Almost Heaven

Almost Heaven

by Chris Fabry


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From the bestselling author of War Room comes a gripping novel that was awarded both an ECPA Christian Book Award for fiction and a 2011 Christy Award!
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414319575
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2010
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 715,393
Product dimensions: 6.96(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.93(d)

Read an Excerpt

Almost Heaven

By Chris Fabry

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Chris Fabry
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4143-1957-5

Chapter One

I suppose you can sum up a man's life with a few words. That's what the newspaper tries to do with an obituary. And it's what that reporter will try to do in her article. "Billy Allman ... resident of Dogwood ... lifelong dream to build a radio station ..." She'll do a fine job, I'm sure. She seemed kindhearted and the type that will get her facts straight, but I know there will be a lot of my life that will fall through the cracks.

I believe every life has hidden songs that hang by twin threads of music and memory. I believe in the songs that have never been played for another soul. I believe they run between the rocks and along the creekbeds of our lives. These are songs that cannot be heard by anything but the soul. They sometimes run dry or spill over the banks until we find ourselves wading through them.

My life has been filled with my share of dirges and plainsongs. I would sing jaunty melodies of cotton candy and ice cream if I could, a top-40 three-minute-and-twenty-second tune, but the songs that have been given to me are played in A minor and are plagued with pauses and riffs that have no clear resolution. I ache for some major chord, a tonal shift that brings musical contentment. I do not know if I will find that.

Throughout my life I have dedicated myself to God. I told him early on that I would go anywhere and do anything he wanted. No holding back. But as time slipped and the conversation has become more one-sided, that plan has appeared haphazard at best. God has seemed massively indifferent to my devotion, if he has even heard my cries.

I suppose I need to put this story down in an ordered fashion to make sense of the silence and to fill in the missing places of my own. Or perhaps I will be able to convince the people who know me as a hermit that there was some reason for the pain. Our lives are judged by a few snapshots taken at vulnerable moments, and I have decided to set my hand to recording the flashes I can recall, the ones revealing my motivations. The look on that reporter's face as I showed her the disparate parts of my life made me want to put this down in my own words. But this is not really for those outside looking in. This is for me.

* * *

One of the neighbors described the morning of February 26, 1972, as a cold stillness. I woke up at the first sign of the overcast light. It was my tenth birthday, and as children will do, I did not want sleep to steal any of the good apportioned to me that day. I had invited three boys from my class to the first and last party my parents would ever offer. After that day, Mama never wanted to celebrate a thing, I guess. She had baked a cake the night before and I wanted a piece so bad I could taste it. I can still smell the cherry icing if I close my eyes and think hard enough.

I flipped on the TV to watch the only channel we got in the hollow. Too early for Johnny Quest or Scooby Doo, my favorites. It was some preacher talking about a prophecy of sudden destruction and how it would come like a thief in the night, like a woman's labor pains. We should be prepared. We should cry out to God now before that destruction came.

At ten, I hadn't committed many mortal sins, so there wasn't much reason for me to think that his message had bearing on my life. But after the fact I wondered if what happened was because I was too prideful or had asked for too many presents. Children will do that-make everything about them, as if some decision they make will change the course of history. If I had prayed right then and there, would things have been different? If I had cried out to God for mercy, would he have changed the course of Buffalo Creek?

I turned off the TV and went to the front window, where the beads of water streaked the awkwardly cut glass and drifted down to the softening wood that tried to hold it all together. In the wintertime the wind whistled through those panes and ice formed on the inside so thick you could scrape your name. Now the water soaked the window through, and streams flowed down the dirt driveway to the road, washing the mud across it. The sight of that misty morning ran cold through me. It was as if the leaves had known better. They had escaped and left the trees looking like sticks on the silent hillside.

Daddy had left the house in the evening to check on the creek because it was up to the top of its banks. He came back to tell us a bunch of people had already gone to the high school because they thought the dam was going to break. The fellow from the coal company had assured everyone up and down the valley that nothing was wrong. We should just stay in our houses. Ride out the rain.

"You think we ought to get over to the school?" Mama had said.

