‘The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope’ – Book Review

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*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

If I cast my memory back, I believe it was during a local book store’s closing down sale that I first saw ‘The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope‘. The cover and title instantly caught my eye, and someone I knew it would be the mix between enthralling characters, great story, and weirdness – though maybe this is because I was instantly reminded of The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012).

Once I read the synopsis on the back, I was hooked, and bought it. A myriad of factors got in the way, and it took probably over a year before I began page 1.

Rhonda Riley certainly has a talent for describing scenery and setting the scene. What first appears to be a normal story set in the Post-WW2 era, becomes a tale possibly from out of this world. After a violent rain storm, Evelyn discovers a person partly-buried in the field of the farm she has been left in-charge of. As she wipes the dirt away, it is clear this is not an ordinary person. There are no features, no hair, no clothes, and no gender markers.

Living all alone on the farm, Evelyn brings the stranger inside, and that is where their relationship takes off.

There are parts of the book that I found unnecessary; storylines that felt included for the sake of popularity with the current-ideals. Riley managed to make it work with the story and the evolution of the characters, but I did question whether to put the book down.

Boy am I glad I didn’t! I have just finished this book, and my eyes are still sore from crying. I’m not usually emotional over stories – and maybe I’m coming down with a cold or the flu – but the way Riley makes you feel for these characters and their loss is phenomenal. This family want answers just as badly as we do. They suffer with uncertainty. We all have fears about our own mortality, and for Evelyn and Adam (or A/Addie) this is definitely amplified.

I loved how the book covered such a large period of time, and I feel almost like Adam, remaining young as the characters I’ve grown attached to age and wither.

While I wouldn’t go searching this book for ideas on religion and answers about mortality, I would recommend it for someone who likes a good story.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Heaven Is For Real (2014) – Review

As seen on CinemaParadiso.


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There was a time when religious movies ran abound. When Heaven was not a fairy-tale and the harsh world knew that peace was attainable. Then came the time when in order to talk about Jesus and Heaven, films needed to first focus on the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Thank the Lord that time has passed. The resurgence of Christian films brings a smile to my face and so does Heaven is for Real.

Colton Burpo is three years old when his stomach flu suddenly turns into appendicitis. His parents rush him to the hospital, and are given the heartbreaking news that complications gave their son little-to-no chance of survival. The parents pray, a miracle occurs, and Colton recovers. Four months later, he begins speaking of things and people he could not possibly know. He reveals the moments of his near death experience, and describes Heaven and seeing Jesus. His father, a Pastor at the local church, wants to believe his son, but finds the growing pressure from the community and arriving horde of media almost too much to process. Did Colton truly visit Heaven? Watch this movie and decide for yourself.

Rarely will you find a book that translates well into a film, but this film actually does. Firstly, the cast are amazing, with Greg Kinnear excellently playing the struggling father, and the adorable newcomer Connor Corum. Secondly, we all know it might not be factually correct. We don’t know what the afterlife will look like, and it has also been noted that there was no evidence reported that Colton was clinically dead during his surgery. However, it’s the point of the film, to bring about hope and individual religious discovery. The same could be said for Field of Dreams (1989). Nowhere in the Bible does it say that deceased baseball players will attend your field if you build one, but it was about hearing God and having the faith and trust in him to follow his commands, regardless of your temporary understanding.

In terms of the technical aspects, Heaven is for Real is creatively beautiful. The scenery is breathtaking, with the wide shots of the open farmland expanse and the bright colours of nature popping with intensity. The unique camera angles and visual effects work seamlessly, complementing the story.

Of course, a film like this will still have those that attack it for its religious message. Many reviews have commended the film for both its script and cast, while criticising it for how ‘preachy’ it was.

Whether you are a religious person or not, this movie is a must-see. It does not matter if what Colton – in real life – experienced was a true afterlife, but what his testimony stands for. It is a beautiful and heart-warming story that does not revolve around car chases or vampires, and has the ability to get important conversations started. With the recent line of Christian movies hitting the cinemas, now is a good time to gather the family and enjoy the flicks!

3 out of 5 stars