Yes, as a youth I was traumatized by many a road show, but somewhere along the way the road shows in my stake stopped. I heard rumors of budget cuts and reducing competition and probably a few other things. I guess I just assumed it was a Church-wide mandate not to do road shows anymore and personally I didn’t think I’d miss them. As far as I know none of the wards I’ve lived in since high school have participated in said activity, so imagine my surprise to find out road shows are alive and well in Utah. (You people just have to be strange, don’t you?) ;)
With visions of my own childhood road show nightmares dancing through my head, I honestly had no idea what to expect from a book by the same name. The cover was beautiful, but I suppose I still assumed it was stupid humor because that was my own experience with those events. But within reading the first few paragraphs I could tell this book wasn’t meant to be light and humorous. Do you remember the old Jack Weyland book The Understudy? The Road Show by Braden Bell had the same sort of feel for me.
Instead of stupid jokes and bad acting I found sincere intents in both the story line and the characters portrayed. With a theme such as “Our Savior’s Love” I came away from my reading experience just as filled as the characters were for their participation experiences. That had a down side though- there was a strong embarrassment factor. I finished, publicly bawling my eyes out, at the kid’s swimming lessons and was completely appalled with my display, but totally in love with this story. That’s a road show I really would have loved to see.
Anything I didn’t like? Well, when I first began reading The Road Show, I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it. The story begins with multiple snippets of the character’s lives, pointing out their difficulties and the areas where their testimony seems to be lacking. Even though the situations were real and poignant, the book itself didn’t really catch my interest until the call to direct the road show was extended. I think I would have preferred to have the character vignettes woven into the actual storyline a little more and have everything set up for me at the beginning a little less.
Still, this is a very powerful story and an even more valuable message. If you’re one who shudders at the mere mention of a road show don’t let the subject matter keep you from reading. This is one road show you’ll not regret spending your time with. You might even learn a few things about yourself along the way. I dare you to read The Road Show without being able to find a portion of yourself in one of the characters.
Need a good read to boost your spirits before buckling down for the dreaded Primary program practices or a renewal of energy for a Young Women’s or other church event? The Road Show just might be what the doctor ordered. This one goes on my “will re-read” and “will recommend” shelf. I’m so glad I picked it up, fears of stupid humor and bad musical numbers notwithstanding.