God and Salsa (Manuscript)
Raquel, a 40-year-old therapist and divorcee, is trying to cope with the loss of her daughter to suicide. Her trust in God has suffered because of it. Matt, 45, asks her to see his son, Shane, 17, who has attempted suicide, due to depression brought on by the conflictive divorce of his parents. Shane’s mother, Monica, 40, is self-absorbed and has turned Shane and her other children away from Matt. Raquel struggles to regain her faith, but in the meantime, salsa dancing is her only solace. Against Monica’s will, Raquel takes on the challenge of trying to help a belligerent, yet severely depressed, Shane and prevent him from successfully killing himself. What follows is an intense emotional struggle that Raquel is only able to overcome with the help of “God and Salsa.”
To the authors: “God and Salsa” is a unique story, as Erik explains on page 52: “This is God’s salsa. A mix of diverse ingredients that come together to tantalize the palate!” Erik is a humorous guy and offers the best line in the manuscript when Raquel isn’t feeling the dance. He learns that she loves chocolate and instructs her to look at him like he is a candy bar and dance with passion. The salsa dancing helps Raquel to focus, as she, ironically, attempts to help a young man named Shane deal with a failed suicide attempt and drug overdose, after her own daughter, Mia, committed suicide.
The story is very realistic and, in some ways, it’s inappropriate for the family market. With descriptions of Shane having a needle in his arm, the boys having a joint, and the language that is spoken, it can receive our “Faith-Based” Seal, meaning it contains a faith-based message but has some objectionable material. We would prefer to award it our “Faith-Friendly” Seal, meaning it has no objectionable material, which rates a number three in content. The number three rating would place it outside our acceptability arena. However, the manuscript would have to allude to the drug references and not feature them as part of the story and tone down the language. The split-up of Monica and Matt and the toll their divorce has taken on Shane, Ben and Amanda, is a problem for many families. The script does feature a hopeful ending, with Shane getting closer to his dad once again and Raquel moving forward in her life. So, therefore, we award the manuscript our “Faith-Based” Seal.