Alex Malarkey in 2009. Photo by John Kuntz/The Plain Dealer/Landov
*It seems Alex Malarkey, the boy who wrote what turned out to be a best-selling book detailing his journey to heaven and back during the two months he spent in a coma was “full of malarkey,” as they say in The Bronx. He has now recanted his story and the publisher is subsequently pulling the book.
Now 17, Alex wrote The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven with his father, Kevin Malarkey. He had been in a car crash in 2004 that left him paralyzed. The memoir, published in 2010 as part of the popular “heavenly tourism genre,” detailed his “recollections” of talking to Jesus Christ and even meeting with the devil. Since its publication, the book has sold more than one million copies, according to the Washington Post.
But Malarkey has apparently grown up and along with that, gained a conscience. On Tuesday, Pulpit and Pen published a letter from Malarkey, entitled “An Open Letter to Lifeway and Other Sellers, Buyers, and Marketers of Heaven Tourism, by the Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven.” Lifeway is a chain of religious book retailers.
“Please forgive the brevity, but because of my limitations I have to keep this short. I did not die. I did not go to Heaven,” Malarkey writes. “I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth. Anything written by man cannot be infallible.”
But there is one person who never bought the story in the first place. Surprising, its Alex’s mother, Beth Malarkey. In an April, 2014, post on her blog, she wrote,
“It is both puzzling and painful to watch the book The Boy who Came Back from Heaven to not only continue to sell, but to continue, for the most part, to not be questioned. …
She continued, “I could talk about how much it has hurt my son tremendously and even make financial statements public that would prove that he has not received monies from the book nor have a majority of his needs been funded by it. …
When Alex first tried to tell a ‘pastor’ how wrong the book was and how it needed [to be] stopped, Alex was told that the book was blessing people. “
The post implies that Malarkey recanted his story long ago, though Tuesday’s was his first public statement. The post concludes, “Alex’s name and identity are being used against his wishes…. How can this be going on???” According to the Washington Post, the book contract was only with Kevin Malarkey, not with Alex or his mother.
Today, the Christian publisher Tyndale House released a statement confirming it will stop selling the book. “We are saddened to learn that Alex Malarkey, co-author of ‘The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven,’ is now saying that he made up the story of dying and going to heaven. Given this information, we are taking the book out of print.” Lifeway has announced that it will no longer sell the book in its stores.
Read how a family therapist justifies Malarkey’s incredible lie by visiting Yahoo News.