Proof of Heaven

( 14 )

Overview

A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family

He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to terms with his probable fate, but he does have one special wish. He wants...

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Overview

A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family

He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to terms with his probable fate, but he does have one special wish. He wants to meet his father who abandoned his beloved mother before Colm was born.

But the quest to find the dying boy’s missing parent soon becomes a powerful journey of emotional discovery—a test of belief and an anxious search for proof of heaven.

A magnificent debut novel, Mary Curran Hackett’s Proof of Heaven is a beautiful and unforgettable exploration of the power of love and the monumental questions of life, death, and the afterlife.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the center of Curran’s first novel is Colm Magee. Abandoned by his father before birth, much loved by Cathleen, his mother, Colm has a condition that eludes diagnosis: his heart stops beating without warning, and resuscitation is increasingly difficult. Medical science provides no answers until they come across Dr. Basu, who has lost a son of his own and who makes an immediate connection to Colm and Cathleen both. Dr. Basu pinpoints the diagnosis, one that provides no hope or treatment, and so Cathleen digs ever deeper into her religious convictions. But Colm, by the age of seven, has rejected the idea of God and heaven, a fact he doesn’t want to share with his mother. In Dr. Basu he finds a mind more like his own, though initially his mother’s not too sure. In Cathleen, Dr. Basu sees an example of “grief never ceasing to transform,” and indeed the focus on her struggle to reconcile faith and loss both overwhelms and undercuts an otherwise interesting premise that the author took from her own life. (Nov.)
New York Journal of Books
“A stirring and remarkable, life-affirming debut…Kudos to Hackett for presenting a real world, gritty yet soaring tale in which humans must make personal choices between hope and hopelessness...And rest assured that once you’ve finished...you may well look at life and its inevitable conclusion in a new way.”
Booklist
“Proof of Heaven is a remarkable first novel that explores the intersections of science and religion, medicine and faith….Reminiscent of Carol Cassella’s recent work, this is an emotionally fulfilling, spiritually inviting, thought-provoking novel.”
Shelley Shepard Gray
“Proof of Heaven belongs on any keeper shelf...beautifully written, mesmerizing and tragic, thought-provoking, and a reaffirmation of faith. The story of a mother’s love for her son was touching...it was the tale of one boy’s search for heaven that brought me to tears. I loved this book.”
Booklist
"Proof of Heaven is a remarkable first novel that explores the intersections of science and religion, medicine and faith….Reminiscent of Carol Cassella’s recent work, this is an emotionally fulfilling, spiritually inviting, thought-provoking novel."
New York Journal of Books
"A stirring and remarkable, life-affirming debut…Kudos to Hackett for presenting a real world, gritty yet soaring tale in which humans must make personal choices between hope and hopelessness...And rest assured that once you’ve finished...you may well look at life and its inevitable conclusion in a new way.
Shelley Shepard Gray
"Proof of Heaven belongs on any keeper shelf...beautifully written, mesmerizing and tragic, thought-provoking, and a reaffirmation of faith. The story of a mother’s love for her son was touching...it was the tale of one boy’s search for heaven that brought me to tears. I loved this book."
Library Journal
Seven-year-old Colm, who suffers from a disease that causes him to go into cardiac arrest, knows he is dying. His mother, a devout Christian, tries to find comfort in her faith, but Colm is not so sure that he even believes in God. But he has one wish—to find the father who abandoned him before he was born. VERDICT Colm's journey will move and charm readers who are also searching for answers to their own questions of faith. Hackett's lovely debut is a good choice for Melody Carlson devotees.
Kirkus Reviews
Does heaven exist? Are our loved ones waiting to reunite with us? Can near-death experiences offer proof? In Hackett's debut novel, everything hinges on an intriguing young boy, Colm, whose rare medical condition repeatedly causes him to die and return to life. Indeed, Colm physically manifests the dilemma each character in this novel faces: How can brain and heart, reason and faith, speak to each other? Except for Colm, the characters seem to have come from central casting. His mother, Cathleen, is a beautiful, self-sacrificing, long-suffering woman whose life revolves around her son. Lonely Cathleen carries on day after day in a dead-end job, worrying about her ill son, worrying about her brother (an alcoholic firefighter) and questioning whether science or God can heal her son. She has never recovered from being abandoned by Colm's father, Pierce, yet her persistent attention to Catholic ritual and unwavering attention to her son lead her to Dr. Basu. The last in a string of doctors, Gaspar Basu is, of course, the only doctor to take her son's condition seriously. Troubled by his own past, Gaspar is immediately attracted to Cathleen and concerned for Colm, because Gaspar feels responsible for his own son's death and his own wife's suicide. Cathleen and Colm offer Gaspar the chance to make amends with his past. Indeed, Colm's illness becomes the blessing in disguise that heals everyone around him...In the end, it is neither faith nor reason but love that saves everyone.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062079985
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 617,613
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Curran Hackett lives with her husband and children in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Child's Recurring Death Prompts Profound Life's Quests

