  • The devil wears a torn and dirty robe.
  • The devil personally appeared to Alex. Sometimes the devil came along with evil spirits but other times he came alone.
  • Demons are often green and have hair made of fire. Their skin and robes are just like the devil’s. Their eyes are like the devil’s and they have long fingernails.

According to Alex, demons walk around telling lies. In Frank Peretti style, Alex says that there is a spiritual war going on—angels against demons.

Towards the end of the book Kevin Malarkey lets readers know that Alex has continued to take periodic trips to heaven. Readers are also told that Kevin himself had an experience where an angel named John appeared to him.

The angel John gave Kevin  a message:

I have anointed you with a message of hope…for the church….for the body of Christ…and for those who will be the body…..that He will be raised up and seen in His true glory…This is the word of the Lord given to you by the angel John.

Speak of Me, for Me, and about Me. Use Alex to show who I am. I have chosen him as a screen upon which to show myself. (a precursor of the book being made into a movie?) I am unity, the Trinity, a complete circle. Your story  will lead to praise and worship, there will be altar calls. Your bills are the least of my worries. I will be with you all the days of your life. I will speak to you, I will guide you, I am in you. I am about you, you be about me. My love is unconditional. My vengeance is restricted for the holy. My apostles died for Me, will you die for Me? I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.

Most of the book is Kevin Malarkey’s explanation of Alex’s trips to heaven and how God is using them to reach other people. One chapter is devoted to the things that Alex knew about while he was in a coma. To many people, this is proof above all proof. Alex talked of things that were not possible for him to know.

The story is what it is. Either you believe it or you don’t. Just like the book Heaven is for Real, you have the story of a young child being taken to heaven. Both boys waited for years before their story was put to print. Both stories show clear signs of being shaped by adult human hands. (whether by parents or book editors)

I have no doubt that the Malarkey family believes what is written here. Like many Christians, they are desperate to know  their lives matter and that when death comes there is a new life that awaits beyond the grave.

As a non-believer, the story said little that I would consider proof of the existence of the Christian God, the devil, heaven, hell, or  life after death. I found The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven to be the story of a mythical God  who paralyzed a young child  in an automobile accident so he could get some sort of perverse praise and glory. With all the suffering, sickness, disease, and death, in the world it seems to me that God has done very little that is worthy of praise and glory.

My conclusion? Kevin Malarkey asked me to suspend my judgment as I read the book. I could not do so. I found the book to be, from a Christian perspective, heretical. From a non-Christian perspective, I found the book to be laughable, another sorry attempt to sell the public the Christian myth of heaven, hell, and life after death.

Series Navigation<< The Sound of A Wild Snail Eating, A Book ReviewHeaven is for Real, A Book Review >>

Comments (17)

  1. Casey

    Does anyone else find it somehow fitting that this family’s last name is Malarkey?

    1. przxqgl


  2. Daniel Wilcox

    Thanks for posting this detailed review. Having encountered such fantastical stories by Christians in the past, I didn’t plan to read this one, but your good objective review helps us to see how ludicrous these Christian claims still are.

    It is rather amazing that a little kid of 6 had so ingested much of the imagery of angels and demons from Revelation and popular Christianity that he experienced such a “vision” while in a coma. But I remember when I was about 4 or 5 running crying into my parents’ bedroom, horrified by a terrorizing nightmare that I had been cast into Hell.

  3. liza

    So what you are saying is that the book is a bunch of “Malarkey”?! LOL

    What an unfortunate/fortunate coincidence that the author’s name is at least truth in advertising.

  4. mikespeir

    Malarkey! A lot of it.

  5. david buckley

    “Malarkey”; meaningless nonsense.
    i would like to know what drugs were administered when the child went to the

  6. Steve

    You are so mean!!! A sweet little boy wrote a nice book! So what if it’s fiction, lmao!!

    And yes, I saw their last name & thought: “wtf?? Is that a gag??!!” Lmao!!

  7. brbr2424

    I thought this was a Wonkette style review, with the name Malarkay being part of the joke. Too bad for the Malarkays, this book that was just released is still being outsold almost 1000 to 1 on Amazon by Burpo’s book.

  8. MichaelL65

    I am more concerned that the idiot father almost killed several people talking on his cell phone. I also agree that from a Christian perspective, this is complete heresy. However, I am sure the faithful will buy this in droves.

  9. Fred

    You have no idea what an NDE is.
    You have no medical knowledge nor any consensus of the working of the brain.
    There are thousands of patients who experience NDEs everyday and during the experience, their EEG waves are flat which means their brain activity is zero.This implies that the mind may exist outside the brain.The materialistic universe that you have in mind is an illusion, clearly proven by quantum mechanics.Christianity may not be true but the existence of a Creator is a must for something to come out of nothing.Evolution is nothing more than a himalayan belief in chance inspite of the collosal odds opposing it i.e. a belief system that requires more faith than Christianity.Think about the origin of the universe and life and how it necessitates a Creator.It might be time for you to experience your own NDE!

    1. mikespeir

      Well, gee, that about covers it. Looks like we’re wrong about ‘most everything. ;-)

      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        I wanted to say, I am a doctor..I know what an asshole is :)

    2. Becky Wiren

      Gee, I believe in God, but that doesn’t mean there is any literal proof. Plus, you dissing other people’s beliefs doesn’t make you right. It makes you self righteous.

  10. FlowerChild

    My husband was hospitalized numerous times as a very young child, due to various medical issues. He still remembers having visions of “demons” and monsters, and loopy out of body experiences. For years as a kid he had awful nightmares, long after his surgeries were a distant memory.

    What a sensible adult would do, (and my in-laws, though quite fundy themselves, nonetheless do possess some common sense) is what his parents did: explain that anesthesia, and pain meds can make your brain chemicals act funny, and make you see things. My husband also concluded that his subsequent nightmares were probably a degree of PTSD from being left alone in the operating room with robed strangers when he was too young to understand why he needed surgery.

    It is sad that these parents would encourage their poor kid’s hallucinations at such a vulnerable age. I hope he doesn’t grow into a delusional nut. The charismatic ones tend to turn into cult leaders. :-/

  11. JayAsics

    You have to do more research, these aren’t Alex’s words, they are his father’s. Alex’s mom, Beth, has tried to proclaim the deceitfulness of the book but unfortunately people like a clean narrative. I’m all for warning people about books like this but continuing to say things like “According to Alex” is simply untrue. Here’s a start:

    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I know this, I just haven’t got the info up yet. :) Beth contacted me last week and I plan to write an update.

      Thank you for commenting.


  12. Davewarnock

    I guess stories about little boys going to hell and coming back wouldn’t sell as well. The movie would probably be more interesting- special effects and all…


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>