We read this book for our book club. What a lot to talk about!! There are so many situations in Billy's life that if you don't relate to him on one level you surely will on another. We all agreed that this would make an incredibly good miniseries; there is just too much information to make it into a 2 hour movie. Very happy with this book!!
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Review 2 for Almost Heaven - eBook
Wonderful way to read a book!
Date:October 17, 2012
This is such a great way to read books and the ease of being able to 'carry' this around is well worth it.
When it comes to fiction, my reading preferences usually fall into the thriller genre, something fast-paced. Almost Heaven would not fall into that category. However, it does fall into another small category of mine: one of the best I've read.
Fabry has written a gem. Almost Heaven places its reader into the ”so real you can feel it” world of Billy Allman. Billy is a country boy from West Virginia. In the humdrum backwoods of nowhere, his entire life is tragic. We find tragedy in his family, in his friends, and in Billy himself. Unknown to Billy, there’s an angel, Malachi, who has been charged to watch over him. But as the story moves on, Malachi seems to be helped more by Billy than the opposite. Malachi and the reader both learn more about the thing Billy has most: faith.
The story traces Billy's life from his first tragic event as a nine year old, to a potentially deadly one when Billy is in his forties. And throughout, there's always the simple faith of a simple man shining into the darkness surrounding them all.
Fabry has done an excellent job in building the character of Billy. Before one gets very far into the story, Billy lives through those pages. I don't think I've connected with any character of any book as quickly and completely as I have with Billy. And the story surrounding Billy draws you in. You'll find yourself going through each emotion and pain with Billy. You'll also find yourself celebrating the victories.
This is easily one of the best works of Christian fiction published in the last few years. Fabry is a master at building characters full of life. The message he weaves into Almost Heaven is realistic and redemptive. You can’t go wrong reading this book. I highly recommend Almost Heaven to you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I love Chris Fabry's writing and I wasn't disappointed in his latest novel, Almost Heaven. A beautiful novel that interweaves June Bug and Dogwood enough to reward his loyal readers, while still remaining a standalone story. Like Fabry's earlier novels, Almost Heaven is peopled with common characters who are extraordinary in their actions. What I love about Fabry's characters is how they respond to things based on an inner strength that reminds us that the most unlikely people can be heroes; especially when they rely on their faith to get them through life. In fact, the characters in Almost Heaven don't have much, so in some ways they better understand how to rely on God. Almost Heaven is told from the points of view of an angel and the character, Billy, who has had an exceptionally difficult life from the time he was a kid. I loved the juxtaposition of the two views. Beautiful, beautiful story.
FIRST BOOK I'VE READ BY THIS AUTHOR, BUT I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. AUTHOR WROTE ABOUT STRUGGLES THAT COULD FACE ANY ONE AND MADE ANGELS REAL TO THE HUMAN BEING. CAN'T WAIT TO TRY OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR.
The book shows courage in face of constant trials.
Date:June 20, 2011
I have read and enjoyed ALMOST HEAVEN. The other three that I received with that order I have only looked at briefly, but plan to read later. ALMOST HEAVEN is outstanding and I said I would recommend it to my friends--but only a select group. In my view, to certain people, the book could be depressive.
Chris always make me think and consider the twists and turns of my own life ... and the precious grace of God in keeping power! His characters are the people you'd like to meet, sit and talk with, and learn from.
IF YOU ONLY READ ONE BOOK THIS YEAR , THIS IS THE ONE TO READ. IT WILL MAKE YOU CRY, BUT I KNOW I HAVE LEARNED A LOT FROM THIS BOOK, I PASS MY BOOKS I HAVE READ TO FAMILY . BUT THIS IS ONE I WILL KEEP AND READ AGAIN VICKIE
I have to say, Originally when I received the book in the mail, I was a bit weary about it. The story line seemed like it would be slower and perhaps not all that interesting. I have to say though, that in all honesty, this is one of THE best books I have read yet. Through the book we're seeing the life of the main character played out from two prospectives, his own, and the perspective of the angel charged with protecting him. The book is heart felt and has such a beautiful message. I think for some it may be a difficult read (It deals with some pretty hard situations) however there is such a strong and loving message that I really think its worth the read. I highly recommend this book, I don't think there are enough good things that I can say about it! I will definitely be looking for more books by this author!
