The Yada Yada Prayer Group by Neta Jackson
Genre: Christian fiction
Recommended for: Christian women's book clubs or prayer groups
From my TBR list: Yes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I thought that the story of a multi-culti women's prayer grooup would be just too precious for words. Surely it would be filled with scenes of everyone holding hands, singing "Kumbaya", and ignoring racial differences, right? Well, there is some of that in this book, but it also touched my heart more than I expected it to.
The story is told in first person from the point of view of a middle-class white Christian woman (the opposite of what I am), yet I truly identified with her and where she is in her Christian walk. Jodi Baxter isn't the perfect heroine that I've encountered in some Christian fiction. She worries about fitting in with the other ladies at the conference, makes assumptions about people who do things differently than what she was taught in her church growing up, and wishes that she could worship unashamedly like some of the other women in her prayer group. Jodi's struggles with finding time to read the Bible and pray without distraction parallel my own.
Jackson did her research when writing this book. Her portrayal of the black characters and the black church experience was so spot-on that I had to stop in the middle of the book to check the internet and see if she was black or white! There were plenty of references to popular gospel artists, and she captured the flavor of a women's conference perfectly. Unfortunately, the one Jewish character in the book (Ruth) bordered on caricature. Ruth's speech pattern sounded like something from a New York Jew in a 1960s movie.
The copy I read has discussion questions in the back that would be useful for a prayer group, but the book doesn't feel like it was constructed just to be an object lesson. The story was engaging without being preachy, and it wrapped up nicely while still leaving room for more stories. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series.
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