I divide Atwater's book into two parts. The first half is an interesting overview of the near-death experience (NDE). The second half deals with New Age-like, occult-like issues that depart from NDE. The second section is so New Age-y and off-the-point (and so counter to my beliefs religious and otherwise), that I could only stand to thumb through it. This half of the book contains the silly remarks that draw many complaints in reviews. The purpose of the book really seems to promote interest in all sorts of occult practices (especially in light of her anti-Christian attitude, described below, and her occupation as a psychic advisor and as a writer in occult topics). My questioning of her motive for this "bait-and-switch" book is supported by her wanderings into non-NDE topics (such as the alien abduction) and her claims to have had every type of paranormal experience (including both types of "walk in" phenomena: now that she has a different soul, doens't that make her a different person?).
Secondly, I object to Atwater's contemporary politically correct way of joyfully respecting all belief systems and cultures except for Christianity. Christians come in all varieties and cannot be stereotyped. In every reference to Christians the tension begins and Ms. Atwater never misses an opportunity to stab them in the back and twist the knife. She can't be respectful to Christianity at all for one second. Not once. I think that this blind anger invalidates her overall judgment and might turn readers away from more NDE research. How can I trust someone whose writing is always biased and whose conclusions are partial? Real research must be objective, but Atwater redefines the word.
One of the most astonishing things about the book was the jealousy the author speaks of. If NDEs are short voyages to death and the experience generally develops one's personality and conscience, it is interesting to see experiencers who are still selfish and go after fame and success in a very negative manner.
I loved the book, because I believe the author is open and sincere with her subject. I am reading the Complete Idiot's Guide... right now and it is as good as this one.