90 Minutes In Heaven is not the kind of book I would usually read, much less review. Although I believe in life after death, I tend to be skeptical about people’s out-of-body experiences. Sometimes they seem a little too contrived to me. The only reason I read this book is because a friend of mine, who is grieving for her recently deceased husband, handed it to me and asked me to read it and tell her what I thought. I was very surprised by my reaction to the book, and the impact that it had on me.

On January 18, 1989, Don Piper died in a head-on collision with a semi-truck that swerved into his lane. Mr. Piper lay dead for about 90 minutes, crushed inside of his car. The paramedics found that he had no pulse and pronounced him dead at the scene of the accident. While he lay dead, another man who happened upon the wreck asked the police if he could go to the car and pray for the man while the other injured people were being treated. He knew the man was dead, but he had an overwhelming feeling that he should pray for him. He climbed into what had been the trunk of the car, reached inside and put his hand on the driver’s shoulder. Don had no pulse, but the man began to pray for him anyway. After about 15 more minutes, Don suddenly returned to life. He recovered enough that he was eventually able to tell his story.

Mr. Piper says that he went to heaven. He speaks of seeing things that he cannot describe adequately with human language. He recalls an all-consuming joy that enveloped him as he was reunited with people he had known who had died in his lifetime. He describes a type of music. His impression is that it was music, but that it was different in some way from the music that we know. He remembers a brightness of dazzling intensity that surrounded everything. He felt perfectly at peace. And then suddenly he left that place. He felt someone holding his hand, and he heard music of another kind as the man who had prayed for him was singing a familiar church song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Mr. Piper’s vision of what he believes to be heaven actually takes up only one chapter in this book. Most of the book is a description of his grueling recovery and the impact the experience has had on him in his life since the accident.

It wasn’t at all what I expected to read. It wasn’t a story all about joy and victory and peace of mind for the rest of his life. It was a story of great pain and anger, almost overwhelming depression, and his desire to die and return to that joyful state he had briefly enjoyed.

Mr. Piper was fortunate to be treated at two world-class hospitals: Memorial Hermann Medical Center’s Trauma Unit, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, both in the Houston, Texas Medical Center. They treated him with great skill and with cutting edge technology. He praises their remarkable abilities as well as the skills of the team of nurses who took care of him. And he acknowledges many, many friends who cared for him and prayed for him throughout his ordeal, as well as hundreds of others who didn’t know him but prayed for him. His journey back to what he calls his “new normal” was not an easy one and not one he wanted to take. However, through his strong faith in God and as a result of the prayers and support of his friends, he did recover from the depression that weighed so heavily on him. He found the courage to fight, and he finally was able to go home from the hospital and resume his life. He was not the same man he had been before, physically or spiritually. His doctors told him he would always live with pain. But he lived with a new perspective and a new purpose and the ability to comfort people in pain and grief in a way he had never imagined before. And he lives every day believing that he will one day return to that blissful state he experienced on the January day he died and went to heaven.

I found the book to be very compelling. It is full of honesty and transparency and is a wonderful inspiration. I am very glad that my friend handed this book to me.