Title: The Long Road Home
Author: Pablo Yoder
Major Themes: Costa Rica
Synopsis: Pablo Yoder tells the story of his teenage years as a rebel in Costa Rica.
We have been reading Pablo Yoder’s books for many years. Not very many authors have the knack of making a true story read almost like a novel, but he does. His books inspire the reader to draw closer to God, and also inspire a sense of awe at what God can do in a life that has been deeply scarred by sin. We read The Long Road Home together as a family several years ago, but my 13-year-old wanted to hear it again, so I have just finished rereading it to them. This is a very long book (52 chapters!), but very worthwhile for all ages from early teens to quite old. I was glad that my teenage boys could hear it again.
Pablo’s family moved from Virginia to Costa Rica in 1968, when young Paul, who would soon become known as Pablo, was ten years old. He and his brothers immediately fell in love with the Tico culture. They had many wonderful adventures exploring the region around the Arenal Lagoon, where the family first settled. A volcano soon after their arrival added to the excitement, and learning to farm the Central American way kept the boys’ interest. The amazing variety of wildlife and plants enthralled them as well. Church life added another dimension to life, as more Mennonite families from the States moved down to help the new outreach, and some native people showed interest in the Lord.
Within a few years, however, the once-happy Pablo turned into a rebellious, angry young man who was deep into perversion and filthy talk. For several years, he and the gang of boys he had gotten together got into as much trouble as they could, including running away from home a few times. Could God possibly break through the tough shells these boys had built around themselves?
There is so much adventure in this story that it holds your interest all the way through. At the same time, there is much wisdom sprinkled throughout the pages, and, although it is hard to watch the downward spiral of a bunch of boys, the end of the story is glorious. This is a good book for parents of boys, especially, to read. Pablo has shared some of the mistakes his parents made, as well as the good things they did, and he has very clearly shown the power of God to transform lives.
There were many passages I enjoyed. One that stood out was when a Christian psychologist visited the family. Pablo’s Mom was quite embarrassed about all the animals around the house, which not only looked messy, but didn’t smell nice, either, and she apologized for the mess. He told her not to apologize; that she was doing a wonderful thing in allowing her boys to develop their interests and talents. I guess that struck me because I have a number of boys who have their own interests, and end up with some messy-looking projects underway most of the time. It was encouraging to read that paragraph.
WARNING: Pablo mentions over and over that he and his friends were deeply involved in perversion, but that is all he ever says about what it was.
Read Aloud—Ages 10 – 13, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults