Into the Book


Stand By Me, by Neta Jackson, is about Kathryn, a college student from Arizona, and Avis, a worship leader at SouledOut Community Church. Kathryn has recently dropped out of med school to attend a Christian college in Chicago, and Avis’ youngest daughter wants nothing to do with Avis or her new husband. When Avis first meets Kathryn, the latter is bringing in food she’s salvaged from the dumpster. Obviously things aren’t off to a good start. Avis silently criticizes everything about Kathryn and her friends when they start attending SouledOut, and Kathryn has a tendency to just say what she’s thinking. After a time, the two learn to understand each other, and the book ends with the usual happy ending, where everything is resolved and Kathryn and Avis get along.

I didn’t really enjoy reading Stand By Me. While I normally don’t read books in a real-life setting, that really wasn’t the issue. Kathryn’s environmentalist personality annoyed me, and I never quite understood why it was that she decided to go Dumpster diving. I also felt the author is a bit out of touch, the way Kathryn mentions how long a 4-hour work day is, and how Avis complains about her husband working 5 or 6 hours a day. There were a couple other things mentioned in passing in the same manner. The author did accurately portray how some middle-aged and older people think when they see young people in church, the way Avis dislikes how the college students wear jeans to church and speak up too often.

Overall, I could recommend Stand By Me to someone closer to Avis’ age, but as a younger reader, I really didn’t get much from it.

 -Ashley M.

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Published on 22 March, 2012. Last updated on


  1. Neta Jackson

    Just a clarification from the author here . . . Avis’s husband worked long days during the week PLUS 5 or 6 hours on Saturday. That was her beef. And Kat had long days because she volunteered all morning at a summer program for kids, then worked a 4 hr shift. So context was important. I was hoping readers would focus more on the reconciliation of Avis with her missing daughter and grandson, and how even people as different in age and perspective as Avis and Kat have something to contribute to the other, rather than on minor details. BUT, thanks for reading even if it wasn’t your cup of tea! Be blessed.

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