Here’s an as/is repost of my review of Linda Boone Michaelis’s book, Heaven Hears. Lindy Michaelis is Pat Boone’s second eldest daughter. I wrote this review for Epinions.com in 2013.
First thing’s first. I am not a particularly religious person. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an atheist, but my churchgoing days are long over and I’m not much into prayer. I do, however, have sort of an obsession with Pat Boone and his family. I read his eldest daughter Cherry’s book, Starving for Attention, when I was in high school. I read his famous daughter Debby’s book, So Far, as an adult. When I heard that his second oldest daughter, Lindy Boone Michaelis, had written her book, Heaven Hears: The True Story of What Happened When Pat Boone Asked The World to Pray for His Grandson’s Survival, I knew I had to read it. So far, the only sister I haven’t read a book by is youngester daughter, Laury.
Goodbye, charmed life…
Like her three sisters, Lindy Boone Michaelis grew up very privileged in Beverly Hills, California. Her father, Pat Boone, was a very popular singer, author, actor, and television host in the 1950s and 60s and even today can be seen pitching products on infomercials. Though Michaelis had her share of leaner times, she explains that she’d lived a charmed life. Until one fateful day in 2001, Michaelis writes that she was almost embarrassed by how “trouble free” her life had been, even though her first marriage had failed. Michaelis had married Doug Corbin, a good looking athlete she met at Pepperdine University, when she was still very young. That marriage produced two children, Ryan and Jessica. It ended after seven years. Though she and her first husband, Doug, divorced, they remained cooperative and raised their two kids together. Both remarried; Lindy married her husband, Mike Michaelis in 1985 and had another son named Tyler.
All was well until a June day in 2001, when her adult son, Ryan, fell forty feet through a skylight. Doctors did not expect Ryan to live. Lindy and her husband and son had been vacationing in Spain when Lindy got a phone call from sister, Debby, telling her about Ryan’s horrific accident. They rushed back to California to be at Ryan’s side.
The power of prayer
It’s no secret that Pat Boone and his family are very religious. When Ryan Corbin fell through that skylight, the whole family banded together and took to the airwaves to ask for prayers. With help from Larry King, one of Pat Boone’s oldest friends, they took their message to the masses and the world responded. Against all odds, Ryan Corbin began to recover. He eventually came out of his coma and made huge strides toward reclaiming his life.
With Ryan’s recovery came other challenges. Though Lindy Boone Michaelis and her husband are blessed with resources such as insurance and personal wealth, they soon found themselves struggling with financing Ryan’s care. Michaelis explains what they did to take care of Ryan’s bills and how they formed Ryan’s Reach, a charitable organization dedicated to helping individuals with traumatic brain injuries and their families.
I mostly enjoyed reading Lindy Boone Michaelis’s book, Heaven Hears, which was ghost written by Susy Flory. This book seems very personal, as if it’s coming straight from Lindy herself; Flory did a good job of co-writing this book and giving it Lindy’s voice. This book does include some of Lindy Boone Michaelis’s history; it’s not really about Pat Boone or even Ryan Corbin, but rather it’s a story that comes from Lindy and is her perspective as a mother whose beloved firstborn was gravely injured.
What I like about this book is that Lindy is very honest and comes across as a very real and nice person. For instance, she writes that she doesn’t swear. She was raised by Pat and Shirley Boone and was taught not to cuss. But she knows that other people swear and she doesn’t hold it against them. And when her son, Ryan, started swearing because of his brain injury, she learned to adapt and understand. I appreciated the way she explained how difficult that was for her. She realized that he couldn’t help it. Swearing was a way he could express himself; it was not the way he would have talked before he was hurt, but it was effective nonetheless and somehow miraculous, since he was never expected to live, let alone speak again. I like that Lindy comes across as someone down to earth and normal. Yes, she’s a Christian, but she’s not a goody two shoes.
I also like the fact that Lindy Boone Michaelis is so devoted to her family, yet is very real about them. Yes, she’s been divorced and a lot of Christians seem to judge her for that (if you read Amazon reviews, that is). But no one is perfect. I like that Lindy owns the fact that she’s made mistakes and can only keep trying, just like anyone can. She’s a good mom and Ryan is lucky to have her… and the rest of his family. Not everyone who suffers traumatic brain injuries is so lucky. By the way, Lindy is very generous with positive comments about her husband and her ex husband, and even her ex’s wife, Victoria. Apparently, they’ve all banded together for Ryan’s sake. I wish all blended families could be so supportive and loving.
Even though I’m not particularly religious, I liked Heaven Hears. While I don’t know that this book would top the reading lists of people who aren’t into religion or prayer, I enjoyed reading about Ryan Corbin’s recovery and the way people around the world prayed for him. I’m not sure prayer is the only reason he’s recovered as much as he has, but I have to agree that the mere fact that he’s alive and talking again is nothing short of miraculous. It’s good to see that his family is using his accident to better the lives of others through Ryan’s Reach.
For more information: http://www.ryansreach.com.
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