Daddy rubbed his chin. "I think we ought to wait it out and see." Daddy had faith in the company, but not as much as he had in God.

I noticed a muddy spot on the front porch that wasn't there the night before, so I could tell Daddy had been back, but now I figured he was checking the dam one more time. There wasn't much movement on the road, just a few cars spraying water as they passed. And then I saw him, moving faster than usual. My father had a gentleman's gait. He never seemed in a hurry, sort of like my idea of what Jesus must have been like walking along in dusty Israel. He always had time to reach down and give a dog a pat on the head or to pull me close to him with one of those big hands. Like other people who make their homes on the sides of mountains, he took things in stride. He believed that a person in haste usually missed out.

But my daddy walked straight inside the house that morning without taking his boots off. The mud was everywhere, and all I could do was stare at his feet and wonder what had happened because Mama would kill him when she saw it.

"Where's your mother?" he said.

"Still asleep," I said. "What's wrong?"

"Arlene!" he shouted. I heard the bedsprings creak, and he turned back to me before he walked down the hall. "Get dressed quick."

"Is it the dam?" I said.

"Yeah, it's the dam."

I threw on a pair of pants and a shirt over the T-shirt I'd slept in. Though they tried to speak softly, I could hear everything. I heard everything they said about me at the breakfast table each morning and everything they talked about in bed through the thin walls of that tiny house. At least everything I wanted to hear. Sometimes I didn't want to hear a word from them because of the pain it brought about my older brother Harless.

"I don't like the looks of it," he said. "Water is just about to the top. If that thing goes, it's going to wipe this whole valley out. And everybody with it."

Mama pulled on her robe and hurried down the hallway. "Is that what the company's saying?"

Daddy followed her in his muddy boots. Since the company had let us buy the house, he had taken such pride in keeping it clean and neat. He even planted trees and bushes in front.

"I don't trust Dasovich," Daddy said. "He went through again this morning telling us not to worry. That he was going to install another leak pipe. But the top of that dam is like a baby's soft spot. And if I'm right, there's enough water behind number three to stretch from there to the Guyandotte and back again and cover this whole valley."

Mama had the Folgers can out but she wasn't opening it. The cake she'd made sat on a white plate with wax paper over it.

Daddy looked at me. "Get your shoes on."

"Where are we going?" I said.

"Over to the school. Put some clothes in the basket yonder. Just in case. And take it to the car."

"What about the party?" As soon as I said it, I felt bad. The look on his face made me ashamed of being so selfish. But I couldn't help it. And the tears came.

"Your friends will probably be over there," he said. "It'll be one big party. Then when it's safe, we'll come back." He touched my shoulder and nodded toward my room. "Arlene, you get dressed and I'll grab a suitcase."

Mama put the cake in a hatbox, and I hurried to get the basket of clothes. I grabbed my Bible and Dad's mandolin and put them between the underwear and T-shirts and jeans, then walked out on the porch and down the cinder-block steps. Thunder was under there looking at me. He was our little beagle who slept outside. Daddy would take him rabbit hunting and he said he was the best, but I liked it when he curled up next to me while I watched TV. Mama would let me bring him in every so often as long as he wasn't wet and didn't come begging in the kitchen. I would scratch his back and watch his hind legs go to running. We called him Thunder because of that bellow of a bark.

I bent down and looked under the porch. "Come on, boy," I coaxed, but he kind of whined and his eyes darted left and right, like there was something beyond me that spelled trouble.

Daddy came out of the house with the old suitcase my papaw brought with him when he stayed with us before he died. My daddy was born in Omar, and Papaw was from Austria-Hungary, back before it was just Austria or Hungary. Papaw always said the West Virginia hills reminded him of his homeland. He took to mining like a duck to water, though I think he would have lived longer if he'd have just farmed.

Daddy brought out the suitcase in one hand, and in the other was a drawer from the desk with all of our pictures. On top of the drawer was a hatbox holding the cake Mama had made. "Open the door," he said, and when I didn't get to it fast enough, he grumbled and set the suitcase on the car and popped open the door and put everything inside. "Get in. Quick."

