Have a good time with ‘Sister Betty’


Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.

The "Save the Date!" notices went out months before.

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“Sister Betty Says I Do” by Pat G’Orge-Walker, c. 2013, Kensington Dafina, $15, 304 pages. (Special to the Guardian)

You had the hall you wanted. The dress made you look like an angel, the cake was magnificent. Your official invitations were dropped in the mail on a Saturday and the actual day arrived in a heartbeat. You got married!

Everybody loves a good wedding, and yours was the best. But in the new novel, "Sister Betty Says I Do" by Pat G'Orge-Walker, there were lots of obstacles littering the aisle.

In the small town of Pelzer, everybody knew Sister Betty Becton.

It was hard not to. A 60-something, "five-foot-two brown ball of fire," Sister Betty had a special connection with God: Nearly 30 years ago, He called her on the phone, right in the middle of her soap opera. That must have cost the Almighty a grip, though, since all subsequent messages came through pains in Sister Betty's knees.

Yes, Sister Betty made mistakes in the past, but God saw fit to send Trustee Noel into her life, and she and Freddie were getting married. Everything — plans, family, and all — seemed to be God-approved.

Then Ima Hellraiser came to town.

When Sister Betty and her spiritual son, Pastor Leotis Tom, went to pick Betty's cousin, Sharvon, at the airport, there was Ima, waiting for her ride.

With curves where there shouldn't have been curves and big beautiful eyes, Ima set her sights on marrying Pastor Tom and becoming the first lady of Crossing Over Sanctuary. Problem was, Sharvon had the same notions.

"Sister Betty Says I Do" is OK. Not great. Not horrible. It's OK.

It's not a laugh-a-minute, but it has its moments. Author Pat G'Orge-Walker inserts a lot of puns, sarcasm and silliness. Sister Betty is a wonderful character and perhaps the most realistic, but the other members of the cast were a little on the cartoonish side. The story itself was fine and moved along nicely, although there were times when it got a little too convoluted.

And yet, I'm pretty sure that deep and thought-provoking isn't the point of this novel. So, in the end, if you're looking for an easy, entertaining novel just for fun, "Sister Betty Says I Do" will probably do.

Terri Schlichenmeyer lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

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