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am 13. September 1998
I have just completed "What Dreams May Come" which I came across, quite accidentally, at a local book store. Although I have read extensively about reincarnation and afterlife I had never heard of the book or the author. In fact, I was in therapy with Brian Weiss, M.D. after reading his books about reincarnation. His efforts were kind but I could not "let go", nor find answers to the questions I had about the afterlife. This book, however, is very assertive and direct.
My one criticism is that although Mr. Matheson portrays his story as "fiction" he adds a letter in the beginning of the novel, saying the book is all true except the fictionalized characters. This left me feeling a bit unfinished my self when I read the book. I needed to understand more about him and why he so ardently believes the story he wrote. It would be wonderful to have a dialoogue with the author who remains anonymous, to some extent, because his novel tells the story for him.
I suffered the terrible, tragic, still unexplained loss of my daughter in late 1980, and have spent much time trying to understand the depths amd breadth of that which remains mysterious. And of those tragedies for which we are unprepared. And the strong sense that all these things are occuring as a part of a plan.
More,recently, I have tried to "let go" of my daughter because I had the real sense that prolonged longing and grief were bad for her soul--but how do I know that soul really exists? As a "believer" I seem to be something of a doubter as well...
However, I do not want to paint a grave picture, my life is full of light too, not only tragedy, and fear and grief. I wrote a book call "White Light" before I knew or heard of the phrase in metaphysical terms.
The book, held fascination, it is on the edge of hope if only Mr. Matheson would come forward. However, when I finish this document I am buying it and sending it to two friends: one who lost a son last summer and one who needs to read Mr. Matheson's words.
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am 25. März 1999
" What Dreams May Come " is one of the best novels I've read in years. Extremely thought provoking concerning what happens to us in the afterlife and how maybe we should think about what kind of life we are living right now. If you saw the movie but didn't get much from it, you have to read the book, it is so much more than a vehicle for Hollywood.
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am 10. November 1998
I read "What Dreams May Come" in the early 80's, some time after reading some of the writings of Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. Matheson encapsulated the essence of her writings scientifically, but imbued the storyline with a reality and an emotive feel far beyond what I expected. His characters, their weaknesses and strengths almost step out of the pages, his goodness and belief, his strength of character, all these things shine through. I loved the book, I bought copies for friends, and then it was out of print. Now its back I shall stock up, because this is a life changing experience. Since reading the novel I've read more Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, and several biographical stories by English comedian Michael Bentine. It all adds up. So when the film was released I dragged my wife along, and despite fine performances from Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding, felt the screenplay missed the boat. The characters are given too much intensity, the death of the children is used to attempt to justify the wife's suicide, and the journey to hell isn't anywhere near as good as the book. In short, its been overdone with emotional overlays, and the result is a too sweet pudding, as opposed to the magnificent three course meal of the book. Buy it, read it, keep it, and give a copy to your kids (along with any Kubler-Ross and Bentine you can lay your hands on. A final word to religious fundamentalists who dismiss this work as mistaken or dangerous. It is as valid, if not more so, than any belief. It upholds universal brotherhood, and the one undeniable bottom line in religion, we all worship the same God, we just interpret God differently.
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am 2. März 2000
A lot of this book made sense to me--the idea that we create our own destinies and that forgiveness of even the worst sin is possible through genuine repentance and hard work to make one's self worthy of it. Being raised in a Christian environment, I was never able to reconcile the idea of eternal punishment for the misdeeds of a relatively brief lifespan with the preaching of Jesus himself, who called for forgiveness 'seventy times seven'. But many things in this book bothered me. I've been all over the map with religion, from fundamentalism to atheism to outright defiance and rebellion against God, and now would describe myself as a 'doubtful believer', but in my search for the truth, I was always turned off by such phrasings as "etheric double" and "aura" and "soul mate"--too New Agey and flakey to be believed. Also, Matheson's suggestions for further reading include books by the thoroughly discredited Edgar Cayce (from whom he got the term 'Summerland' for Heaven--kind of a kindergartenish name to use for a place of introspection and growth). Still, his concept of life after death seemed much more just than those other models we are given from Western religions--in which souls are dealt with according to how very immature and vengeance-minded human beings would deal with people they disagreed with, rather than how Ultimate Wisdom would take care of his creation. This book is a good, if deeply flawed, starting point for those who are interested in the concept of life after death.
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am 6. November 1998
I've wanted to see the movie since it's release and glad I didn't until I read the book! I was very disappointed that the movie totally missed the author's meanings. This book is one of hope, inspiration and realization that yes, you are the only one responsible for your earthly actions and choices because of free will endowed to us but also love can be a powerful thing both here and in the hereafter. The author was not saying you have to be willing to give up your eternal soul for the love of someone but love and it's essence can be the ultimate expression to help someone so desparate that they can't help themselves see beyond their own miseries ( the blinding veil ). Jesus said, " Of all the commandments I give you the greatest one is Love! " Love can supercede the boundries of death and may not release someone from their purgence but will make it more bearable for its endurance. The movie does fall short of the author's intent by expressing a nonconsequencial judgement by choosing to end one's life before it is fully played out which is incorrect but the producers were looking for a marketable approach for a highly charged and emotional subject. Stick with the book.