Mama came down the steps holding Harless's picture against her chest. She had a look on her face that was pure worry. Mama was an uncommonly beautiful woman of the hills, with long hair that she cared for every evening with a pearl-handled brush her mother had given her. After she brushed it out, she braided it, and I remember it swinging down her back as she made breakfast in the morning. Daddy always said she had the hair of a Tuckahoe Indian maiden, and Mama would smile, but it was true. Her great-grandmother on her daddy's side had been from the tribe during the days when white people were offered money for Tuckahoe scalps.

Just as Mama made it to the car, there was a sound that echoed through the hills I will never forget. It was like hearing a car crash behind you; you knew exactly what it was, but you didn't want to turn your head and look because you knew there was going to be somebody dead back there. I heard stories later of the people who were higher up the creek and what they saw after the upper dam broke and overwhelmed the other two. Daddy had said the company didn't have engineers building the dam, just a drawing of what it should be, and they turned the guys with bulldozers loose. All the waste from the mines was piled up as high as they could get it, but not packed down like it should be. When all that rain mixed with the water used to clean the coal, it made a lake filled to overflowing-132 million gallons is what they said later on. That's what was coming toward us, but of course we didn't know that for sure right then.

Thunder barked and ran out from under the house. I jumped out and yelled for him, but Daddy grabbed my arm and slung me back. "Stay in there." He whistled for Thunder, the high-pitched whistle I could never do, and the dog turned and looked at him, then kept running toward the creek like he was after a rabbit.

Daddy hopped in the car and started it up.

"Don't leave him!" I shouted.

"He'll be okay, Billy. Calm down."

We made it to the blacktopped road and headed down the valley, but as soon as we did, Mama looked at Daddy and said, "Other, what about Dreama?"

Daddy gave her a stare that said she was asking too much.

"She brought those kids over last night," Mama said. "The car's right there by the house. She won't know."

Daddy turned our Chevy Impala onto a dirt road that was nothing but mud and slipped and slid up the embankment. Mama asked what he was doing and he wouldn't answer her until he reached the tree line and set the emergency brake. "I'll be right back."

For some reason I still don't understand, he reached back and squeezed my leg. "You be good," he said.

I didn't want him to go. But there was nothing I could do. I just watched him slip and slide down the hill, almost like he was trying to make us laugh, his one hand over his head, his other hand around the cigarette he was trying to keep dry.

"Lord, protect him," my mother said as she watched. She was always praying out loud like that. Just a sentence here or a sentence there that led to a running conversation with the Almighty on everything from baking banana bread to saving somebody's marriage. I imagined my daddy was doing exactly the same thing because he had the same kind of relationship with his Father in heaven.

The rain was still coming, running down the window, so I rolled mine down to get a better look, and that's when I saw Thunder coming up the creek bank barking and sniffing along the edge of the water. I yelled at Dad to get him, but he couldn't hear me. He kept sliding toward the house until he got to the porch. That's when we lost sight of him, but I guessed he was knocking on the door and trying to wake Miss Dreama up.

About that time a car came along honking its horn and that car was just going lickety-split. As the car raced on, I heard something upstream, and through the trees it looked like a semi-trailer was moving fast along the road, except it was an actual house that was coming down the valley like a child will move a toy in the dirt. I stared at it, fix-eyed, my voice caught somewhere inside.

"Oh, Lordy, here it comes!" Mama opened the door as fast as she could and started hollering at the top of her lungs. "Other! The dam's busted! Get out of there!"

She took a step and fell flat on her behind in the mud and slid. I got out and tried to help her, and when I looked up, Miss Dreama's house was splintering from the wall of water that crashed down. It surged onto the other side of the hill carrying part of the town with it; then it switched back and that black sludge slammed into the side of Miss Dreama's place and lifted it right off its foundation, turning it a little. It was then I could see my father with a little one in each arm, trying to keep his balance. Miss Dreama screamed and Mama screamed and then I couldn't hear a thing. It was like some switch just turned off. I turned away because I couldn't bear to look and caught sight of Thunder just before the black water engulfed him.

