Saturday, February 16, 2008

Paul Thigpen's My Visit to Hell ~ Reviewed

My Visit to Hell
Paul Thigpen
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Realms
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599790939
ISBN-13: 978-1599790930

Back Cover Copy:

The threat of racial violence sends Thomas Travis fleeing down the stairs of an abandoned building, only to fall into a tortured realm of fire and ice: the place of the damned.

His only chance of escape is to trust a strange elderly woman he meets there who insists on being his guide. She claims to know the way out, but they must travel through all the circles of divine judgment, each one deeper and more terrifying than the last. And in the lowest pit lies waiting the Lord of Darkness himself.

Thomas has lived a godless life. He could be damned to any one of several circles. but if his soul can be purged on the journey, he just might make it.

Even so, the odds are slim...

In hell, the only guarantee is justice...and the only way out is down.

Brace yourself for a frightening, thought-provoking, guided tour of hell in this modern-day adaptation of Dante's Inferno.

My Review:

I checked out others reviews before typing my own. As expected there are five-stars with glowing recommendations and as many one-stars with glowing criticism. So here's my suggestion, if you are seriously considering the book, toss out the five-stars and the one-stars and then read the comments.

Anything as controversial and frightening as Hell and a trip through it is going to step on toes.

Fiction about Hell is probably the last thing I'd like to read. Seriously, there's enough Hell on this earth that I don't even want to consider that the place may be real. Having not read Dante's Inferno I kind of came into the read without any preconceived ideas beyond what I've learned from the Bible. I'm an unapologetic literal-Bible-believing Christian. So before you read any further you may want to toss out my review, too.

But if you are continuing to read you a) have an interest in Hell b) the fear of it c) or you really dig horror.

My Visit to Hell isn't going to please some of the more conservative Christians. Many Christians won't read fiction and they certainly would be offended by a place full of naked, damned souls with constant torture, bigotry and reference to the baser of sins. This novel is not suitable for children, unless a parent reads it first. The imagery is horrifying and would add all sorts of ickiness to dreams. If you are a very sensitive adult, I caution you also. Horror lovers should find plenty of gruesome passages.

If you fear Hell and/or the unknown, don't read just My Visit to Hell alone. Find someone who loves Jesus to help you come to grips with where you'll spend eternity. The book points out pretty clearly that sin is sin and there are going to be all kinds in Hell. From the very, very religious, even pastors, priests and preachers, to those who just ignored the whole question of what to do with Jesus.

Reading because you are interested? Again, don't read just this book and take it completely as fact. This is one man's fictionalized account of a real place. It's based on what he knows from what he's read and studied. The different levels and pits and punishments are interesting and there is truth that there are more severe punishments, but don't take this as Gospel.

If you are concerned that you are headed there, please find someone who knows the Bible and loves people. There are a lot of people who know the Bible but don't know the author, and they are as Hellbound as an ignorant sinner.

My Visit to Hell isn't the most riveting fiction I've ever read. But the story is riveting. I read it quickly, wondering what would happen. I struggled with some of what was said and done. I am not comfortable at all with the idea that people will end up in Hell, a place prepared for Satan and his angels. But each of the dwellers in the story's lower pits were determined to keep their deadly attitudes and hatreds and bitterness, clinging to death even as a few tried to escape with the hero.
The hero himself was an anti-hero as he revealed more and more his ugly attitudes and pride. Reading the book made me think about my own attitudes. I struggled with Thomas' guide, Capopia and her limbo faith. I honestly don't know what to do with a repentant soul in limbo, if there is such a thing. I'm very glad the decisions on eternity are made by a loving, just, merciful and all-knowing God.

Whether you agree that there is a real Hell, or whether there are many chances, or whether Hell is populated with Hitlers, Amins and Husseins and all the good folk go to Heaven, I suggest you make sure in your
own mind and heart that you aren't dead wrong.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer


Michelle said...

Compelling and honest review. I loved it! Thanks, Kelly.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ane Mulligan said...

To Anonymous: if you want to leave a comment with your name on it, we'll post it. But don't leave a bad review anonymously. Very poorly done.

Lex Royle said...

Hey Kelly,

Thanks for the review, I found that useful. It was funny and open-minded I thought. The reason I was interested in the book was someone told me they had read it [I hadn't heard of it] and it had inspired them to read the Dante, which I am actually half-way through. So I thought it might be interesting to check it out.
Perhaps more weirdly I have always meant to read Dante, but it wasn't until I played a bit of the PS3 game 'Dante's Inferno' that I did. [And some people say all computer games are bad for us ^-^]haha
God bless you,

L x

Kelly Klepfer said...

Hey Lex,

Thanks for the review compliments. This is a book I remember well, even after a few years of time between reading and this comment. It left an impression to be sure. : ). You'll have to let me know what you think when you are done with Dante and this one. I'm really curious about Dante but have yet to add it to my massive pile of to be read books. Blessings back to you. : )

Lex Royle said...

Hi Kelly,

That was typical of me, [unfortunately]; I noticed the time of review was 04:58 [ie: early in the morning, because that interested me] but didn't notice it was early morning almost exactly four years ago, haha, sorry! :P
And yet you still replied, so thank you :)
My only excuse is that it's the first ever blog I have blogged ^ ^
and I do empathise with the 'delicious pile of books to get through' scenario.
You are most welcome to the compliments, you have a lovely natural way of writing.
It is also good to see someone who loves God and doesn't hate.
In terms of reading both Dante and 'My Visit To Hell', I would love to read them and get back to you, which I will if I can, however am chronically ill so have little energy for anything unfortunately, and I will need to track down a copy of the latter book first also.
I will try my best though.

Blessed Be,

L x

Kelly Klepfer said...

Hi again, Lex.

No pressure to read and report back. Since you said you were halfway through I thought you were actively reading it.

I'm sorry to hear about your physical struggles. So tough to live with chronic pain/issues. I'll add you to my prayers.

Again, no pressure whatsoever to read and get back to me. Really. Have a terrific day and week.

Lex Royle said...

Thanks Kelly,

Bless you.

It is in my active reading pile, but I haven't picked it up for a few months, it's vying for time at the moment with the Bible, St.Theresa of Avila's 'Interior Castle', one of the Anastasia series and Michel de Montaigne, but I will [eventually :P].

Thank you ever so much for your prayers, that means a lot. The illness is a nightmare but I wouldn't change it because it's brought me close to God, which is what I've always wanted :)

L x