A few months ago, Khouria Christine Rogers sent me a copy of her new book, The Road to Golgotha to review. Getting copies of books to review is one of my favorite parts of this job (the English major in me always geeks out a bit at free books!). However, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Kh. Christine’s description of the book.
An imaginative retelling of the events of Holy Week? Short stories told from the perspectives of various people who witnessed those events? Would this end up being totally cheesy? Would it mess with my understanding of and awe of Christ’s death and resurrection?
So, with a fair amount of anxiety and trepidation, I began to read The Road to Golgotha.
A Review of The Road to Golgotha
The Road to Golgotha is a collection of short stories that retell the events of Holy Week from Lazarus Saturday through Pascha. A neighbor of Lazarus, a servant in the house of Caiaphas, a thief who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, a Roman guard, and even a demon each narrate the cosmic story of salvation as seen through their daily lives. The characters change from story to story (except, of course, those characters from the biblical story), allowing the reader to see Christ and Holy Week from different perspectives. The book begins with Lazarus sick and on his deathbed and ends with Peter saying, “Indeed He is Risen!”
What I Liked About the Book
1. Short Stories
I haven’t read a collection of short stories for awhile, but I really enjoy the genre. I kept the book in my purse and pulled it out whenever I had a spare minute or two. Short stories are perfect for this purpose. I could generally read an entire story in five minutes, so it was easy to fit in some reading at random intervals throughout the day. If you would like to read more but don’t have large blocks of time to dedicate to reading, a collection of short stories may be the perfect way to start.
2. Distinctly Orthodox
I absolutely loved that The Road to Golgotha was distinctly Orthodox. Many of the quotes found at the beginning of each story are taken directly from hymns of the various services of Holy Week. Also, some of the stories themselves borrow heavily from the traditions of the Church. For example, in the story told by Dismas (the penitent theif on the cross) Rogers brings together all of the traditions surrounding him–including his first encounter with Christ and the Theotokos on their journey to Egypt.
After reading The Road to Golgotha, I found myself thinking of it randomly throughout my daily routine. Certain images or encounters people had with Christ would come to mind. This led me to pray, to marvel at Christ’s death and resurrection, or to read more in the Scriptures. These are always good things!
With each review I write, I like to honestly express any critiques or concerns I have. These are personal opinions that you might disagree with, so take them with a grain of salt.
- Errors This is a self-published book (which I highly support, having done the same myself!), and there are a few grammatical errors or typos throughout. While certainly not a reason to avoid the book, my overly-aware, grammar-teacher self noticed them.
- One story bothered me. The story told from a demon’s point of view bothered me personally. The story takes place in Hades and dramatically shows Christ’s conquering of hell and freeing those held captive. Although many other authors have written from a demon’s point of view for the purpose of instructing or encouraging believers (perhaps most notably C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters ), I usually try to avoid it. Again, this is a personal preference.
Who This Book is For
The Road to Golgotha by Kh. Christine Rogers is the perfect book for:
- A book club of Orthodox men or women
- A Church School teenage class
- Personal reading and reflection during Great Lent and Holy Week
- Present for a teenage godchild or grandchild
- An Orthodox church library
I was glad to read The Road to Golgotha and look forward to pulling it out again during Lent.
(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are completely my own!)
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