Wonderful book, draws you into an emotional story.
Date:February 1, 2011
I really loved this book. Mr. Fabry is a wonderful story teller, it is one of those books you just don't want to put down and are pulled into Billy's life. Mr. Fabry uses the guardian angel in a very unique way in the writing of the book, there are alternating chapters written from Billy's perspective and also from the angel's. I would totally recommend this book, it is wonderful work of fiction. I am also very interested in reading Mr. Fabry's other books, now that I know the engaging stories he is capable of writing.
“Almost Heaven” is the story of Billy Allman. The story follows Billy from a young boy who witnesses the destruction of his small town in the hills of West Virginia by devastating flood waters, to a semi-reclusive adult who tries to maintain his struggling small town radio station while dealing with unpredictable and at times the seemingly insurmountable obstacles laid in his path by sinister and impish demonic forces (unseen by Billy, but who were under the watchful eye of Billy’s guardian angel, Malachi). The demons were relentless in trying to tear apart Billy’s faith … and they tried to do this by destroying everyone and everything that Billy loved. And they succeeded. In tormenting the lives of those Billy cared about, but not at destroying his faith.
Billy’s relationship with God is about as real as it gets. And Chris Fabry in “Almost Heaven” is able to masterfully weave together the story of this man’s life. Sometimes in heart-wrenching detail. The story of a man who truly tried to “honor God, with every decision he made.”
The first couple of chapters of the book were hard for me to read. The emotion Mr. Fabry is able to reveal through his writing is truly remarkable. Keep your Kleenex handy. Trying to read through some of the chapters may have you in tears because it is so easy to relate to what the main characters and especially Billy are going through.
That being said, I was able to read this book in less than a week. It was impossible to put down. You’re drawn in at the very first page and compelled to continue reading, anxious to find out what happens next.
“Almost Heaven” is a very inspirational and thought provoking novel. When you turn the last page, you don’t feel like you just read a book, but that instead you were given the privilege of witnessing and sharing in the life journey of Billy Allman. And you’re now sad that it ended.
ALMOST HEAVEN by Chris Fabry is an inspirational general fiction2006 West Virgina. It is well written with detail and depth. It has redemption, forgiveness, shows how God uses everyday broken people to accomplish his purpose, hardships, failure, disappointment and is heartwarming. The hero, Billy chooses to honor God through his music,although, he faces many hardships and isolation. He believes everything he does turns into failure. The characters in this book are complex, real, and well developed. This is a heartwarming story of the life of one man and how he lives to honor God even through difficult times, failure and disappointment. This is an inspirational story from beginning to end and shows how God is in everything we do and how we act. If you enjoy inspiration, heartwarming, difficult times stories you will enjoy this one. This book was received for review from Tyndale and details can be found at Tyndale and My Book Addiction and More
This is the first book I have read by Chris Fabry but it definitely will not be my last. “Almost Heaven” is set in Dogwood, West Virginia. Billy Allman is the son of a miner who has a dream of having his own radio station, a little unusual for a young boy. Billy is faced with many trials but he always clings to God and the knowledge that if you trust in Him, He will get you through this. Billy believes he is called to get the word and music of the Lord out to the people of Dogwood, the people living in the holler.
Billy amazes people by his ability to take junk and make it work, but music is his dream, and boy can he play his father’s mandolin, he almost becomes a part of it when playing. His high school teacher introduces him to the right person who happens to be in a Bluegrass band. The band loves him and this gives Billy the opportunity to play and make a little money on the side. This opportunity has its benefits but it also has its drawbacks. Things happen that will change Billy’s life forever, but is it a good change? Does Billy ever start his radio station? How about Malachi, Billy’s angel what is his role in this story? The answers to all these questions and many more can be found in this wonderful novel by Chris Fabry.
