Highway to Hell by Matt Roper

Highway to Hell is the story of two men who literally turn their lives upside down to reach and rescue girls caught up in child prostitution in Brazil. An inspirational and moving account, the author holds few punches in describing the horrors of what it is to live as a young girl along the BR-116 highway in Brazil. The book describes the trauma experienced by girls sold into sexual slavery as young as 9 years old, girls whose parents literally rejoiced in their birth because of the income stream they represented.

More than anything, through, the book exposes the depths of human wickedness whe the heart has no hope for a brighter future. And that is where my struggle with the book lies. For all the horrors and atrocities shared by the author, and for all the good work he is doing to combat child prostitution in Brazil (including giving up his job and moving to Brazil from London to open a rescue home and even obtaining legal custody of one of the girls), there is rarely a mention of an eternal hope anywhere in the book. While there are 4 or 5 references to “God” and “prayer” in the book, there is no identification of who that God is.

Don’t get me wrong – the book provided great inspiration to do something to combat evil, and even though I’m not sure if Matt is a follower of Jesus or not be appears to be doing more for “the least of these” than most Christians I know, and I don’t want to diminish that. What I do need to recognize is that for all the horrors these girls have endured, they will be nothing compared to what is to come without the gospel, and that’s where the book falls short: it provides an answer for this life, but it never addresses the one to come.

Overall I’ll give the book 3.5 stars. For the record, I did receive a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily favorable, review.


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