Southern writer Jordan (The Miracle of Mercy Land, 2010, etc.) commits herself to pray for a stranger every day as an ambitious New Year's resolution.
With two sons serving in two separate wars, a call for selfless prayer seemed the only remedy for what would otherwise become obsessive worry. In each chapter, the author finds a new stranger, a life lesson and the same prayer. Jordan's clumsy prose, formulaic structure and overt repetition dulls the effects of a collection of inspirational anecdotes that run into each other as the book progresses. An array of quotes from immensely diverse sources introduce each chapter, but only serve to showcase the lack of versatility in Jordan's storytelling. Readers are continually reminded that Jordan is a well-established writer, going as far as to state that, “for a Southern novelist, being a tad different can be just part of the badge of being a great writer.” Unfortunately, the humility of a great writer and the integrity of true prayer and compassion are absent from what would otherwise be a truly inspirational concept. Jordan's colorful language and good intentions only pummel weary minds with a single point. Heart and intent, unfortunately, are not the saving grace for a book that contradicts itself.
Commendable intent, inspirational concept, poor execution.