    Mary Curran Hackett has written a novel that is utterly exceptional, And, it is relentlessly heart-wrenching in beauty. Through her ability to convey the troubles of womens' hearts, we understand how profoundly blessed and, yet, bereft we've been not to have known the mind of a child with recurrent dying episodes. If you are a mother who has experienced this heart-crushing thing, I can only shake my head and cry for you. This story is profound in the content, and it's moving in the story-telling. I loved the book and urge you to take the time to travel the road discovering eloquent, but sometimes simple answers to the deepest questions and wounds of our hearts. Is there proof of heaven? Colm Magee, like many children who live with life-threatening illnesses, has the mind and emotions far beyond his age. His mother, Cathleen, bears the larger burdens of feeling her child's pain/illness, helping him carry the unknown rejection of his abandoning father, and the consistent questions Colm has about "proof" of heaven. If you're a mother, you know exactly what bearing your child's pain means, so Ms Hackett digs deep in the telling... It's through their emotions that "Proof of Heaven" takes us along with these beautiful characters: learning how to cope (or trying to) with Colm's near death experiences and the aftermaths, learning to bridge love, losses and friendships with doctors, learning to "come home" to rejecting husband and lost family, and healing the hurts that come with all of that; then, ultimately having Colm's knowledge that only comes at the end of life. I was so moved, yet stricken with the magnitude of Ms Hackett's ability to express the feelings of her characters that I had to sit back and catch my breath. I cried and I was introspective. It was a wonder to me that this is her first book. This book is what I'm talking about when I ask, "Where are some authors taking us these days in their writing?" Here was where I found some goodness and truth about living and dying. Here is where you'll find some honesty and reality about life and souls reaching out for each other. I highly recommend this unforgettable novel to you. It's the other side of "Room"...it's the answer that some children and parents may have questions about. And, it's a story that will inspire you to think about the proof of heaven. At the end of her book, Mary Curran Hackett has a section kindly giving more answers with special dedications for her book, why she wrote it, an interview and a book group guide. I rarely take the time to go over these sections in other books, frankly. In this book...I took the time. You should, too. 5 heavenly stars

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Great book!

    This book is wonderful. I couldn't put it down. Gives great insight into life after death.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom's Choice Awards Recipient!

    Proof of Heaven is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2012

    enjoyable read

    This book was a very enjoyable read. I read this for a book club and it was better than I thought it would be since it isn't my usual genre of books I like to read. I wasn't crazy over the ending. It was very confusing and I wasn't exactly sure what actually happened at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    Proof of Heaven

    A down to earth vision of what heaven is. Well written and portrayed.

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Magnificent

    Reviewed By~Lisa
    Review Copy Provided By~Contest Win @BookTrib

    Cathleen Magee is a single mother with a strained relationship with her only sibling Sean. Cathleen’s only desire is for her son Colm Magee to live a healthy life and she believes her faith will save her son. Colm struggles not only with his disease but with the knowledge his father abandoned his mother before his birth. Sean questions his sister’s faith and his own ability to keep his personal demons in check. Dr. Basu, Colm’s doctor, doubts his ability to help Colm when his judgment begins waiver by his love for the boy and his mother.

    Mary Curran Hackett’s beautiful debut novel Proof of Heaven explores family, faith, love and death. She writes so eloquently about the frailty of the human condition. Each character has their own journey of self-discovery that leads them to this form this tight knit group. As the story begins to unfold and she peels back the layers of each character’s personality, there is one common trait, to belong to something that is bigger than one’s self. The characters are written with depth, richness and sensitivity. The relationship that develops between Colm and Dr. Basu is heartwarming and very touching. As the characters grapple with the seriousness of Colm’s illness, they each question their own faith.

    Proof of Heaven is a well-written and touching story that flows at a good pace. Elements of faith, love and hope as well as some plots twists make for an engaging read. It is thought provoking and honestly depicts the power of a mother’s love for her child. Lose yourself in Cathleen and Colm’s journey as they search for proof of heaven.

    **There is a section for author insight and extras at the back of the book for additional reading.

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

    A Mother's story of faith, hope and courage

    I received this book as an ARC and was very intrigued by the storyline. As a mom, this book was at times, very difficult to read. I can't imagine watching my child collapse time after time and struggle the way Colm did in this story and feel so helpless. The author was able to put into words those desparate feelings a mother has for her suffering child. Cathleen and Colm had such a unique relationship in this story due to her being a single parent and due to Colm's rare illness. I was fascinated by the lengths Cathleen went to help heal her son and wondered, if I was in that situation, would I do the same?


    Even though I was drawn in to the story, I wasn't rushing to finish it. I had an assumption of how it was likely to end and didn't want to get to that point of the story. This isn't the type of story to perk you up but it is one that will remind you of the love of your family, the wonder of life in heaven, and how important it is to have hope.

    This is Mary Curran Hacketts first novel. I enjoyed the author insights in the back of the book. The author used multiple personal experiences to write this story and it makes it all the more interesting to the reader.

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    Posted May 31, 2013

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    Posted February 9, 2013

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    Posted November 9, 2011

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    Posted May 18, 2013

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    Posted April 21, 2012

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    Posted July 7, 2013

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    Posted January 7, 2012

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