(This review may contain spoilers).
As a Christian, the very first time I read this book, I was excited by it and engaged with it. Reading it again now, though….
The idea behind this book was an intriguing one. No one knows what heaven could be like and while it might be a fun concept to imagine, the chances are heaven in reality will fall thousands of miles short of even the most vivid of imaginations.
While the book was inherently quite powerful, with a strong message, I did think it came across as a bit preachy in parts. The concepts are fairly sound, but the Bible verses indicated by the passages don’t really say anything more than what’s already stated in the book. Certainly not in the kind of language a young person might want to read off their own back. It would be better if the book contained a bit more mystery; hinted at stories and parables in the Bible, rather than outright stating everything. After all, the point behind the book was to engage with people who aren’t Christian.
The idea of the three types of people being judged and two of them as Christians was well-written, even though the characters themselves seemed to just be mouthpieces. Rather than characters readers can identify with, they were just used to identify three types of people in the Bible.
I couldn’t really say this book would resonate with people who aren’t Christians and who don’t have any background in Christianity. The character who wasn’t a Christian was fairly stereotypical and there was really more of a sense of ‘deathbed confession’ about him. And all three of the characters decided to list ten points in the exact same way, instead of considering indicating those points in a more intriguing way. The points in bold really weren’t necessary, as they could have been emphasised in different ways.
I would say that this book might do better as part of a discussion/reading group. Maybe as part of an ALPHA course. The questions at the end of the book fit in well with that…but again, I would say it would appeal more to those already curious about the Christian faith.