This book is loosely based on a true story. Mr. Fabry received an email from a fan of his about this man, Billy Allman. The book is about Billy and the angel who follows his life from age 10 to his late 40's. Billy lives a quiet life playing the mandolin and building his own radio station in his home. Malachi, the angel, doesn't understand what exactly is so important about Billy and his life but as he observes him he soon realizes that Billy Allman is more than meets the eye.
Mr. Fabry does a great job telling his tale from not only Billy's perspective, but Malachi the angel's as well. Now I'm not saying Mr. Fabry was spot on and that what he wrote is exactly how angel's feel and think but considering that these beings are such a mystery to us, I think he did really good job. It was interesting that Malachi often referred to how confusing humans and their ways are to him when, at the same time, we can say the same things about them. Malachi struggles to understand why certain events happen to Billy and why he was unable to interfere but his trust and allegiance to his Master challenges us to trust our G-d with such childlike faith even when we don't understand the things that go on in our lives. Malachi is only an angel with no free will but still he knows that G-d is taking care of Billy and his job is to only observe and act when directed.
Billy is the definition of a humble servant and childlike innocence. All he does is to help other people and to tell them of the message of Salvation even to the point where his needs are pushed aside (which can sometimes become fatal to him.) The reader will immediately become attached to Billy and find themselves celebrating his victories and sighing with sadness over his misfortunes.
While the story is very well written, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of 18. Mr. Fabry addresses issues of rape and sexual child abuse. While the issues are handled well personally I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone under that age group because some of the scenes are pretty intense and a little graphic.
This book receives a 3 out of 5 rating from me (see side bar for book review scale). It's not that the book was bad, as a matter of fact, it was very good it just wasn't really my taste. But I hope that doesn't stop you from following Malachi in observing Billy's life!
P.S. While Almost Heaven is not a sequel, you might want to read Mr. Fabry's June Bug as the stories do intertwine and Almost Heaven reveals parts of June Bug.
P.P.S. You can get Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry at your local LifeWay Christian Book Store.