I have a somewhat reliable system for rating books over on Goodreads. If I really hated it, I give it one star. If it was okay, I give it two stars. If I really liked the book, it probably got three stars. If I loved it, stayed up all night reading it and couldn’t put it down, it most likely got four. I save my five star ratings for those books that I not only love, read all night and couldn’t put down, but also changed me somehow. These are the books that stay with me long after I have read them, and cause me to rethink the way I am living my life. Simply put, I only give five stars to a book that has made me a better person because I have read it.
The Road Show by Braden Bell is one of those books.
If you were going to judge this book by its title only, you might think it is along the comedic lines of the crazy LDS movies that are out there, like The Singles Ward or The Home Teachers, because road shows are supposed to be hilarious.
But you’d be completely wrong.
Not many books hit as close to home for me as this one did. But of course, because of our universal struggles with weakness and sin and our absolute need for the Savior, I think this book will probably hit every reader just as closely to home as it did me.
The book centers around 5 characters who are each dealing with their own individual struggles. Sin, addiction, depression, health problems, loneliness, and pride are all represented. I related very well to these characters, because I know them. They are my family. They are my friends. They are my neighbors. They are me.
As each of these characters comes together to participate in the ward road show, the assigned theme of “Our Savior’s Love” becomes more than just the expected, stereotypical, cheesy performance. They each discover the healing power of the atonement, and as I read, I rediscovered the same healing power.
Although each character’s story seems to be tied in a lovely little bow at the end, I feel that it is important to note that that is exactly what the Atonement is capable of doing. He takes all of our sin and weakness and misery and he makes it better. We only have to believe, and come unto Him. It is not trite—it is true.
I have not stopped thinking about this book since I read it. It affected me greatly, and because of it, I am re-evaluating the struggles I face in my life and my own relationship with the Savior.
I know that I have many readers who are not LDS, but are of other Christian faiths. Even though the characters in this book are definitely Mormon, the message is universal. Jesus Christ took upon Himself our sins, our weakness, our infirmities, and our fears and He heals us.
I cannot urge you enough to order this book.
I’m warning you though, if you read those first four chapters, you will be hooked.
It’s really that good.