Breakthrough by Joyce Smith // Book Review

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Disclaimer: I watched the movie “Breakthrough” before reading the book. So some of my opinions might come from both.


When Joyce Smith’s fourteen-year-old son John fell through an icy Missouri lake one winter morning, she and her family had seemingly lost everything. At the hospital, John lay lifeless for more than sixty minutes. But Joyce was not ready to give up on her son. She mustered all her faith and strength into one force and cried out to God in a loud voice to save him.

Miraculously, her son’s heart immediately started beating again.

In the coming days, John would defy every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction. Sixteen days after falling through the ice and being clinically dead for an hour, he walked out of the hospital under his own power, completely healed.

Breakthrough is about a profound truth: prayer really does work. God uses it to remind us that He is always with us, and when we combine it with unshakable faith, nothing is impossible.


What an amazing story! I have heard and read many stories similar to this one—of people defeating the odds—but this one was by far the most miraculous. I literally had goose bumps pretty much the entire time.
Told through the eyes of a mother who’s powerful faith and undeterred love held her family together through the most difficult time of their lives, Joyce Smith takes the reader deep down into the story of her son in Breakthrough. The author uses vivid explanations to describe the terrible day of the accident. She writes the scene so well, that the reader can almost feel the bite of the cold and the sharp edges of ice. I could picture in my mind the desperate search to bring John’s body above the ice, and the worry edged on every bystander’s face. Joyce also takes the reader into the days and weeks after the accident and all the thoughts that were racing through her mind. She lets the reader experience what it would be like to have a child experience such a terrible accident, and not know what is going to happen. However, even though Joyce knew John’s life was in God’s hands and He would decide whether John died or lived, she never lost her faith that God would heal John. Joyce’s example of faith is an inspiring example to always have faith in God through thick and thin. Not all stories have happy endings in our eyes, but like Joyce says in her book, every story is different and unique and God is writing each and every story specifically for that person. True faith is trusting that God is writing your own story uniquely for you and it is neither better nor worse than any other story.



  1. Kaelyn says:

    WOW!! That is such an incredible and powerful story!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Kaelyn says:

        YEAH!! 🙂


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