Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Stand By Me by Neta Jackson

Stand By Me by Neta Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the book:
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 review:
I wasn't sure what to think about this book at first. It takes place in Chicago at a diverse church called Souled Out Community Church. Avis is leading worship and four white college students are coming in. What is book is not is a sappy romance where everything is smooth sailing. What this book is, is a realistic picture of relationships including the one we as Christians have with Jesus. This is a truly Christian fiction book where the author was not afraid to proclaim the gospel or share bits of scripture throughout. I loved that she had the characters worshipping, praying, and ministering. A lot of times the author is so concerned about appealing to the crossover audiences, they forget to include Jesus.

As far as the characters, it was interesting to see the relationship between Avis and Kat develop. I feel like most of the story was about them even though the author did an excellent job of developing the other characters, especially Peter, Nick and Rochelle. Judging people is something that I think we all do. That type of attitude almost cost Avis her daughter and Kat a valuable friendship. It wasn't until they took a deeper look that they realized they needed each other.

What I took away the most is that having a relationship with Jesus is not just one thing. It's not just praying or worshiping or meeting for Bible Study. It's about living the life the Jesus lived. I think by the end of this book, each of the characters learned a lot more about their relationship with Jesus and some important ways to build on it. So did I.

I will look forward to future books in this series.

This book was provided to me by Thomas Nelson as part of the BookSneeze program. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Love and Blessings!

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