The Road Show by Braden Bell  

Posted by Heidi in

What does one say when one is contacted via email by a complete and utter stranger who has written a book that needs promoting and was told by some biggie-wig in the LDS blogging world that your blog was one he ought to be sure to check into?

1. Shout “Pshaw!” into your computer screen?

2. Immediately commence composing a reply explaining how you aren’t really popular, just good at making it look as if you are, (in which case, you truly aren’t a good choice for book promotion)?

3. Melt into a pool of butter the likes of which Land O’Lakes has never seen?

(I did all three, but you already knew that.)

For those of you who weren’t previously hyper aware of this fact, I am woefully susceptible to flattery which is why, a number of email communiqués later in which I was mentally and emotionally “handled” (“manipulated” is far too evil a word to attach to this guy) with great skill, I agreed to do a review of said stranger’s book on my blog . . .

. . . even after making it pretty clear to him that I didn’t want to have anything to do with reviewing books on my blog b/c I am a total wimp who doesn’t want to lie but doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of others, either, and sometimes it just has to be one or the other . . .
. . .even after explaining to him how ever since I learned I was going to have a book between official published covers, my internal editor has been such a screaming meanie that I can’t even read fiction for my own personal pleasure without tossing the book across the room in disgust (Regency Gold by Marion Chesney excluded) . . .
. . . even after telling him that LDS fiction is SO not my thing (I am pretty sure I read Charly when in high school but it was b/c I was babysitting and bored and it was sitting there on the couch, those big eyes staring up at me through wisps of blonde bangs, and I loved it but hated the sequel and have never really read LDS fiction since) (I blame you, Jack Weyland) (though I’m pretty sure it’s my natural state of “deeply romantic idealist” that ruined Sam for me just as it has huge chunks of my life) and that surely there were plenty of other, more appropriate, choices for a stop on his book blog tour than me, myself and I.

Ummmmmmmm, where was I? Oh, yes! In spite of all of that, he still asked and I still said yes. Why? Because said stranger, heretofore to be known as (pay attention—you’re going to be hearing this name a whole lot more in the not too distant future) Braden Bell, is utterly charming and a shameless flatterer to boot, and b/c my susceptibility to flattery is a much larger flaw in my character than my rather recent inability to read a piece of fiction without my internal editor yelling in my head (which is actually getting better--thanks so much for asking). And you know what? I’m so glad I did!!!

(Official disclaimer: I have purposely been avoiding other reviews written about this book b/c I want mine to be utterly original even if it’s not (in which case, I don’t want to know about it) therefore these thoughts and comments are 110% mine alone (or not so alone, in which case, I am glad for Braden’s sake, who is—did I mention?—an utterly charming fellow who I am happy to be able to say “I knew him when”).

(Going into official book review mode, now.)

When I first heard the title “The Road Show”, I was expecting said book to be a comedy, because, let’s face it, what is there about a road show that isn’t a laugh a minute? It wasn’t until I saw the cover of the book that I got a good picture of what could be going on backstage and that it wasn’t going to be one of those “How the Ward Turns” kind of books (which I enjoy, by the way). I knew this was the author’s freshman publication and wasn’t exactly sure what I would be facing but wanted to have an open mind since it wasn’t so long ago that my freshman effort was published and I could really relate to what this author might be feeling.

My first reaction was one of relief. This guy knows how to hook the reader from paragraph one, how to paint a picture in the mind with deft strokes and how to write about LDS people without sounding as if it was written by someone with no other perspective than that of an LDS person (though, I had to kind of chuckle to myself that there was absolutely no swearing in this book even though a character in particular is involved in much deeper sin than the occasional expletive). (What can I say?--I wasn’t raised in Utah. That being said, I don’t swear, either.) Sensing that I was about to experience a highly enjoyable ride, I hunkered down and read the book from beginning to end in one sitting.

