Thursday, December 25, 2014

My Return to The Los Gatos Library 3rd Tuesday Book Club (plus a mini-review of our book)

In November, I got back to the 4th Tuesday Night Book Club at Books, Inc. in Palo Alto. This past week, it was Los Gatos Library's turn.  Along with the RBC, that's now 3 book clubs I belong to.  This is really cool.  Melissa, like Margie at Books, Inc., does a great job running the book club.  We met on Tuesday night, the 16th, my 1st appearance in a while.  The book is Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife, by Eben Alexander, M.D.

This is an interesting book because it chronicles Alexander's near-death experience (NDE).  Alexander is a neurosurgeon who contracted a disease that most everybody dies from.  And if they don't die, they are severely impaired.  And, yet, he came out of a 7-day coma without any negative repercussions.  In fact, his NDE was so dramatic, that he felt he needed to write about it.  Here is what Raymond A. Moody, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., and author of Life After Life, had to say about it:

"Dr. Eben Alexander's near-death experience is the most astounding I have heard in more than four decades of studying this phenomenon."

I won't go into detail, because you can read that for yourself.  I will say, though, that the book was very clearly divided into 2 sections for me.  One was his description of what he saw and where he was during the NDE.  And the other section was when he was in a coma and how his family reacted to it and the doctors.  The 1st section was difficult for me to get into.  I was not emotionally connected to his NDE.  The other section, however, did get me emotionally involved.  I teared up a number of times when different family members came to his bedside, especially when his son came home from college and saw his dad in the hospital bed for the 1st time.

This is one of those books that will elicit different opinions from just about everybody. Even our discussion at book club got reactions that were across the board.  There was one member, a scientist, who just didn't believe it.  There was a woman, not a member, who came because she believes in the afterlife and wanted to know what Alexander saw. And many of us were in the middle.  Would I recommend Proof of Heaven?  Not really. But this is a book, more than most, where I do not feel confident deciding for others.  I think you almost have to read it to know whether or not you're glad you did.


  1. Great review. Coincidentally, I was also shown another book about an NDE today. Now I can't remember the name of it, I'll find out. It was by an Indian author. Anyway, I like how you explained the reaction of your book group and your own reactions. It's an interesting way to present a book, like getting a summary of a lot of reviews at once.

  2. Thanks, Nicci. For the sake of full disclosure, I just about always post reviews by my lonesome. But I'm glad that the community review resonated. I'll have to keep that in mind. Especially when I review a book from a book club (I'm in 2 besides the one I run at Recycle Books, in Campbell).