My father's face was determined and stoic as he tried to step off the porch while the house moved, but it was swirling fast, like the house in The Wizard of Oz. It was all he could do to stay upright. And I thought if he could ride it out, maybe everything would be all right. Maybe if I closed my eyes and prayed, things would be okay and the whole crew of them would step off onto dry ground. But there was nothing dry in that West Virginia valley.

Mama got up and slipped and slid back to the car. When I just stayed there, watching, she picked me up by the arm and almost tossed me into the front seat with her. She started the car and held her foot on the brake as we slid backward toward the raging water, and then I heard my own screams. The car slipped sideways and she turned the wheel sharply so we drifted straight. Miss Dreama's house was moving faster now. I glanced at my mother; she was doing all she could to stop us but we were being drawn like a magnet down. Daddy had been right to put us up near the tree line and if we had stayed there, we would have been okay, but I never blamed her for what she did. She was doing it out of instinct, out of desperate love.

The car slid down and the water met us. I call it water but it wasn't really. It was as thick as gob and just as nasty. A black mix of mud and coal sludge and trees that had been ripped from the bank moving in a torrent that only God himself could've stopped. Once it was loosed from the number three, there was nothing that was going to stop it until it reached the Guyandotte.

The black mess was all over the window and coming in the backseat. Mama opened her door and tried to grab me, but she fell out and I was pulled back by another wave that swept over the car, caught fully in the weight of the water that treated houses and trailers like my toys. The car door closed and my birthday cake had fallen and mixed with the brackish water. I screamed for my mother, who ran along the bank-though it had been someone's backyard only a few minutes earlier. My breath came in fits, just gasps, and for a moment I thought about the preacher and the sudden destruction he had predicted.