MY THOUGHTS: Amazing; at first I was not sure about the angel input, but Chris does a wonderful job of putting it all together, and it flows so smoothly. I laughed and cried right along with the characters. This book reminds you how God can use ordinary or less fortunate people for His glory! Chris does a wonderful job of making you feel like you are right there with them. I cannot wait to read “Dogwood” and “Junebug.” I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
This was a great book. I read it in three evenings, staying up way to late, because I couldn’t put it down. Chris Fabry has a gift for painting with words. There were many times throughout the book when I was just deeply impressed by his ability to describe and inform in a truly amazing way.
I'm a lover of fiction books, most fiction books. This book took fiction to a whole new level for me. Mixed with a bit of truth, this story grabbed me from the very beginning and had wanting to know what happened next. At first, I was a little confused as to who was doing the 'talking' because it jumped from the main character's perspective to the angel Malachi's perspective, but my confusion was quickly cleared up.
I soon found myself immersed in Billy's life, and began thinking of him as a real live person rather than a character on paper. The events that shaped his life are so life-like I could see it unfolding vividly before me. At times I found I was angry at what seemed to be his stubbornness and at other times I praised his humility and heroics. Though his life, at times, was tragic, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel.
One of the things I liked most about this book was that parts of it were written in the perspective of the angel who was assigned to watch over Billy. It was a fresh new take on guardian angels and the battle of good and evil with the main elements of Truth included. There are lessons that can be taken from this fictional story and applied to everyday life for all of us!
I enjoyed this book so much, I literally couldn't put it down and read it cover to cover in less than two days. (A major feat for this mother of four!) It is a must read for book lovers of any age-- I wouldn't hesitate to let my twelve year old read it!
Disclosure: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".
I was immediately drawn to this book because it takes place in West Virginia. Chris Fabry is a new to me author that captures the voice and flavor of our region beautifully. He writes his characters in such a way that you feel like you know them, people you would invite on your porch to sit a spell. In Almost Heaven he tells the story of Billy Allman, a man from the town of Dogwood WV.
Billy's big dream was to run a radio station, and with hard work and the help of God he accomplishes just that. He builds a radio station in his home. Things never went smoothly for Billy, with his share of heartache and tragedy, but with what I would call a child like faith he never lets life get him down and he never loses faith in God. There is also another side to this story, the story that is told by the guardian angel Malachi, who is sent to protect Billy throughout his life.
This is a story that will make you laugh and cry, you will also experience the power of God's love throughout this book. The author does an amazing job of taking an ordinary persons life and turning it into an extraordinary story of how everyone matters, how God will take the most humble, often ignored of his followers and do amazing things with their life.
I really enjoyed reading this story, I feel like my life is richer for having read it, I now feel compelled to read the other works by this talented author.
Thanks to the publisher and Glass Roads PR. for providing me a copy for review.
Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry is a moving follow-up to his Southern novel June-Bug. Billy Allman has faced too much tragedy for one man to face: a flood that destroyed his home, his father's suicide, the one girl he loved married someone else, he has diabetes, and taking care of his mother through terrible dementia. But through it all, Billy never let go of his staunch faith in God, so when he feels like the Lord is calling him to build a radio station to play gospel bluegrass for his tiny West Virginia mountain town, he follows his heart. Malachi, an angel, has been assigned by God to watch over Billy's life and protect him from the forces of evil lined up against him, but Malachi comes to wonder about God's plan and where He is in tragedy. Fans of June-Bug will be thrilled to see the reappearance of characters from that novel. There are writers and there are storytellers; Fabry is a storyteller. His characters are quirky but very real, and their faith is inspiring. But the stories, even when they are about a small town mountain man who isn't a stereotypical hero, soar with an epic feel. Billy's story is ordinary, you probably know someone like him, but seeing it through the eyes of an angel, and then reading how he changed people's lives through his simple faith and love is truly inspiring. Fabry has a message for his readers that each and every one of them can impact lives by the way they live, and that we never know just what God's plan for someone may be.
