In Over Salad and Hot Bread: What an Old Friend Taught Me About Life, author Mary Jenson emphasizes the impact of friendship while showing how God influenced the lives of herself and her friend Nancy Bayless. Chapter by chapter Jenson unfolds her five-year journey of learning and growing with this beloved writer. From taking road trips to confronting cancer, Nancy taught Mary to be a positive thinker and to finally "get [her]self out of the way."
Jenson's writing talents shine in her descriptive and heartfelt telling of how an unlikely companion taught her about life. Through shared stories and selected excerpts of Bayless’ writings, Jenson marvelously conveys what we so often try to explain but cannot—the value of friendship and the core, deeply-rooted value of a single friend. She details each event down to the very thought that ran through her mind. Jenson frequently discloses her internal struggles and how Bayless helped her become who God made her to be. This honesty engulfs the reader with such intensity that it wraps swiftly around them like two arms giving a long-awaited hug. When Jenson writes, you can imagine her sitting across the table from you, her voice passing "over salad and hot bread," like an old friend.
As the story begins, Mary and Nancy invite us as readers into their world. It's a world full of twists and turns, of words and sentences, and of God and miracles. We walk with them from the very hotel room it all began. Two women, neither knowing anything about the other, come together despite the years between them. Their friendship grows through travel, and while traveling they become true companions. Mary and Nancy's companionship was based upon more than mere friendship, it was based on God. Nancy often spoke words of wisdom and encouragement, of trusting God and His will. These words influenced many, including Mary, to think beyond themselves. With Nancy's prompting, Mary learned to train negative thoughts to be positive ones, allowing her to properly utilize the gifts God gave her. In the end, after walking beside them throughout their journey, the friendship they created becomes the reader’s also.
Jenson truly captures the beauty of friendship in this honest and heartfelt book. She thoroughly depicts every aspect of her relationship with Bayless in such a way that we feel as if we have experienced it, too. Her fluid descriptions, flagrant honesty, and fluorescent storytelling will entrance all readers-- friends, students, and teachers alike. Life, love, friendship, and growth, Over Salad and Hot Bread reveals it all. This book will melt your heart and touch your soul. – Heather Nash, Christian Book Previews.com
Just as Tuesdays with Morrie affectionately presented unvarnished truths from a mentoring relationship between a teacher and his student, Over Salad and Hot Bread explores the life lessons that surface through the bond between two very different women—an on-the-go mother/author/speaker and a free-spirited world traveler who was far ahead of her time. This gentle memoir captures the tough and tender moments of their friendship through a series of vividly crafted stories sure to ring true. A wonderful choice for book clubs as well as individual enjoyment, their conversations and adventures are sure to enlighten and engage the hearts of all readers.