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The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough    by Neta Jackson order for
Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough
by Neta Jackson
Order:  USA  Can
Integrity, 2005 (2005)
Paperback, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Things finally seem to be calming down in Jodi Baxter's life. Even though her nemesis, Leslie Stuart, has moved in upstairs and has invited Becky Wallace (aka Bandana Woman, the heroin addict who held the Yada Yada Prayer group at knifepoint) to live with her, most major issues seem to be resolved. Avis Johnson is now married to a wonderful man, Becky was baptized, and Nony's husband Mark has applied for a sabbatical so the family can return to South Africa for a year. Yet even though things appear peaceful, there is unrest.

A white supremacy group begins to rear its ugly head on the Northwestern campus where Mark works. Jodi's son Josh becomes secretive about his activities - could he be somehow involved? The Yada Yada prayer group meets regularly to lift these issues to the Lord, along with many others affecting the twelve (now thirteen with Becky) ladies. When the racial struggles become violent and even include one of their own, will the Yada Yada women hold things together or will the strife tear them apart?

This is the fourth book in the series. Neta Jackson has created a unique and diverse group of women with individual joys and sorrows. Jodi's first person viewpoint provides a central vantage point, because things could understandably become confusing with the sheer number of characters. Jodi is transparent to the reader. Her weaknesses and strengths are displayed without covering over the lesser qualities, as she pours her heart out to God, and to her friends and family. At times, her voice becomes a bit insecure and whiny, but not often.

I highly recommend that you read the first three books of the series before tackling this episode. Readers will probably be lost if they jump into the middle. Many heavy themes are covered this time, mainly focusing on race relations and the true meaning of prejudice. This is not a light read. The author brings out a great deal of hatred that both covertly and overtly exists in America and around the world. The novel also strongly focuses on prayer and praying Scripture, so the characters' reliance on God is clearly portrayed and never whitewashed.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough is thought provoking and, as in her previous books, Neta Jackson never fails to bring to light serious issues. Discussion questions are included for use in book clubs and other group settings.

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