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On the Road to Heaven

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  42 reviews
From the author of "Latter Days: A Guided Tour Through Six Billion Years of Mormonism" comes this exuberant and groundbreaking autobiographical novel about the modern Mormon convert experience. Revealing the author's hard-won path to meaning, faith, and forgiveness, "On the Road to Heaven" is a love story about a girl and a guy and their search for heaven-a lotta love, a l ...more
Paperback, 348 pages
Published August 13th 2007 by Zarahemla Books
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  97 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Jonathan Langford
Jan 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
While I found the style a bit uneven, the experience was well-told and resonated with mine. I was raised a Mormon in western Oregon, while the main character in Newell's book was raised as a tree-hugging hippie in Colorado before becoming a Mormon, but still he did a better job of explaining part of what appeals to me about being a Mormon better, perhaps, than any other book I've yet read.
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mormons. Beware others: he may entice you! I warned you!
Shelves: nonfiction, to-buy
SO GOOD. I gobbled it up. I adored Coke Newell's book Latter Days, so when I heard he had written an "autobiographical fiction" I snapped it up. He didn't disappoint.
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The inspiring conversion story of a 70's-era, Rocky Mountain-high hippie.
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it
When a book is advertised as an "autobiographical novel" you are left to constantly wonder what is autobiography and what is fiction - especially when you're acquainted with the author (I met him briefly when I worked at the Church).

The book tells the story of Kit West. In the first half he grows up in the Colorado mountains as a long-haired, philosophy-reading, pot-smoking, society-rejecting hippie. He meets Annie, who has run away from home to escape her parent's "religious fanaticism" after t
Kay Carman
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: service, mormonism
I read a positive review of this book in a BYU magazine and was intrigued because Newell was the person from the Church's office of Public Affairs who helped me with the chapter on Mormonism about five years back when I edited a book on building religious collections for teens published by Libraries Unlimited.

It's classified as autobiographical fiction, and tells the story of a mountain hippie boy growing up in Colorado, converting to Mormonism at 17, and then serving a mission in Colombia. It'
Jun 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is searching for the truth
Recommended to Teri by: some author friends
Coke Newell is an extroadinary writer. I got SOOO much out of this journey through Coke'[s autobiographical odyssey through two phases of life. I thoroughly enjoyed how he put his life to hell in the first half, then his Road to Heaven in the second half.

This journey through is life as a Colorado hippe boy who communes with nature, Kereoack and communes with Native American Indians is great.

He finds who he is through his closenesswith nature and where God is. His Missionary experiences are wha
Nov 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: tried-to-read
If you are going to write a book about your religious conversion and certain miracles you have experienced make it a memoir. The tag 'autobiographical novel' bothers me. What is real? What is exaggerated or simply made up?

The work loses a lot of appeal because these questions keeps plaguing the reader. I liked the first part of this book, loved the nature writing and all the hippie stuff. Loved his exploration of mysticism, Native American religions, Ram Dass, Thoreau. I could relate so well to
Gerald Heath
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great story of LDS conversion and missionary work. This semi-autobiographical fictional work by Coke Newell describes the conversion of a young Colorado hippy in the early 1970's and his subsequent mission to Colombia. While this book is a bit too open to be a Deseret book, (For example, the young convert has to learn a couple of weeks after his baptism that marijuana use is against the word of wisdom), it presents a very honest and spiritual story of finding the gospel, and hanging onto it, a ...more
Jun 02, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was a counterbalance to the Backslider. It was the story of a young man's coversion to the LDS church then gave a pretty detailed description of his mission to South America. It was positive and uplifiting and I enjoyed reading it because I could relate to many of the experiences of this young man. I calculated the young man was just a couple of years younger than me. Although it had a positive and uplifting tone I think the author tried to be honest about the challenges in the mission ...more
Sep 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
C Jane recommended this book on her blog. I really enjoyed his conversion story. I think that the first half of the book was excellent and the second half was good, although I stayed up half the night because I had to see how it ended. I am always fascinated by what really draws people to find truth. He does an excellent job translating how he felt such a yearning to understand the purpose of life. I really hope that our book club picks this in the next few months so that I can really discuss so ...more
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
What a delightful book - the journey of a self-proclaimed mountain freak (or as the About the Author section describes him: a former tree-hugging, Zen-spouting, vegetarian Colorado hippie)from tumultuous youth to converted Mormon serving a full-time mission in Colombia. Down-to-earth and replete with detail, this "fiction/autobiographical novel" is an easy read that feels both intimate as well as universal. We will probably use this for a family-read-aloud book with Davy in a year or two. I cert ...more
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I found the first part of the book, before Kit's conversion, a bit hard to get into. I have little interest in hippie freaks, their music, or lifestyle. But, I'm glad I stuck with it. I enjoyed his conversion to Mormonism, and the best part, his missionary experiences in Colombia, the good, the bad, and the ugly. He puts it all out there. This is an autobiographical novel, so one wonders how much is truth and how much is embellishment. Some reviewers claim to know that only names have been chang ...more
Jun 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
I found this to be a delightful conversion story, written as "autobiographical fiction." The first half describes the author as a Colorado hippie teenager in the 70s, and the second half tells of his susequent mission to Colombia. An enjoyable account of a less-than-traditional LDS boy's experience, complete with quotes from Jack Kereouac's "On the Road." ...more
Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It was recommended on one of the blogs that I read, so I picked it up and I'm glad I did. The whole time I was reading it, I thought it was an autobiography (not an autobiographical novel) and I couldn't figure out why the author and the person telling the story had different names. Duh! In spite of that, it is a good conversion/missionary story, but not necessarily the type of story you would expect from an LDS author. I would recommend this book.
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What can I say to convince you to read this book? I didn't realize until after I finished it that it was an autobiographical novel, which makes me love it even more.
It's a love story, sure, but it's more about one person's journey to personal conversion and finding truth and sharing it with the people of Columbia. It was so... real. Don't let me mess things up by trying to describe the beautiful descriptions and sheer honesty in this book. Just go read it already!
Mary Etta
Sep 10, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Mary Etta by: Nan
Nan gift, highly recommended by she and Don.

I enjoyed the read. The author's writing style is refreshingly his own, not contrived to meet the standard of a particular publisher as is often the case with LDS fiction writers. I read it as a book of fiction based on the author's personal experiences. I doubt there is another LDS mission- related story published that freely expresses many young men's challenges and bonuses of serving an LDS mission as well as this does.
Feb 18, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, mormon-books
This book is an autobiographical novel of a boy trying to find the meaning of life. I had a really problem reading this book and almost quite a number of times until I reached chapter 18. The rest of the book made it worth the read. When I was done I decided that if I had read the first three chapters than chapter 7 and 8 and the moved to chapter 15. It would have been a great book.
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My daughter had to read this book for a class and she recommended it, so I read it and loved it. It was so nice to have a book like this without cheesy fake conversations. Coke Newell did a good job of telling his story. I'm glad he put in the bad stuff as well as the good. I thought it was uplifting. I have found out that this book is all true except the names have been changed.
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lds
This is a remarkable book. I highly recommend it to family and friends. I think I will buy a copy so I can lend it. A surprisingly fast read. Much of it is set in the Colorado mountains that I loved as a child. Made me wish I spent more time outdoors.
Oct 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
This very realistic fictional account of the conversion of a teenage hippie during the 1970's and his subsequent mission to Colombia was a real page turner for me . . . especially the missionary part since I also served in Colombia at about that same time.
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I couldn't put this book down and finished it in one day. His story of going from a life of no religion to being totally immersed and teaching others about his newfound is inspiring. I would strongly consider purchasing this book and adding it to my library.
Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: superb
I read this while I was taking a Mormon Lit class. I loved it! It took me a little while to read though. I have read Jack Kerouk's On The Road, in which this book is paying homage to, and that also took me a little while to read. While they were very similar I liked this one much much better!!
Feb 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Trevor
This is a great story about a nature loving Colorado hippie from the seventies who converts to Mormonism. It's inspiring, funny and compelling. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Apr 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fascinating autobiographical novel about a hippie mountain kid turned Mormon missionary. Real and at times gritty. I'd like to see more LDS fiction like this.
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it
The story (if you like Mormon conversion stories) was totally good. The writing...not so much. It was disjointed and hard to follow (especially in the beginning) and I almost quit a few times.
Aug 14, 2008 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, I just couldn't get into it until his conversion and his mission to Columbia which was amazing.
Aug 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Michael by: Betsy
This book is great for anyone who is a mormon or curious about mormonism.
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
This book grew on me as I got to know the author better through seeing why/how he made the choices he did as he went from a tree-hugger to a missionary.

It was a quick easy read.
Lynn Tanner
Apr 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Fiction, based on a young man's conversion story to the LDS Church.
Jul 16, 2009 rated it liked it
My first adventure in Mormon fiction. It is a great story (colorado moutain hippy turns Mormon missionary), but the narrative comes off amateurish.
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Coke Newell is a fourth-generation Westerner (Colorado) grateful to have been immersed since childhood in the environmental ethic of John Muir, Black Elk, Aldo Leopold, and Wendell Berry. His formal training in both the natural sciences (B.A., Colorado State University) and cultural interpretations of environmental thought (M.S., Montana State University) have informed his career in journalism and ...more

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