Monday, March 26, 2012

Stand By Me by Neta Jackson



Thomas Nelson (March 13, 2012) 400 pages

Description from Amazon:

Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you.

Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman form a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family all but disowns her.

When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multicultural church family. But her tendency to immediately say whatever she's thinking steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets-especially Avis Douglass.

Avis has a strong faith, is the principal of one of Chicago's highest performing elementary schools, and is a founding member of SouledOut. But the country's economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband's jobs in question. And Avis hasn't heard from her youngest daughter in months-an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in this?

Kat's flamboyant zeal for living a "radical" Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis's more reserved faith. But in God's timing, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

My Thoughts:

I've heard of the Yada Yada books, but I've never read any of them. Apparently, there are several different series, all revolving around the same Prayer Group. Stand by Me is the first book in the new series, Souled Out Sisters. The Yada Yada Prayer Group is still going strong, and it looks like some of the same characters are still around, but with some new ones added in, too.

Religion also plays a huge part in this book, so if you don't care to read "preachy" books, you might not care for this series. I don't mind them at all, so I very much enjoyed the little lessons throughout! Reading this book actually came at a great time! I feel like maybe this book was placed in my path for a reason.

Some of y'all may remember my picture with "our" deer from an earlier post. We don't own the field behind our house. We own(borrowed from God) the acre we're on, but we've always got to mostly enjoy the surrounding land. Well, not anymore. A couple of guys(who also do not own the land) have let us know they are hunting "our" deer, and they have already set up video cameras in the field. RIGHT BEHIND OUR HOUSE! I was furious. WHY would someone pick a house with two babies to hunt behind?! I'm also upset that my little private corner of the world is no longer private. Stand by Me gave me a much needed lesson. It's one that I've already learned and know, but sometimes it's easy to forget to apply lessons learned to a new situation. I don't see the big picture. Good may come of this situation. There's no sense in me throwing a fit, and getting mad. I have to pray, and trust that everything will turn out fine.

I always read fiction for entertainment. I save non-fiction for those areas that need improvement. But, when a fiction book gives me much needed lesson, I consider it icing on the cake.

Avis and Kat are the leading ladies of Stand by Me. To be honest, I found both of them a bit annoying. About halfway through, I realized....they're real. I'm sure simply on my blog, I annoy most of you, at least at times. If someone were to write a book about me, I guarantee you would be annoyed by me frequently! So, Jackson has done a wonderful job of creating real, imperfect characters who struggle just like the rest of us.

Overall, Stand by Me was a fun read that I greatly enjoyed. As much as I'd love to play catch up and read all the other books, I have to admit that there's so many, I find it a little bit intimidating to attempt reading ALL of them. I was never lost in this one, though. I imagine I could pick up any of them, and I would still enjoy it!

*A huge thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers and B&B Media Group for my review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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