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90 Minutes in Heaven, Book Review

Updated on April 16, 2018
PegCole17 profile image

Peg Cole is a self-published author who writes true and fiction stories and book reviews, along with nostalgia and how-to articles.

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Nothing can prepare us for the loss of a loved one. Typical reactions progress through phases of disbelief, denial, pain, guilt, and anger as we process our emotions. The Chaplain's enthusiastic recommendation of this true story at a recent funeral convinced me to buy and read the book.

Don Piper's captivating story is not only about faith in the hereafter. It describes in detail the devastation of facing personal and physical conditions well beyond what most people will ever have to endure. His true story of overcoming immeasurable pain, battling severe depression during his recovery, learning to accept help from others and adjusting to new physical limitations serves as a testament to the awesome power of faith and prayer.

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Don tells the story that began with a statewide Baptist Convention in Texas that he attended with the hopes of starting his own congregation. He wanted to learn as much as possible before embarking on that journey.

Driving away that rainy January morning in his 1986 Ford Escort he buckled his seat belt not knowing that act might be the clearest defining and critical decision of his life to that point. At some point early in his drive, he reached a fork in the road. When he decided to take the Gulf Freeway it was just one of many hundreds of choices each of us make every day that upon reflection after an incident of this nature, makes one wonder what might have been different on the other path.

1986 Ford Escort Hatchback

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Dick Onerecker, another minister that had attended the Baptist conference was minutes behind Don driving on the same highway when an eighteen wheeler veered into Don's car on a narrow bridge. The accident brought traffic to a standstill for miles in both directions. By the time Dick walked up to the scene asking if anyone needed prayer, Don had already been declared dead by first responders. His legs remained pinned below the dashboard of his car which was covered by a plastic tarp to keep onlookers from seeing the body. The first ambulance attendants on the scene had moved on to the injured parties in the other vehicles, leaving Don for dead. He had no pulse.

Dick crawled into the hatchback of Don's automobile wreckage and prayed fervently for ninety minutes asking God for a miracle. He says that was something out of the ordinary for him, that he did not usually pray for the dead. But something or someone told him he needed to pray and he did as he was told.

Confess your faults one to another and pray for one another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

— James 5:16

A major automobile accident can traumatize a person even when the injuries are minor. The experience changes the way a person looks at driving. A friend that wrecked her car while driving in a rainstorm hesitated to drive in the rain from that time forward. When someone is driving across a bridge when an accident occurs their confidence driving on bridges from that point forward is forever altered.

In the case of Don Piper, his accident on that fateful day in January 1989, would change his entire life. When paramedics arrived on the scene and found no pulse, he was declared dead and covered with a tarp awaiting the proper medical transport to a morgue. Their attention moved to those in the other vehicle that could still be helped.

Don Piper died in his car and was presumed dead for an hour and a half before returning to consciousness. Upon his return, his life was turned completely around, in part because of the severity of his injuries but mostly because of the story he shared about where he traveled during those ninety minutes.

Don's Ford Escort was crushed by an eighteen wheeler, pinning his legs under the dashboard. Jaws of Life were required to free him from the wreckage. (Not the actual wreckage photo.)
Don's Ford Escort was crushed by an eighteen wheeler, pinning his legs under the dashboard. Jaws of Life were required to free him from the wreckage. (Not the actual wreckage photo.) | Source

Ilizarov Frame

The Ilizarov External Fixator, is named after Gavriil Abramovich Ilizarov, the orthopedic surgeon from the Soviet Union, who pioneered the technique used to lengthen bones in cases of congenital defects where one leg or arm is longer than the other. It's also used as a limb-sparing technique to treat complex and/or open bone fractures with a space of missing bone tissue to help regenerate the missing section. Often the alternative to this treatment and sometimes despite the treatment amputation of the limb becomes necessary.

The process of wearing the Ilizarov Apparatus requires immobility for a number of months and includes tensile metal rods to be drilled into the bones and wired to a helical frame on which daily adjustments attempt to length existing bone. It's often worn for a period of at least six months and is an extremely painful treatment.

Don's left leg was nearly severed in the accident with four inches of bone missing from his femur. At times during his long recovery, Don says he wished he could die rather than continue to suffer the constant pain he describes as "off the scale."

His journey back to physical and mental health was not an easy trip.

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In the book, Don gives details of his lengthy recovery from injuries that required thirty-four surgeries and complete immobility for many months. During his convalescence, he discovered the meaning of despair and debilitating depression.

While confined to a bed, unable to move or even turn over due to medical devices so invasive as to prevent any motion, he had to learn to let others do for him every personal and private action that a person wants to do for themselves.

