Martin A. Lopez’s Glimpsing Heaven is a lengthy, oversized book containing autobiographical material, poetry, spiritual musings, and persuasive pieces concerning the environment and global warming.
Lopez, an assistant district attorney practicing in Las Vegas, New Mexico, grew up as an adopted child in Gallup, New Mexico, and part of his narrative concerns his search for and the finding of his birth family. Another part stresses the changes brought about by the birth of his two children, Ali and Amadeo. “[W]ith the arrival of my children,” he states, “I became less self-centered and more empathetic than I had ever been before.”
Ali and Amadeo prompt Lopez to see how “nature and man are inextricably connected,” and how important it is to proactively work to save the environment. This leads to the book’s best sections, where he discusses the causes of global warming, the nearness and possible severity of climatic catastrophe, and what we can do, as individuals, to help heal the environment. These sections are thoughtful and well-researched, and provide numerous resources for future exploration.
Lopez’s poems, sprinkled throughout the book, range, topically, from “the beauty and brilliance/ of autumn in the Bosque,” to a litany against various types of pollution. While the author creates some striking images (i.e., “the roaring and roiling waters/ Convert our walking bridge into a sailing barge”), many of his lines lack the vibrant language of poetry and would easily fit into a fact-based essay. For example, in one poem, Lopez writes: “11% of all global human-caused greenhouse gas emissions/ Are caused by deforestation….”
The biggest problem with Glimpsing Heaven is that it reads like three books thrown together. If Lopez were to cut the poetry and biographical material, however, it would make an excellent handbook for global warming. As is, it’s hard to pinpoint a target audience for this wide-ranging book.
Also available as an ebook.