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

Thirteen women go together and by a $34,000 diamond necklace that they share between themselves. The ladies would each get the necklace for the month of their birthday which oddly worked out with only one overlapping, but it’s never discussed how that got resolved. Every month all of the women would get together to discuss where the necklace was worn (skydiving, body boarding, to Paris, while having sex), how it made them feel, how it changed them, etc. It gets to the point that the women start using the necklace for fund-raising and humanitarian pursuits and eventually raise far more money than the necklace cost in the first place.

The book gave it the old college try to document the adventures that ensued and to a much lesser extent how the necklace changed each of their lives. It does do a good job describing how each woman felt about essentially owning a time share in a diamond necklace. We only get a superficial glance at the larger societal issue of how most people never get to buy and enjoy luxury items of this kind for themselves. The verdict among all of the women seems to be that they would have never dreamt of buying a diamond necklace on their own, but the inconveniences of sharing made it worthwhile.  The entire time I was reading the story I kept thinking, “I would gladly overlook other peoples’ views of squandering money, buy the necklace for myself, and never share my precious.”  But that is coming from the kid whose first word was “Mine”.

The structure is what made this book boring.  It reads as if the author had to suppress the story that wanted to be told, so she could make sure to give each person their own chapter.  It gets to the point toward of the end of the book that some women get two paragraphs about themselves in their titled chapter while the story from the previous chapter’s person gets continued through.  When the author does tell the back story about some of the ordinary women, it’s so boring.  It’s as exciting as the life of a small-town girl, who’s never left the small-town could be.  The book flounders too much to get the reader engaged, and I normally love this genre.

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