Miracles from Heaven by Christy Beam is an interesting story. I had never heard about it before seeing a trailer advertising the movie starring Jennifer Garner and Martin Henderson, though I am now aware it is telling the true story of Annabel Beam. The book is about how she suffers from a debilitating digestive disorder with no cure and seemingly no hope, until she falls into a hollow tree.
I am not entirely sure about what to think with this book, given that it is supposed to be a true story. I say supposed to be here because I think the author had to reconstruct some dialogue and such, so things may not be exact. This includes the movie, which I know has a few differences from the book. I assume that they do that in order to make it appear on film better.
This story is, without a doubt, one of those feel good stories. Clearly this family is up against impossible odds, and yet certain things work out for them. I like the story itself and am glad I read it, although I think it could have been presented better. It does shift back and forth with regards to time and the order. I think that is a strength of the movie over the book, as the former is presented in chronological order.
I think the story’s biggest weakness is how it is presented in the book. As said, I think chronological order would have been better. In addition, I think taking time to get to when Annabel falls ill and then an extended period exhibiting the struggles of her illness would improve the quality of presentation. The book itself is quite short, but I think the family was going through this struggle for quite some time until the incident with the tree. Highlighting the buildup to that moment would have made the book even more powerful.
When it comes down to it, I think that this book has some quality lessons, although I would caution those who might be sensitive to religious topics, as the family in this book is quite religious. Their faith is in focus here, and although this kind of thing probably is not for everyone, I think there is still something people can learn!
I would definitely recommend reading this book. I would also recommend watching the film to supplement your understanding of the story. I actually found that the emotional reactions on film were a bit more powerful than reading about it, perhaps because the visual added a layer to the story.
If you do choose to read the book (or watch the film) I would love to hear your thoughts about it. Did you enjoy the story? Would you present the information in the book differently? Would you go the same route as me or a different one? The comment section at the bottom of this page is waiting for you!
Title: Miracles From Heaven
Author: Christy Beam
Publisher: Hatchette Books