March 22 02:16 AM

Fiction, real life stories connect

August 26, 2009
No sooner had I told you about the Kroger ad featuring local growers and their produce than people began calling to say the ad had appeared on other channels also. So, given my rather laid back lifestyle right now, I became a channel surfer, and found the ad popping up all over the place.

For probably the third time in my life, I watched Rachel Ray; and right in there, along with a feature on a women's book club discussion, was the ad.

Bells and whistles went off! Let me explain.

Normally, I'm not much of a TV person. Not that I have anything against just kicking back and relaxing—I just usually opt for a book instead of the TV. But this show caught my attention. A group of 13 women had all read and discussed the book 'The Necklace.' In the book, a similar group had pooled their money and bought a string of diamonds—the logic being that none of them on their own could own such a piece of jewelry, but this way they could all have access to it if they had a special dress-up occasion.

I've forgotten just how the show played out; but the gist of the matter was that the women on the show had each been given a tidy sum of money, and the object was to agree on how to use it jointly, just as the women in the book had done—and still be friends when the thing was done.

No small feat.

My excitement, however, was not so much about the book but about the fact that I had just finished reading Neta Jackson's 'The Yada Yada Prayer Group' (Thomas Nelson 2007 Novel of the Year)—book of the month for our little book club at church. In the book, a similar sized group of women, about as mismatched as you could get and with assorted religious orientations, had been thrown together in a small group prayer circle at a women's conference and decided to hang together for the long haul.

It all resonated. It wasn't about a necklace, or any other common property. But it certainly was about common interests—investing in one another's lives. My friend Cindy, who had a previous engagement the night our book club was going to meet, and who didn't have time to read it now anyway because she was up to her eyeballs in VBS, had lent me her copy, knowing I had more time than I knew what to do with right now. So I had just finished reading it, though I had read it before. And here it was—connecting with real life. Redeeming the time, or so it seemed to me. Yada yada.

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