When Will the Heaven Begin? This is Ben Breedlove’s Story

Ally Breedlove, with Ken Abraham. New American Library, $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-46815-4
A grieving sister shares her brother’s inspirational story in a competently reported, though unexpectedly remote, memoir. Breedlove, with the help of collaborator Abraham (Let’s Roll), writes about her younger brother Ben, and his struggle to lead a normal life with a serious heart condition. Ben’s indomitable spirit, and the support of his family, however, ensured that even when he died from congenital hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at age eighteen, he had lived a joyous and full life. Breedlove shares stories from Ben’s early years, the times he “cheated death” from cardiac arrest and the spiritual visions that he experienced with each medical crisis. The third-person perspective, however, seems at odds with Ben’s own approach to life; he was a prolific YouTube videographer who spoke directly to his viewers right until the end, when he produced a heartfelt final video that went viral after his death on Christmas Day, 2011. Much of Ben’s story was covered in television news and popular magazines following his death, and while Breedlove’s memoir adds details from their family life, the reserved tone prevents it from offering a more intimate look. Agent: Robert Barnett (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 10/29/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-451-23964-8
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