Depending on others to do everything a person normally takes care of themselves can be a humiliating and humbling experience.
Depending on others to do everything a person normally takes care of themselves can be a humiliating and humbling experience. | Source

But the most important part of his lengthy return to normalcy was strengthened by his memory of his journey during the time he was legally dead. During those 90 minutes he experienced what he describes as the most joyful and exhilarating trip to Heaven's Gate imaginable. The strength of his faith and the assurance in God's plan for his life were major factors in his recovery.

His description of Heaven creates a mental image both real and believable. His complete assurance of the reality of Heaven serves to give comfort to anyone who has lost a loved one or family member that suffers the pain of separation and grief. His story fills the reader with hope and possibility.

Age expresses time passing and there is no time there (in Heaven.)"

— Don Piper

The story of this man's journey is a tale of endurance, of pain, of humiliation, family pressures, loss of mobility, ongoing sorrow and a return to strength of his faith. He shares his deepest fears, his doubts, his compelling desire to return to that Heavenly Gate during the months of slow, agonizingly painful recovery from his devastating injuries.

He speaks about how his pain and sorrow transformed over time into celebration of a renewed purpose; into belief and a genuine confidence that there is a very real place where we will go when life as we know it is over.

The music selections were the stimulus that helped bring back Don's hope.

Praise the Lord - Russ Taff

This book's inspirational message and amazing story is uplifting and renews a sense of faith when it's most needed. Don Piper's personal story, 90 Minutes in Heaven, is one you'll want to read and share with others.

We are the Reason - David Meese

© 2018 Peg Cole

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    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      2 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Shauna, At the memorial service for my mother last year, the pastor introduced this book as something to provide comfort and hope in a time of loss and grief. It truly helped me understand that my mother was in a better place, free of pain and the worries of this life. I definitely recommend it.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 months ago from Central Florida

      This sounds like an amazing read, Peg. I've often wished someone who died could or would come back to tell me the truth about life after death. Don Piper was certainly dead long enough to witness that truth.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      5 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks so much, Lawrence. I hope you find a copy of this one. It's a good read.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      5 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Peg

      This was a great review, I haven't come across the book before, but I'll be keeping an 'eye out' for it.

      This was a great review, I've come across similar stories, and those people have powerful stories to tell.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Maria,

      I was certain that this book would be on your bookshelf as beneficial reading. So glad that you found this review to be true to the story. You continue to be an inspiration to me and to so many others. Your own story is testament to the power of prayer and faith.

      Love you so much. Hugs.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Peg,

      This review is spot on in detail and perspective. At my sister's recommendation, I read 90 Minutes in Heaven a couple years ago - truly a memorable and hopeful story.

      Love you and thanks for the burst of inspiration this morning,

      Maria

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi William, Yes, the story is quite inspiring. I appreciate your visit.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      6 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I think I heard about this man before. It's quite a story. Thanks for sharing it with us, Peg.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Peggy, It always seems strange saying that. lol. I had not read this book until recently and was truly glad someone told me about it. The story helped tremendously when tough times came about, as you are well aware.

      Poor Don went through an awful lot. Thankfully, he made it and lived to tell about it. I appreciate your kind words.

      You know, I visited your Explore Houston site and it looks like the comment sections are gone. Did you know?

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Paula, You are such a sweetheart! Thanks for coming by to read this book review and for leaving such a thoughtful comment. I appreciate you.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Peg,

      I read that book some time ago and it was truly inspirational as to what lies beyond our physical lives in the spiritual realm. Don certainly was tested with all of the pain and agony that he suffered following that accident. Your review of the book is excellent!

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Flourish, Thanks for the positive comments about this book review. It truly is a book that encourages belief in the hereafter with an amazing and compelling description of Heaven.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Peg, Superb review. Your wonderful talents are sure to encourage readers to get their hands on this book, today! Stories on this topic are always fascinating and seriously inspirational.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      6 months ago from USA

      This was a very interesting review that had my attention from the first to the very last. I’d like to read the book based on your compelling description.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks, Nikki. I haven't seen the movie yet but I'd like to see it. Thank you so much for the visit and for the awesome comment.

    • nikkikhan10 profile image

      Nikki Khan 

      6 months ago from London

      What a beautiful story of life and death experience and a fight of recovery.It’s very inspiring and intriguing story of struggle and achievement.

      And you’ve depicted it so well, a very well done Peg.

