"Toaster Road" is the compelling story of a new LDS convert and his experience in an alien, Mormon, environment--Rexburg, Idaho. The hero has a bumpy ride, unsure of what he should do, what he can do, and how to chart his course among a people so different from everything he is used to. The story is told with a strong and personal voice, authentic and engaging. The settings are vivid and moving, making the reader feel that they are, for example, in a twilit wilderness hearing the song "I am a Child of God" for the very first time.
The story is not saccharine or predictable, however. Coke Newell is not oblivious to our flaws and hypocrisies. He does not hide or gloss over the conflicts young LDS people experience in their social and sexual relations-the mixed messages and emotional storms inherent in building romantic connections in a culture where physical relations are, at best, discouraged. And the characters are flawed, sometimes seriously. The protagonist has to come to terms with a culture that tells him he must change his attitudes, his pursuits, his music, and his nature-to choose a middle road between annihilating and improving himself.
In the end, "Toaster Road" touches the heart and opens opportunities for stories of love and faith that are honest in their depictions of LDS life and relationships. This story is uniquely relevant to audiences both LDS and not. It is a wonderful extension of the LDS literary tradition and one we hope our artists continue to explore.