Alfred Corn (review date 29 January 1989)
SOURCE: "Trouble in the Form of a Redhead," in New York Times Book Review, January 29, 1989, p. 7.
[In the following review, Corn asserts that in How I Got Him Back, Sayers shows great promise as a novelist. Corn also compares her work to that of other celebrated southern writers.]
Southerners are sexy, but that is only part of the problem. Yankees who saw the movie The Big Chill, shot in Beaufort, S.C., were made aware by the setting and some of the characters that there is a New South, populated by a restive generation that has survived the upheavals of the 1960's and is now more or less resigned to assimilation into Middle America. Valerie Sayers, who grew up in Beaufort and has published one earlier novel, Due East, gives a fair sample of the new breed in her second book [How I Got Him Back]. This story is also set in the fictional town of Due East, S. C., which bears a strong resemblance to Beaufort, with its old white-columned houses and newer suburban homes, the closeness of salt marshes and the sea and a staunch little congregation of Roman Catholics in the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Nearly all the characters in How I Got Him Back are Catholic, and at least two of them are concerned with the problems mentioned in the title. Becky Perdue refuses to believe that her husband, Jack, really means to leave her for a common redhead with no education named Judi. Marygail Dugan hopes despite everything that she has not lost her husband, Stephen, to a young unmarried mother named Mary Faith Rapple. Life in Due East is anything but placid.
One of the ladies of the church's Altar Guild, who serve in this novel as a sort of deploring Greek chorus, asks, "You suppose the whole world is living in sin?" and receives...
(The entire section is 758 words.)