      Would definitely read Don’s book to see the picture on big screen.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Shyron, Yes, I'm glad Don was able to strengthen his faith after this horrific experience. I believe that Don's faith was challenged and yet, he clung to it through his worst pain when he wanted to return to Heaven. The fact that God had other plans for him was something he had to realize. Always glad to see you and read your thoughtful comments. Blessings, my friend.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Cristale, Thank you for expressing your thoughts about the article.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      6 months ago from Texas

      Peg, thank you for expressing Don's return to faith after such a devastating accident.

      Blessings always my friend

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      6 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Linda, I'm glad you found the book interesting. I can't imagine going through what Don Piper experienced. Nice of you to come by.

    • Cristale profile image

      Cristale Adams 

      7 months ago from New York

      This article was a great read, but I thought it ended abruptly!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the information about Don Piper and his book, Peg. The book sounds interesting. What a horrible experience Don had during his recovery.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Mike, I'm so pleased you found your way over here to read this book review. This man is amazing and an inspiration to others. I'm grateful for your kind words.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello dear Venkatachari M., I'm pleased that you liked the book review and feel certain that you would like the book. I truly appreciate your kind remarks today.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Dora, I believe this book is right up your alley. It's good to share all the positive reassurance we can about The Promise. Thanks so much for stopping by.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Bill, I'm so glad you were able to take a look at this story. It's always good to see your face when I open my page. Thank you.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Peg - No one writes a book review like you. The man's story is compelling, and you highlighted that well. We humans are so frail, then when we are tested, we find so much strength.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Chitrangada, Thank you so much. I'm a believer in such things as miracles even in modern times. I loved the description of Heaven that the author shared and I truly hope it's that wonderful there. Yes, it is amazing the things that can be done medically these days including stimulating bone growth. Maybe one day the procedure will be less stressful with less pain. Thanks for coming by and for your kind remarks.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thank you, Frank. I appreciate what you said about the telling of the tale.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      7 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting and amazing story. Thanks for sharing it. I would like to read the book also.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi GlenR, It's tough to explain how something like this could happen if not for miracles. I've experienced small miracles that defy explanation or reason, but nothing on this level. Thanks for coming by to read this.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Jackie, Thank you for dropping by. I think you would like reading this book. It does remind us of higher things.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 months ago from The Caribbean

      Peg, thank you for sharing. The book sounds interesting and inspiring. "His story fills the reader with hope and possibility." I'd like to read that.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Mary, I'm glad you want to read the book. I think you'll enjoy it. It defies explanation, that's for sure.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Dianna, I never saw the movie. I always seem to like the book version better. His story is truly amazing.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hello Jay C, Thank you for stopping in on this book review.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I almost missed this. I tucked it away to read later and then almost accidentally deleted it. Sure glad I didn't because it is a remarkable story.

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Nell Rose, I get chills, too, when I reread passages from the book or hear the music and listen to the lyrics. Thanks for dropping in so quickly.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 months ago from New Delhi, India

      What a wonderful story, and you have done full justice with the great review.

      Life is full of possibilities. I don’t know whether this story is fiction or not, but it seems so close to reality. Road accidents do happen, and damages are unimaginable. We see people recovering from such complex and difficult medical conditions. And this can be happen, only with hope and prayers.

      You are a great storyteller and congratulations for that.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      7 months ago

      My goodness, an amazing account and you give it justice nailing important portions of the book and how you tell it because the story itself made you buy the book... thank you for sharing Peg

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      GlenR 

      7 months ago from UK

      It’s an amazing story and he was a very lucky man. I’m a hardened skeptic but I need to read more to try to find a logical reason for what happened.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 months ago from The Beautiful South

      I will sure have to pick this up Peg! I love stories like this and many times it is just what we need to remind us what life is really all about.

      Thank you.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      You've made me want to read the book. I have heard of this experience happening to others, too, but how do you explain it?

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 months ago

      I read the book years ago and then saw the movie. I enjoyed both but the book really told a deeper story. His story is amazing.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      7 months ago from Houston, TX USA

      "But the most important part of his lengthy return to a normalcy was strengthened by his memory of his journey during the time he was legally dead. During those 90 minutes he experienced what he describes as the most joyful and exhilarating trip to Heaven's Gate imaginable. The strength of his faith and the assurance in God's plan for his life were major factors in his recovery."

      This experience is known as a Near Death Experience (NDE). NDEs have been reported for hundreds of years. Here is an article on NDEs by an M.D.

      https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Near-Deat...

    • PegCole17 profile imageAUTHOR

      Peg Cole 

      7 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks for reading this review, Susan. The book is certainly worth the price and time well spent. It really put things into perspective for me.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 months ago from England

      Wow! how amazing! sometimes these stories leave a chill down our backs.what an amazing man!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh my goodness! This sounds like a wonderful book Peg. What we have to endure in life is unbelievable at times.

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