The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Caught is book five in Neta Jackson’s fictional series about the Yada Yada Prayer Group, a diverse group of women living in Chicago who hold a weekly prayer time. One of the group’s members, Jodi, tells the book’s story as she and her companions get “caught” up in a slew of life’s difficulties. Ruth faces an unexpected and risky pregnancy in her fifties. Avis finds herself standing in the gap between her new husband and her daughter Rochelle in the situation created when Rochelle’s husband turns abusive. Among numerous other problems the characters face, Jodi deals with the usual drama of rearing two teenagers and involving herself in all of the other problems.
In a sense, the story’s “real-life” quality is part of its problem. It lacks narrative drive. Even within a character-driven story, a solid plot is attainable; this one takes too long – more than the first third of the book – to find any kind of momentum. Pages pass without any sort of progression, while Jodi’s often insipid internal monologue rolls along.
The story’s strong point lies in its presentation of interpersonal relationships between individuals who, self-absorbed due to their respective problems, regularly fail to communicate. Jackson creates several resonant scenes as such, and she is correct in pointing out that this alienation and lack of connection is a problem in 21st century churches, families, and job environments. However, I found these scenes to be too few and too late, hardly worth wading through four hundred pages. Though this reviewer found it wearying, fans of the series will enjoy catching up with the characters . – Amanda C. Dreher, Christian Book Previews.com
The Yada Yada sisters toughened their prayer knees when a vicious attack, meant to stir up hate and division, became instead a witness of hope and reconciliation. But they soon find themselves trapped in circumstances that expose the subtle lies they believe about themselves, God, each other, and life! Ruth and Ben are caught in an unplanned pregnancy - in their fifties! Chanda is caught by the glitter of her dream come true - winning the lottery. Florida moves her family, hoping to leave troubles behind - but finds they caught up to her. Avis is caught between her new husband and a daughter who "runs home to mama" from an abusive marriage. Uptown Community and New Morning discover that merging their congregations is fraught with pitfalls that strain their good intentions. And Jodi Baxter, who just wants a "normal" life, is discovering that God's ways are bigger than her ways - and He just might ask her to speak the truth and walk unfamiliar paths.