Who Do I Lean On? is book three of Neta Jackson’s Yada Yada House of Hope series. It follows the struggles of Gabrielle Fairbanks as her world falls apart, and she must discover who to lean on when times get tough. After being kicked out of her Chicago penthouse by her husband, Gabby becomes a temporary resident at the homeless shelter where she works. As her passion for the Lord is revived, she drifts farther and farther apart from her husband Philip. Gabby struggles to get back on her feet, rear her two boys, fix her marriage and relationship with God, and start a secondary housing sight for homeless mothers and their children.
Jackson’s writing is simple, concise, and realistic. She uses different voices for some of her characters to enhance their cultural backgrounds and help readers connect and empathize with them. The array of cultural and personal diversity in Jackson’s book allows readers to quickly connect and identify with characters.
When everything seems to be falling apart, Gabby learns to lean on Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Gabby has to decide whether she’s going to chase after her own desires or put her life fully in God’s hands. With the walls of life closing in upon her, Gabby’s faithfulness is tested, but will she be able to stand up under the temptation?
Fans of Jackson’s other books will not be disappointed by this latest installment. Teen and adult women alike will be enthralled by Who Do I Lean On? With a reading guide included, small groups can easily use this book as a study and discussion device. Subjects such as racism and teen pregnancy are discussed, so this book is for a mature audience. – Sarah Sawicki, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Neta Jackson’s Who Do I Lean On? continues the saga of Gabby Fairbanks and is centered on Proverbs 3:5, which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (NIV). Gabby Fairbanks bites off a little more than she can chew in trying to purchase an apartment building, and her estranged husband Phillip is in over his head with loan sharks. Gabby’s friends can’t always be there for her, and she begins to wonder on whom she can lean.
Jackson does an excellent job of working a valuable lesson into a believable character’s real life. She shows that Gabby has more than just the main struggle to deal with in her life, which is something many authors do. She makes it very clear that Gabby cannot deal with the entire situation without God. However, Gabby’s relationships with nearly everyone seem to be superficial. She only talks to them about what is going on in her life and rarely asks what is going on in their lives. Their conversations also rarely go beyond what is happening at the time. Nevertheless, there is an excellent plot climax in a hospital among God, Gabby, and Phillip.
At one point in the story Gabby seems mostly recovered from being kicked out by her husband Phillip. The two have worked out a system for when each will see their children, and Gabby has begun the process of buying the six-apartment building for single mothers who live in a special protective environment known as Manna House. Out of the blue, Phillip comes back to her, asking for a loan to cover his gambling debts. She refuses, and he makes a decision that endangers his life. On top of this, the line between professional and intimate relationship between Gabby and her lawyer, Lee Boyer, starts becoming a little blurry. When things get complicated and Gabby’s friends can’t always help, she learns that she must lean on God alone.
Gabby is entirely too immature to deal with the situation in which she finds herself. This can be accounted for by the years of soft living in her back story, as well as the author’s desire to emphasize that Gabby is not able to deal with life. I would have liked to have seen more of the other characters and discovered who they really were, but there were so many of them that there wasn’t time to get a good look at many. Overall, the story has a believable premise and an excellent message. Women (especially new Christians) will definitely enjoy it, and I would recommend it for them. – Rebekah R. Blomenberg, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Gabrielle Fairbanks has nearly lost touch with the carefree, spirited young woman she was when she married her husband sixteen years ago. But when the couple moves to Chicago to accommodate Philip's ambition, Gabby longs for the chance to find real purpose in her own life.
A chance encounter with a homeless woman suddenly opens a door she never expected. The women of Manna House Women's Shelter need a Program Director--and she has the right credentials. Gabby's in her element, feeling God's call on her life at last, even though Philip doesn't like the changes he sees in her. But she never anticipated his ultimatum: quit your job at the shelter or risk divorce and losing custody of our sons.
In this moment, Gabby's entire foundation shifts. She must find refuge, as in the song they sing at Sunday worship: "Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to . . . I go to the Rock I know that's able, I go to the Rock."
For everyone who loves the best-selling Yada Yada Prayer Group novels comes a brand new series sprinkled with familiar faces and places from the Yada Yada world. It's the perfect novel to start with--or to meet friends from past Yada stories.