The Peculiar Truth about The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven
- The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven was a nonfiction bestseller in 2010. The book sold over 1 million copies.
- It told the story of young Alex who died in a car accident and was revived.
- In 2004, six-year-old Alex and his father, Kevin, went to church. Alex’s mother, Beth, stayed home with her three other children, one of whom was a newborn.
- Kevin used his mobile phone while driving and failed to see an oncoming vehicle. A collision nearly killed young Alex.
- The boy awakened after two months in a coma. He survived but was left a quadriplegic.
- Alex told his father that, while in his comatose state, he entered Heaven through a shining tunnel. Angels met him there. Later, he met Jesus who assured him that the boy would return to Earth and live on.
- Alex described Heaven as an idyllic natural place with streams and lakes and grassland. God sat on a heavenly throne.
- The boy also described Satan as a creature with rotting fangs, fire for hair, and three heads.
- Kevin wrote down all of his young son’s vivid descriptions about his afterlife experiences and created a book manuscript. Kevin and Alex were listed as co-authors, even though the boy didn’t really write any of it.
- Publishing houses that specialized in Christian literature churned out similar books of adventures in Heaven, some of which were made into films, so young Alex’s story quickly found a publisher.
- The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven became a bestseller.
- 2011: One year after publication, Alex’s mother Beth separated from Kevin.
- Then Alex made a stunning public confession. “I did not die. I did not go to Heaven.” He claimed his father concocted the lie based on things Alex said while hospitalized. The boy never intended for his father to write the stories into a book. The auto accident and coma were real, but the afterlife tale was fabricated.
- The book was pulled from bookstore shelves.
- Beth divorced Kevin, took custody of their quadriplegic child, and claimed to be nearly destitute. She said she had no idea what her ex-husband did with the money earned from the book sales. She and Alex sued Kevin and the publisher.
- The lurid drama left the Christian community disheartened.
- Critics had a field day, however. The running joke was that people should have known the heavenly tale was false because of Kevin’s last name.
- Their family name is Malarkey.
Dan is the author of over a dozen novels. His latest is Tight Five.