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Bell, "The Road Show" (reviewed by Beth Roach) Options · View
Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 4:52:07 AM

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Title: The Road Show
Author: Braden Bell
Publisher: Bonneville Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc., Springville, UT
Genre: Mormons--Fiction
Copyright: 2011
Cover: Softbound
Pages: 120
ISBN-10: N/A
ISBN-13: 978-1-59955-356-6
Price: $10.99

Reviewed by Beth Roach for the Association for Mormon Letters

Braden Bell draws on his extensive theatre training to write a new novel, “The Road Show,” about a group of faithful members who, while all struggling with feelings of emptiness and isolation, find their lives wrapped together into a miracle which changes their lives. The hero is Scott Jenson, a young single adult drama student working on his master’s program back East. He finds himself under a high pressure deadline to demonstrate inspiration and depth in his work in order to impress the faculty in his department. When he gets a last-minute assignment to write and direct the ward roadshow, it seems to be diametrically opposed to the direction he needs to be going. In fact, he can’t think of anything he finds more offensive than the schmaltzy songs, bad acting and atrocious scripts that seem to define most ward roadshows.

This thin volume is a quick read (just about the length of a youth dance) with characters that are varied and well drawn, all the main ones realistically human and easily recognized as residing in your ward, your home or visiting teaching families, or maybe even in your own home. By examining the lives of all of the roadshow cast members, the author shows that people with diverse backgrounds, interests, education levels, and trials can come together and create something better than anyone had imagined possible.

One person struggles with fighting off the temptation of pornography, another, pride, another, depression, another, loneliness, and the last, feelings of not being understood or accepted. For one reason or another, all these people feel abandoned outside the circle of love that they want to feel as members of the church and followers of Christ. They are all deeply yearning for a way to overcome the emptiness that haunts them. As they reach outside themselves to help others and prepare for their roles, they come to know the Savior as they have never known Him before. As the Atonement becomes personal for each one of them, they feel their burdens lifted and a gift of new sight and strength is received.

Even though the book is short and good dialogue and likable characters make the story move quickly, the message is powerful and universal: whoever we are, wherever we have been, the love of Jesus Christ is there for us and through His grace, we can feel the beauty of forgiveness and be carried into a new life.

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