So says Billy Allman, the main character in “Almost Heaven” by Chris Fabry.
I picked up this book because it’s set in West Virginia and the author is a native. My books are set in West Virginia–I think there ought to be an “Appalachian Fiction” category–so I decided to check out who might be keeping me company.
I LOVED this book. The characters are flawed. They’re real. Billy sounds like he might have a touch of Asperger’s Syndrome. The woman who loves him is described as having been hit with an “ugly stick.” The bad guys are bad. The good guys have their issues, too. And the whole collection is somehow just gorgeous.
The point of view shifts between Billy and his guardian angel. I wasn’t sure I much liked the angel at first–but he grew on me. And I definitely like the idea of pulling back a corner of the veil that separates heaven and earth.
But the very best thing about this book is how it tackles the question of why a loving God allows bad things to happen to his children. And the answer? Basically, because He’s God and His plan is bigger and better than anything we can imagine. Now, don’t get me wrong, Fabry does offer some hints at why God might have allowed some of the bad things in Billy’s life. But ultimately, the book is about learning to trust. And that’s something we all need to do.