Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Book Review: Almost Heaven
By Chris Fabry
Tyndale House, 2010
English, 400 pgs.
Billy Allman is a hillbilly genius. People in Dogwood, West Virginia, say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin but was cut short on social skills. Though he’d gladly give you the shirt off his back, they were right. Billy longs to use his life as an ode to God, a lyrical, beautiful bluegrass song played with a finely tuned heart. So with spare parts from a lifetime of collecting, he builds a radio station in his own home. People in town laugh. But Billy carries a brutal secret that keeps him from significance and purpose. Things always seem to go wrong for him.
However small his life seems, from a different perspective Billy’s song reaches far beyond the hills and hollers he calls home. Malachi is an angel sent to observe Billy. Though it is not his dream assignment, Malachi follows the man and begins to see the bigger picture of how each painful step Billy takes is a note added to a beautiful symphony that will forever change the lives of those who hear it.
I had to stick with this one. I was determined to read the whole book. I'm glad I stuck with it. It started a little slow and sad, but it turned into a beautiful story of a life well lived. Billy works through his life and his "issues" with an observer/protector angel watching over him. That it's a fictionalization of a real person makes the story that much more touching. There are touches of Peretti in the accounts of the angelic realm, but it doesn't go too much into that so I didn't mind it.
I received a copy of the book from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received.