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Joe Willey
Heaven Is a Long Way to Go
Joe Willey, author
Book Summary: Heaven Is A Long Way to Go This non-fiction book takes the reader into the hopes, hardships, and tragedies of four generations of ambitious individuals, connected by lineage and marriage. They emigrated to America from Norway, England and the Isle of Man, seeking freedom and free lands offered by the federal Homestead Act. Settling in Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and Nebraska, they were challenged by economic humiliations, locust plagues, blizzards, prairie fires, accidents, and illness. There were good times too, like picnics, family bonding, and baseball! A source of hope for family members in difficult times was their belief in Seventh-day Adventism, a rapidly growing Christian denomination. They were sustained by their belief in an imminent Second Coming of Christ to earth, during which they would be taken to a safe and everlasting heaven. Author T. Joe Willey based his stories on research from old newspapers, letters, and other publications of the time, using historical methodology, not as a religious apologetic.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 6 out of 10
Overall: 6.50 out of 10


Plot/Idea: This faith-based memoir remains hopeful even in the face of immense hardships. Crossing multiple generations, the individuals portrayed here remain steadfast as Seventh-Day Adventists, rarely faltering in the face of adversity.

Prose: The words have a steady flow throughout and the occasional dialogue breathes life into the characters involved in the story. Details and imagery add color and life to the narrative, and the author uses well-chosen words, making the story feel like a true memoir instead of a timeline.

Originality: Whether the reader is a devout Seventh-Day Adventist or not, there is plenty to learn about this Christian faith as the text is well-executed. The author strikes an effective balance between daily life and a strong faith.

Character Development/Execution: The author is knowledgeable and well-versed in his subject. Black-and-white photos scattered throughout the text expose more about this family and their experiences. The table of contents serves as an outline for the reader, followed by a necessary postscript from the author’s wife.

Date Submitted: November 02, 2021