Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Review: "Who Is My Shelter?" by Neta Jackson

Summary from BN.com: When she was thrown out of the penthouse she shared with her husband and their sons, Gabby didn't know if she'd ever find a soft place to land. But after seeking refuge at the shelter where she works, extraordinary things happen as she is reintroduced to God.

From the ashes of her marriage comes the House of Hope-a safe haven for homeless moms and their children. But now those ashes of her destroyed marriage are being stirred again. When her long-gone husband's life hits rock bottom, he reappears and asks for one more chance. And Gabby faces what feels like an impossible choice. Take him back. Or keep moving forward without him. Toward someone new who hasn't betrayed her.

Is God redeeming what Gabby thought was gone forever? Or is He leading her down a different path and giving her something-and someone-new?

This is the ending of Gabby's story that begin in Where Do I Go. She's now come full circle in terms with her husband as he has become the one that needs her in a time of need. While dealing with those issues, she is also still very much involved at both the shelter and her own apartment which is now the House of Hope. Her story is detailed and long but it never feels boring. In fact it feels frazzled since we are reading it from Gabby's POV. There were times when I empathized with her and I wanted to grab my hair and pull it out of frustration. I really love how there is a multi-cultural cast of characters. Although it seems a bit too convenient that everyone gets along with everyone, I felt it to be very realistic. It's very nice to not just keep showing the standard generalization of characters that is in most Christian fiction.

While I liked the book very much, I had a few issues. One is what happens to Lucy's character. Her story is not resolved. In fact it just fizzles away after almost the entire book is hinting at a revelation. It just seemed a letdown after so much buildup throughout the whole series about her past and then it just goes away. The other problem I have is Gabby's entire situation. Gabby has major codependent issues throughout the entire series but they are especially present in this book. Her desire to want to try to fix everything

Unfortunately nowhere in this series is it mentioned that she go and get counseling. Yes she does talk to people from her church (but not a senior member or one that had counseling training) or having prayer partners, but not once does she go to seek professional help for what is happening to her. I'm not saying that she needed to go to someone who would tell her to divorce her husband. I just think that she has a lot of issues that she needs to work through before getting back in a relationship with him. I would have liked for her to be able to express these issues at least once verbally without another character telling her that she needs to have faith in God and trust him before she can barely get the words out. While there is nothing wrong at all in these things, I feel that it would have been more realistic to allow Gabby to get it all out instead of having to keep internalizing everything.

It is good however that Gabby does have the support group. I could relate A LOT to her situation while reading the story and I wish I had even half the support she did.
I do not recommend reading this book as a standalone. There are MANY things that are talked about from the first three books in the series and if you come to this one, things will not make sense at all. You don't have to read the original Yada Yada Prayer Group series in order to read this series, but it can help to understand Jodi's character a bit better if you do. I'm sad the series is over but from what I've read on Jackson's website this won't be the last time we see these characters.

Who Is My Shelter? by Neta Jackson is published by Thomas Nelson (2011)

This review copy was provided by the publisher

Other books in the Yada Yada House of Hope series that I've reviewed:

Where Do I Go?
(Book 1)

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