Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lloyd C. Douglas's "The Robe"...A Book Review

The Robe*

I was looking for a new audiobook because I had finished the last one and needed something to listen to. I checked the local library's available audiobooks and didn't see any I wanted to check out. I then pulled up our Audible.Com account to see what was there. We have mostly classics in our Audible library. We first got it when I was in grad school and since my major was English, it was a great way to get in my required "reading." We've kept the account, but we usually get books for the kids.

There were two new books we bought at Audible, The Robe and Ben-Hur (you can probably tell what the kids are studying...). I've not read either.

I picked The Robe to read first. The book's been around since 1942. It's one of those books that you see and think, "I should read that; so many people have." I remember seeing the end of the movie with Richard Burton, so I knew how it would end. Still, any book about Christ has some already known sections for the reader.

What a great book!

Back when I was on my LDS mission in Europe I had a companion who...well, let's just say the actions in his pre-mission life weren't always a shining example of how a young Mormon boy should act. This is based on things he said about growing up. He was a rebel and a bit lost after he graduated from high school. Then, two things happened to him (I apologize if my memory is lacking as to the particulars--it's been almost 30 years since I heard the story...). He started dating a gal who had a huge effect on the decisions he made, and he read The Robe. He said the book changed his life.

After reading it, I believe him.

The story takes a character mentioned in the Bible then tells the story of that man's conversion to Christianity. I think one can credit the book's longevity to the story's believability. I suppose many modern-day Christens believe that if they lived in Jerusalem when Christ lived, they too would embrace the Savior's message and become a disciple. It's easy to believe this could happen to a Roman. The fictional depiction of the man, his slave and his family makes sense.

The story reached me. It's written in a style that I enjoy both reading and writing, that is, highlighting someone we know nothing about then using facts we are familiar with to create the character's world. I'm sure many of you have read The Robe and have come away with impressions as individual and different as we are to each other. To me, this marks a great story, one that touches the reader in a way that's special to them. Every book does this, to some extent, but the books we read decades after they're written do it better than others. I guess I'll need to start Ben-Hur now.

* Photo used without permission from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/219919.The_Robe?from_search=true

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