Friday, November 21, 2008

The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment That Transformed Their Lives by Cheryl Jarvis

The true story of thirteen women who took a risk on an expensive diamond necklace and, in the process, changed not only themselves but a community.

Four years ago, in Ventura, California, Jonell McLain saw a diamond necklace in a local jewelry store display window. The necklace aroused desire first, then a provocative question: Why are personal luxuries so plentiful yet accessible to so few? What if we shared what we desired? Several weeks, dozens of phone calls, and a leap of faith later, Jonell bought the necklace with twelve other women, with the goal of sharing it.

Part charm, part metaphor, part mirror, the necklace weaves in and out of each woman's life, reflecting her past, defining her present, making promises for her future. Lending sparkle in surprising and unexpected ways, the necklace comes to mean something dramatically different to each of the thirteen women.

The Necklace drew me in from the very beginning. I loved the idea of the story and the sharing involved in its purchase. The writing was very smooth and flowed quickly. I originally sat down to read a chapter or two and found myself halfway through the book before I knew it.

The book was broken into thirteen chapters with each woman being the focus of one chapter. This format was a wonderful way to "meet" each of the women, but there were definitely some that you got to know better than others. The later chapters didn't seem to spend quite as much time featuring the person they were supposed to be about. They would often tell a story or two about the featured women, but then would revisit a woman that was already mentioned. I was a little surprised that the group was as affluent as it was, though. I had expected to find a group of women that would never have been able to purchase this necklace without this arrangement, and that didn't seem to be the case.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and the experiences that the necklace allowed each women to be a part of. It was a quick, interesting read and I would recommend it even if you aren't normally a non-fiction reader. 4 stars


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I enjoyed The Necklace when I read it, and rated it exactly as you did 4/5 stars. Enjoyed your review.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Well, I'll combine a comment for your BTT post (below) and this review ...

I agree with you about posting an honest review - good, bad, or indifferent.

In the case of *The Necklace*, I didn't care for it as much as you did. My review is honest, but not at all mean-spirited.

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

Sounds like the makings of a mediocre novel, but that it is NON-fiction intrigues me.

Thanks for the review!