WOW! This book took my on an emotional roller-coaster ride that left me feeling breathless and totally satisfied. I found myself at times laughing, crying, and scared out of my wits. This is far from your average Christian fiction book, and has left a definite impression on me. An impression that I will not forget in a long, long time.
Billy Allman is the perfect example of God's purpose. Billy shouldn't have been around, but he had a purpose in life. God needed him. We don't always see things when they happen, and question why they happen, but as life goes on and you look back, you really do see how things all fell into place. Billy's story proves this.
This is one book that needs to be read. If you have ever questioned your purpose for being here, why things happen, or wonder what the bigger picture is, this book is for you. If you just want to read a fantastic and heartbreaking, yet heart-tugging story, this book is for you. If you want to be inspired, this book is for you. It's a book that really and truly can make you feel that there is a real reason we are all here.
According to Chris Fabry's website this book, Almost Heaven, is the third installment in his Dogwood, West Virginia series. I can tell you though that I didn't know that when I received this book nor have I read any of his others. Sadly I had never heard of Chris Fabry until now and boy am I glad I do! WOW! He is a stupendous writer.
His style in this particular book is almost journal like and draws you in to feel as you are taking part of Billy's life with him. That is the idea the main character would like you to know while reading this book. He is jotting down his life and wants you to understand and be apart of it. Billy Allman is a fantastic character. His love and devotion to his Mama and Daddy are like nothing else. His love for his father's mandolin. Oh let me tell you what reading the pages where he talks about playing for the first time in front of his classmates... Oh it's beautiful. You feel as if you are seating right there in the front row right next to Heather and the cords are floating right off the page. His life is filled with strife and bits of everyday ordinary, but his heart is one that inspires deeply even through all the strife. His polite demeanor and down to earth self draws you in from the start. He is humble and like I said ordinary but honestly that is the beautiful part. Even though it appears that his life is less than desirable it is so quite the opposite. He is phenomenal! He also has been given a "guardian angel" of sorts that was "assigned" to watch over him, Malachi.
Malachi is one of a kind and listening to him speak is... transcending! His role in here and the transformation he himself takes is simply beautiful.
One huge part about this book regarding Malachi that I loved so much, other than his beautiful way with words and insight, was that Chris chose to use a different font when Malachi is speaking. I love that! For me, as the reader, not only could you tell between which character you were following in each chapter... due to the voice of the character, but the change of font at the same time (for me) gave it that extra personal touch to the character. If that makes sense. I thought it was a beautiful touch.
This book is heartwarming, tragic, and everything in between. It is a glorious showing of God's love and grace. How he chooses to work through the lives of those that aren't flashy and extravagant all the time. He uses us "small" people to do such great big things. Chris portrays to the reader that it doesn't matter whether you are a "hillbilly genius" you too can make a huge impact on the world.
There were so many amazing lines throughout this book. I felt like I could very easily have read through here with a highlighter in my hands desperately highlighting all the wonderful parts I want to remember and apply to my own life. Such wonderful encouragement and words I will never forget. One line though that really resonated with me was early in the book. Chapter 4 and this scene is between Billy and his Mama.
"I think God has something special in mind for you. I don't know what it is. I don't know where he's going to lead you, but I know God is going to work in you and through you." (Billy then asks her) "What makes you so sure?" (To which she replies my favorite lines...) "Because I don't think God trusts just anybody with so much heartache. The world has not yet seen what God can do with a man who gives both halves of a broken heart to him. And I don't doubt that a man like that can change the world... or at least a little part of it."
Isn't that amazing and so wonderfully thought provoking!? I love how challenging this book is on a personal level. It was an absolutely wonderful read!! If I had to rate this book it would be without a doubt be a 5 out of 5 stars! I highly, highly recommend this book!
I loved this book! It's about Billy, who has seen more than his share of heartache. It's about how faith can bring you through anything. It's about not giving up on your dreams no matter how many obstacles you face. It's about not listening to others, but listening to your inner self and what you believe in, and mostly be steadfast in your faith.
The ending will make you hungry for more. I would recommend this book to anyone.