Sunday, December 13, 2015
Lacy, Patti, What the Bayou Saw (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 2009).
Also available on Kindle.
Reviewed by Dorinda Kauzlarich-Rupe
This is a novel, based on a true story of a forbidden relationship between Sally (a white girl) and Ella (a black girl) in their pre-teens in the Louisiana Bayou area. Historically this was during a period of deep racial disparities, injustice, violence, hatred and fear.
The book begins in 2005, during Katrina. After four decades as daughter; student; wife; mother; and teacher, Sally Stevens is catapulted back in time by hidden memories, both happy and dark, of the time when she and Ella began their relationship. The lies she told to cover up their friendship activities became habitual and developed into lifelong indulgences which, of course, colored all of her relationships. The story of her relationship with Ella is told as flashbacks to a black student she is homeschooling.
Lacy is a very creative writer, wonderful at drawing lifelike pictures with words. You feel like you are there in the midst of the action she describes. What the Bayou Saw is a well told and gripping story.
The only thing I don't like about it is the ending which, to me, seems like a fairy tale ending. She has been so honest during the book about relationships, historical behavior, and culture, but then ends on a note that is just too good to be true. There was one big lie she told that never got resolved in the story—maybe that one didn't end on a fairly book note.