Manna House has just been rebuilt after a fire, and everyone is there to celebrate its re-opening. Outside, a chance encounter with a young woman named Carmelita and her baby Gracie puts the new women’s shelter into action. Carmelita immediately begins to disappear on a regular basis for hours, sometimes days at a time. Drinking and doing drugs, she finally winds up dead. Jodi’s son Josh and his fiancée, Edessa, want to adopt Gracie and speed up their wedding in order to qualify as a couple.
In the meantime, Jodi is mugged and sprains her ankle as a result of a fall on ice and has to take it easy. This is especially hard since it is now Christmastime. With the added burden of a sudden wedding, Jodi needs prayer more than ever.
This is the seventh and final book in the Yada Yada series and unfortunately will not stand on its own. Most authors will give enough background information so a new reader can understand some of what happened in previous stories, but that is not the case here. Author Neta Jackson gives little or no information about what has occurred beforehand and how it relates to the current story. The frenetic pace is confusing, and clipped conversations with a huge cast of characters grow tiresome quickly.
In spite of its title, the prayer group does not play a major - or even minor - role in the story but is simply tacked on in a couple of scenes.
I thought this book would promote good values but again was wrong. This seems strange when it is about a Christian woman who supposedly does good works and prays a lot. Unfortunately, most is just a lot of sermonizing and rushing from place to place. It really gave me pause when her husband saw a neighbor boy with bruises on his face. Thinking that he may have been beaten up by either his mother or gang-bangers, Jodi’s solution was to pray. Not pray and then do something. This apathy hiding behind religion is disturbing, and not reporting an obviously battered child to the proper authorities, let alone even asking him what happened, is illegal in some states. Even less sinister reasons for the injuries do not absolve Jodi or her husband of the responsibility to act.
When her son announces that he and his fiancée want to adopt baby Gracie, which definitely qualifies as a good work, Jodi becomes angry and resentful. This negative reaction goes way beyond parental concern to reveal a truly petty spirit. She offers no help as the engaged couple hurry to prepare for their hasty wedding. As she sits pouting, Jodi’s friend mentions that Josh might like his Christmas ornaments. She responds by saying he can take them off the tree himself.
The narcissism plays out in full when Jodi interrupts the wedding ceremony to give a mini-sermon from the book of Colossians. Walking back to her seat to the thunderous applause of a standing ovation she feels much better, no doubt because the holiness spotlight is back in it’s rightful place - on Jodi.
I gave a half star for the Celebrations and Recipes section in the back of the book. The smothered pork chops look pretty good.
There are many fictional books that demonstrate what true spirituality is. Abundant biographies can be found of Christians and others who spend their lives effecting a positive change in individuals and society as a whole. For an uplifting and edifying experience, I suggest reading one of those.