Excerpted from Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry Copyright © 2010 by Chris Fabry. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Almost Heaven 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 89 reviews.
FictionWithFaith More than 1 year ago
"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. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Picked this up as a free book and had trouble putting it down. Interesting perspective told both in the first person and via the voice of a guardian angel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this story. I think the best part was the input from the anel. It truly brought home the scripture that we're not fighting against flesh, but spirits and evil. It gave insight into how the spirit realm interacts with the world.
AP78 More than 1 year ago
Awesome read... starts out kind of slow but captivates you later. Love reading this book. It is the last of a set of books but not really a series. The author threads characters from one book to the other. Skyped the author in on our book club...great personality! Excited about reading one of the previous books...JUNE BUG.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very interesting story of how challenges are met and dealt with daily. It is about overcoming and making something of your life.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
Author and radio personality, Chris Fabry brings us a story of true faith and what it means to believe in something bigger than yourself. Fabry has crafted a novel that will tug at the heartstrings and also make the reader do a lot of thinking about their own circumstances. It is a very thought provoking book dealing with reasons why bad things happen to good people and how the life of one person, can change the lives of thousands around them. Billy Allman learned at a young age, that things don't always turn out the way you want them too. Billy and his family lost everything except his father's mandolin in a devastating flood. Then Billy's father commits suicide and his mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Billy has seen a lot of heartache in his life, yet his simple childlike faith has seen him through. He has a dream of sharing the love of God with others through the airwaves. With cast off parts and an ability to fix just about anything Billy builds his own radio station at his home, keeping his dream in sight all the time. He's known as a hillbilly genius in the small West Virginia town of Dogwood and he can make the mandolin sing in a way few others can. The guardian angel sent to watch over Billy, Malachi is puzzled as to why he must protect him until he begins to see how Billy affects other people and how the life of this one man, will touch thousands and thousands of others. Malachi struggles to see the significance of one person in the vast numbers of people. But Billy's faith resonates with him and he the larger picture comes into focus. One person can change the world and that's just what Billy did. I enjoyed this book very much. Billy Allman was such a great character. He still managed to keep his faith intact in spite of some really horrific circumstances in his life. He kept the faith and God used him to speak to thousands and thousands of people and to see God's love shared through Christian radio. Chris Fabry was able to bring Billy's story to life. He shows a man who is determined to bring his dream to fruition. It was a very inspiring book and made me look at my own circumstances and compare them to Billy's. If someone who had faced so much could keep the faith and persevere than so can I. Fabry's attention to detail and research served him well. Making the radio statistics and references very believable as well as the details of Allman's mother's Alzheimer's disease. He must have done extensive research to make this come across as authentic as it did. I believe that readers from a myriad of backgrounds will enjoy this book. I'm a hillbilly myself from the mountains of Appalachia and I think the characters in the book really resonated with me. The character development was excellent, even down to the perplexed angel who wasn't quite sure what his role was in the beginning. It's a good Christian read and there is definitely an audience out there for this kind of heartwarming story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are tons of super long reviews on here, but for you that would like a short but sweet opinion, heres mine. This book, was one of the most inspirational and heartwarming stories ive ever read. Youll regret not reading it.
ReadinAnother1 More than 1 year ago
I could really see the characters in this story. The author was very descriptive. Meaningful story. Would love to read more from this author!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good read and stories within the story. A book that made me ponder even after finished reading. Depth in life giving example to how sin hurts and damages other lives. Thanks be to God that He is mighty to save! jdiraymond
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A touching story. Brought tears to my eyes several times
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book because it won a Christy award. I absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down. I went out and bought all of Chris' books. Excellent!
tarenn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
dhaupt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Billy Allman is an extraordinarily ordinary man, a man who has lived through heartbreaking crises that would test the faith of any man, but then Billy Allman is much more than any man, he¿s one in a million.Chris Fabry takes his readers through the life of his incredible protagonist Billy, a simple man with a true faith, but it¿s how the author tells the story that¿s the true gift. He uses his whole heart to take his readers through Billy¿s trials, his triumphs and his defeats and in doing so he brings out all the emotions in his readers as well, so you¿ll find yourself laughing in one instant and wiping dry your tears in the next. He uses dialogue that¿s easy to understand as he takes his audience on this journey. His star character Billy is the epitome of what it means to be a decent humble human being, one who sees beyond what his eyes tell him to what his heart tells him. And then we have the other main character Malachi, Billy¿s guardian angel who¿s decreed by God to watch over the life of this one man, the consequences that come of that decree and the evil that seeps in when the devil finds a tear in the armor. The other characters in the novel all play their parts very well too as they lay the foundation or build the walls of the tale. There is a love story besides Billy¿s love of God and it¿s sweet and innocent even though it seems the couple has to go through endless pain to find it and each other.Any human being could love this piece of literature, you don¿t have to be a person of faith to read it, but be prepared to get some faith by the time it¿s over. It shows the human factor and just how resilient we are in the face of obstacles, it shows that while one man is not an island, one man can change the world or at least his little part of it. I encourage you to read this book, to meet these people and make them your friends and just maybe you¿ll learn a little in the process. Chris thank you for taking me on this journey. I can¿t wait to read your next one.
ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I review books, once in awhile, I come across a book that is so amazingly good that I just have to sit and stare at it when I'm done. Almost Heaven is one of those such books. I have Chris Fabry's first two books, Junebug and Dogwood sitting on my shelves to be read but haven't gotten to them yet, even though I've heard RAVING reviews of them both! Now, after reading Almost Heaven, I'm kicking myself for not reading Fabry's books sooner!This is one book that I just didn't want to end. As I read Billy's story, I felt myself being pulled into the story, walking beside Billy in his little backwoods town of Dogwood, WV. Reading this story was so inspiring to me, because no matter what happened to Billy, good or bad, he stayed strong in his faith and lived, albeit hillbilly-ish, his entire life with a purpose for pleasing God, no matter what anyone else thought or said about him, including the angel Malachi, sent to protect him. It was certainly a reminder that every life on earth has a purpose but that it should be to serve God and stay strong in your faith. WOW! I definitely am changing my attitude about life!One of the many things I loved about this breathtaking novel is that it is told by Chris Fabry in two points of view...Billy's and his protecting angel, Malachi. Chris did it in a way that, unlike some other authors, doesn't "bore" the reader. It was touching and heartwarming, and really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I could feel the emotions that both Billy and Malachi felt as if I was the one that Chris was writing about. It really moved me.Please, if you've never read a Chris Fabry novel, start right now, right here with this 5,000 star worthy, 5 star book. When you read it, it's title will ring true, surrounding you in almost heaven, leaving you smiling, and probably even crying a little....I know I did. This life-changing novel will be forever on my shelf and when I can't understand why God has let something happen in my life, I'll go sit down and pull out this gripping novel and take a trip to Dogwood and meet Billy all over again. Then I won't question life so much and I'll rejoice in living my life for Him. Well done, Chris!
Justjenniferreading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A review copy of this book was provided for review by Glass Road PR. This was a great book! The story was so touching. It's got so much love, and yet so much pain inter-weaved into the story of Billy Allman.Right from the beginning of the story both the love and pain show through. We first met Billy as an adult, and he really doesn't come off as being anyone special. But as the story goes back to the early part of his life it starts to get pretty interesting. There were so many times in this one that I wanted to cry for Billy. He had such a difficult life. It seemed that just as things would get good something horrid would happen to him.I really liked to double narrative in this one. It helped move the story along when there wasn't much going on. The angel in this story was a great addition. I liked being able to see a different side of what happened and how Billy ended up where he did.When I started this one I knew it was a work of fiction. However, as I was reading I kept thinking that this would be even more inspiring if it were true. The way some of it was written it had a feeling of a true story. So I decided to look at the author's website and found that while it is fictional it is also loosely based on the story of a real person.
texicanwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Almost Heaven Almost HeavenChris Fabry2010Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.ISBN +78-1-4143-1957-5There are books that we enjoy. And books that we read for fun. For pleasure. For information. For inspiration.And then... there are books destined to change our lives. Books that reach deep down inside of us and change our very core. That touch our heart. That touch our soul. And we are never the same.Such can easily be said about Almost Heaven.First, just setting the story in my home state touched a chord in me. So few books are set accurately in the Mountain State! They often portray our simple country people as stupid and ignorant.But Billy Allman is an exception! Fabry's character is a simple man. A simple man who loves the Lord with all his heart and soul! Billy Allman could have been my neighbor. Or the man across town. Fabry is so in tune with the people of this state that I could easily put faces with each of his characters!Billy's story moves from the terrors of his childhood through his struggles as a young man. Heartache and grief like none other, and yet like everyone we have ever known. Fabry gives us a peek into this very special, yet ordinary life, and how it touched those around him.Billy gives his all to the Lord. Not in money, which he never had, but with his heart and soul. He loves people and offers himself up time and time again.Is it any wonder that I picked this book up and couldn't put it down until I had finished it?Almost Heaven gives us a unique insight into the role of the guardian angel as well. Malachi, the warrior angel, is sent to be guardian over Billy. During the one time he is ordered away from his charge, a tragic occurrence happens that forever changes the young boy, Billy.You'll laugh through the humor found in this book. And you'll cry. Alot. [Keep a box of tissues close by!]But most important of all, you will find messages of the love of our Lord and Saviour interspersed throughout the entire book. Always giving us hope. Reminding us that no matter what it is, God can forgive and put the past behind us. Always shedding the light of His love for us upon us.I can give this book nothing less than five starsand my thumbs up award.I highly recommend this book for every household, and find it suitable for teens and older.****DISCLOSURE: I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for review.
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Lesrenee More than 1 year ago
Very good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I_like_clean_reads More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book - I really did! And after reading the review of others, maybe I just read it at a bad time in my life because I found it severely depressing and nothing uplifting toward the Lord. Yes, the main character, Billy Allman, wanted to do something for the Lord, but I just did not find it inspiring. To me, Fabry isn't the writer he thinks he is. But then again, maybe I am the one who is wrong as so many folks seemed to have liked the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book.
Tamarat More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the story of Billy Allman and Callie and all of the characters that they meet along the way. I was intrigued by the guardian angel that was sent to assist Billy in his life and the angel's interactions with the not-so-heavenly demons. There are a lot of dark moments in Billy's and Callie's lives, but with God's assistance, they somehow manage to overcome them. This is a book worth reading. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago