Yesterday I found out that Alex Malarkey (heck of a last name) has issued a statement that his memoir, The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, is completely made up. As a young boy, Alex was in a devastating car crash with his father and is paralyzed to this day. Now, as a sixteen-year-old, he admits that his story about visiting heaven and meeting Jesus during his time in a coma is fictitious. The coma and accident were real, just not the journey.
This does not come as a total shock, but I'm a bit disappointed because I read Alex's book and while I did find it hard to believe, it was certainly spiritually uplifting. If nothing else, I felt it to be the story of a boy whose faith strengthened his family during a horrific time.
But now Alex says guilt has driven him to make this new message heard. He fabricated his lies because he wanted attention and boy did he get it. The book is a bestseller, but the Christian publisher who put it out is pulling it now that the truth is public. The waters are a little murky as to how long they have known about Alex's change of heart. His mother says the family has been trying to tell people for years that the book is not what it seems.
The Malarkey family still has faith and Alex was brave to set the record straight. In his public statement, he urges people to read the Bible and trust in it rather than seeking proof from stories like his. Some will see this new development in his story as evidence that God and Heaven are not real, but neither the book nor its subsequent exposure as fiction should have an effect on anyone who truly has faith.
If I tell everyone I saw an albino deer in my yard and later admit I made it up, that doesn't mean albino deer don't exist.
Upon looking back at my previous review of this book, which you can read here, I was pretty skeptical at the time. I think my original feelings about the book were mostly driven by the fact that Alex was so young and so many people were swallowing his story wholesale. Turns out I have pretty good sense sometimes.