I don’t want to give away too much of this book b/c discovery of who the characters are is what this book is all about (and b/c I'm one of those who reads for many other reasons than "what the book is about" b/c I enjoy learning that as I read and am self-centered enough to assume everyone is like that). Therefore I will limit my comments to saying that:

1. this book is full of characters at least one of which every LDS person will be able to relate to in one way or another (and a story in which all believers of Christ and his mission here on earth will be drawn to, regardless of denomination)

2. if the characters were not drawn as specifically LDS, The Road Show would be the next The Christmas Box, complete with ensuing Hallmark Hall of Fame movie

3. the characters are so lifelike and relatable, they seem to jump from the page

4. it’s a Not To Be Missed Must Read book that is full of hope for one and all

5. I am particularly excited to read what Mr. Bell has in store for his next book.

Never heard of Braden Bell before now? Mark my words, it won’t be long before everyone in the LDS community will know his name.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at Tuesday, June 01, 2010 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

20 wise, witty and wonderful comments

This is such a great review for clearly, a great book.

June 2, 2010 at 6:51 PM

::::APPLAUSE::: Ya done good, Missy!!
I totally envy that you were hand-picked to read and review Bro Bell's book. I can't wait to read it myself, it sounds like it's really something special.

June 2, 2010 at 7:56 PM

I heard rumblings about this at CBC. I might have to pick it up.

June 2, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Well, crap. Your review is identical to mine, now I have to go rewrite it! ;)

In all seriousness, I love your review. Made me chuckle, and yet you captured the spirit of the book beautifully. I am so with you on LDS fiction, also totally blame Weyland, but this book is truly something special.

June 2, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Hmm.. sounds good. I will have to look into this one.

June 3, 2010 at 6:35 AM

Yay! This is a great review Heidi! I'll have to check out the book! =)

June 3, 2010 at 7:09 AM

I'd love if authors were contacting me to review their books. That would be sweet!

I would have thought that it was a comedy as well, but looking at the cover it looks more dramatic. I'll have to check it out!

June 3, 2010 at 7:30 AM

I'm actually suprised you hadn't heard of Braden up until now. He seems to be everywhere!

Did he tell you I wrote a song to go along with his book?
You should check it out (and tell your readers to download it)
Braden has a clip of it on his trailer, and you can download it at my website.

June 3, 2010 at 8:24 AM

Good to know---I'm anxious to read this book now.

June 3, 2010 at 8:36 AM


That was a very generous review. I think you probably overstated my charm but since I have had far worse things said about me in my life, I'm going to pretend it's true and enjoy it!

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and write such a thoughtful review.

June 3, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Awwww... I guess I'll have to read it - even though I didn't make the reviewing cut... (no, I'm not bitter, just not as immensely popular :)

June 3, 2010 at 11:36 AM

So, I'm here because Braden said I should come here. But I only read the first half of your post... because like you, I want my review, to be written later this month, to be completely original. So, when you started reviewing, I stopped reading. I did, however, like you so much, after the first half of your post, I decided to stick around for a bit. So glad I did.

June 3, 2010 at 1:32 PM

OH goody, always looking for a good, clean book to read! Love you Heidi and your round about way of explaining something, I'm so there with you!!

p.s. I just read the stupidest book I was pulling my hair out the whole time! Guess who wrote it? JACK WEYLAND! hahaha

June 3, 2010 at 2:26 PM

Love the review! It sounds like a book that I will definately like! I am always looking for a good, clean, uplifting read. Thank you.

June 3, 2010 at 2:32 PM

I have read a couple of reviews of this book i am excited to read it!

you even make a book review something enjoyable to read Heidi!!

thanks so much

June 4, 2010 at 8:04 AM

This just put a huge smile on my face! Looking forward to reading The Road Show.

June 4, 2010 at 8:11 AM

Okay seriously, my post could be identical to MommyJ's.
Read the first half, laughed, then avoided the review since I need to put the finishing touches on mine.

I've seen your picture around MMB but have never made it over here! What was I thinking??

June 4, 2010 at 11:58 AM

How cool that you would be asked to do a review ----OBVIOUSLY as a fellow writer, you KNOW what your talking about.

I used to love roadshows and now will be have to try and find this book

June 4, 2010 at 2:54 PM

One of the most enjoyable reviews I have read!

Now I have another book to add to my list. I suppose I should actually write titles and authors down on an actual list and not rely on my memory, so I would actually _have_ a list.

June 10, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Braden sent me a copy of this book, which I need to read!!!!

June 11, 2010 at 7:48 PM

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