By Mary Curran Hackett
William Morrow, $14.99, 297 pages

The struggle between faith and reason, heart and mind, is an age-old tension. Proof of Heaven delves into the matter with a young boy facing a fatal disease that causes his brain to battle his heart. Colm resolutely accepts the onset of death, rejecting his mother’s faith in God while yearning for the miracle of love from a father he’s never known. When he and his mother meet Dr. Basu, their lives take a hopeful, unexpected turn. Joined by Colm’s uncle Sean, they form an atypical family on a journey toward love, heaven, and the miraculous.

“It’s a magical thing really. […] People often treat them as two completely independent organs, but they are not – they are interdependent. The brain and the heart must coexist peacefully to keep the body functioning.”

With intrepid grace, author Mary Curran Hackett explores weighty issues of life and death. Her beautifully written novel infuses the miraculous into difficult realities of existence but the end of the story nearly falls flat as scenes with immense potential rush by, hurrying readers to an enigmatic conclusion. Though Hackett claims the story is not meant to determine whether heaven or God exist, she seems to lead readers on a trail towards pluralism with a New Age bent. The thoughtful discussion questions and author’s commentary at the back of the book help return readers to their own search for truth.

Reviewed by Halley Greene