Sharing Diamonds: A Unique Social Experience

The Necklace : Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Transformed Their Lives by Cheryl Jarvis was an intriguing title that I learned of from my sister's book club news and was a book that I knew I must read.

When Jonell McLain of Ventura, California sees a $37,000 dollar diamond necklace in a store window, its rare beauty says that she must have it.  But she also realizes that the only path to this goal is in community ownership and she sets about gathering a group of friends or friends of friends who might invest in the purchase as a group.  So an unlikely group of thirteen women gather to arrange the joint ownership of the necklace and thirteen women must decide how it is to be shared.

Each chapter of this story introduces or further narrates the story of one of the women, her background and her relationship to the group.  So varying are the women and their backgrounds that just meeting them make this a fascinating read from the start.  But as this is an uncharted social experiment, it soon takes on its own life far beyond Jonell's intentions and often beyond her control.

Whether or not the readers can relate to the excitement here about wearing diamonds for a month, a day, or for an hour, all can enjoy this story about strong varying opinions and about compromise.  Beyond the idea of sharing the necklace, the narration includes a wonderful theme about the message of belonging to a group and enjoying the power of a group of women who can rally support to those in need. Reading about the challenges to those who thought theirs were the best ideas and even the only ideas, and reading about the power of a group of just thirteen is thought provoking and inspiring.

And the message about not always getting one's way no matter how entitled one feels, of anger, compassion and compromise is especially pertinent as we reflect upon our latest election.  The Necklace and other works by Cheryl Jarvis can be found in the OCPL catalog and although there does not appear to be a website for this author, there are many interesting internet discussions such as here; but perhaps it is best to read the book first so as not to spoil the story.  A fast and light read, this is a good choice for reluctant or time-challenged readers.

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