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am 26. Juli 1999
Before I review the book, I just want to briefly say, don't diss the movie! It's a marvelous adaptation of this marvelous book. I guess the subject matter was simply too heavy for some moviegoers & critics, but not me! And the film's Oscar win for Best Visual Effects was WELL-deserved, indeed. Having said that....I love Richard Matheson's original novel as well. I couldn't put it down! As far as I'm concerned, the story of Chris & Annie beats by a zillion miles the love stories of Romeo & Juliet, Jack & Rose from "Titanic," and all other love stories for that matter. It's a love story that touches my heart & soul, and expands my beliefs about what possibly awaits us when our time here is through. Of course, "Dreams" doesn't *prove* anything about the afterlife, but it sure leaves me hopeful about what it may be like. Matheson definitely did his research when he wrote this story, and I thank him for that. A gorgeous novel AND a gorgeous film, "What Dreams May Come" is a true classic story of romantic love, the love of family, and love that conquers life AND death. I can't recommend it enough! Thanks, Richard. :-)
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am 3. August 1998
I read What Dreams May Come when it first came out. It is one of the best books about reincarnation that I have ever read, after all these years, I still have my original hardcopy, I have recommeded the book many times to friends and anyone who will listen to me. I am so happy that it is being reprinted, at last and very excited about the Robin Williams movie, I just hope the movie can live up to Richard Matheson"s beautiful book. My daughter died of Leukemia in 1978, reading this book helped me with my grief process. I have read it so many times, and I guess my only fear, when I read it the first time was that she, too, would choose to "come back" before I could see her again. Now I know that she is always with me and I have set her soul free to be "where she wants to be" Thank you Mr. Matheson for writing such an inspiring book.
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am 6. März 2000
A book that took my breath away. Abandon any preconceptions you may have about God, heaven, hell, and life after death, and let yourself be immersed in this truly unique interpretation of one man's vision of love and spirituality. An incredible story about love and devotion, deeply laced with a philosophy of life after death that embraces the oh-so-hard-to-find common links between all religions.
Forget the movie, this book is way too deep to be translated on to film. My husband literally dusted the furniture around me as I sat transfixed, unable to put the book down until the very end.
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am 3. Oktober 1998
Someone lent this book to me about 15 years ago. I loved it so much, I tried to find a copy for my personal library. Unfortunately, it was out of print. Therefore, I photocopied it before returning it to my friend, and I have reread it four or five times since then. What impresses me so much about this book is its vivid portrayals not only of the afterlife "scenery" but also of the lifestyles there. I'm convinced that Matheson could not have gleaned all of this information solely from the books in his widely-selected bibliography. He must have visited the afterlife himself, either in his dreams or through communications with a loved one who had gone on to the afterlife. Shortly after I came to this conclusion, a dear friend died of cancer, and I was able to maintain contact with her afterwards. I would go into a meditative state and connect with her consciousness, and she would show me where she was and what she was doing. In effect, she gave me a guided tour to the afterlife. I was amazed to see many similarities (and, admittedly, many differences) to the descriptions that Matheson so vividly portrayed. I believe Matheson's beautiful novel touches all of us so deeply because it reaches into the deepest part of our inner being that is still connected to those other realms of consciousness that we call the afterlife. Within that deepest part of ourselves, we can see and feel what Matheson portrays so beautifully and know that it is true. I am truly grateful that What Dreams May Come has been rediscovered and republished so that it may give another generation of readers the pleasure, enlightenment, and wisdom that it has given me over the years.
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am 28. November 1998
I would like to say it was the cover of the re-release of this book that drew me to it, but the beautiful story inside is what kept me riveted for a whole day. I stayed up until 4 am to finish this book, I couldnt put it down. A good friends daughter passed away last year (she was only 7) and every since then I have been desperate to read anything I can that will offer me and my friend comfort in knowing that she is ok, that she will be waiting for us when its our time. I have also had a friend that had a near death expereience, and combined with all of this, I am not and never will be afraid of death. I dont want to die, for my life here is still far from finished, but when it is my time I will not fear what awaits me. I am not a particularily religious person, I believe in God and Jesus, but yet I dont think that a loving father would condemn even the most hardened soul to an eternity of hell. Such a person will deal with what awaits them , but yet, even for them they are given another chance. I will not debate the moral or religious applications of this story, for that is each persons right to do after reading this. But for a truly wonderful heart lifting story, please, read this and pass it on to as many as you can. The love story in itself is truly amazing, and will cause even the iciest of hearts to melt, especially when he gets to the part where he thanks his wife for all shes done. NOTHING has touched my heart so deeply..... This book is a treasure!!!
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