Book Review: Sister Betty! God’s Calling You, Again!

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Sister Betty God’s Calling You Again

Author: Pat G’orge-Walker

Author’s web site:

Publisher: Kensington

Date: 2003

Length: 209 pages

Quote: “After many years of dysfunction and abuse that should have wrapped me in a blanket of mental instability, God, in His infinite wisdom and love, instead placed into my unworthy hands a Ministry of Laughter.”

That’s Pat Walker’s apologia for the comic character Sister Betty, both as Walker has enacted her in comedy skits, and as a character in this series of short stories about a small, not too wealthy, American Protestant church and its quirky members. In addition to Sister Betty, a fragile little old lady who may be senile but can also be wise, there’s Ma Cile, a big tough old lady who is definitely not senile and may be dangerous, and others including Pastor Knott Enuff Money, Deacon Laid Handz, Sister Carrie Onn, Sister Connie Fuse, Sister Aggi Tate, and Minister Breedin Love. These peculiar believers make up the Ain’t Nobody Right But Us Church.

The adventures of this cracked-up crowd form a searching, but apparently sincere, Christian look at the besetting sins of the church. There’s the night some church members (who are at least genuinely single) risk mortal embarrassment and the censure of the church by furtively sneaking into town to meet people they’ve been chatting with on a dating web site, but all they see are each other. There’s the bus trip on which the Greyhound driver thinks he’ll enjoy the conversation of the “beautiful and exotic” church lady who edges an old man with a cane out of the front seat…but little does he know he’s about to be used as the strop on which Sister Ima whets her combat-ready tongue. There is an appeal for “new behinds” for Ma Cile’s grandchildren. After each piece of wacky exaggeration, there are Bible texts that address the serious problem that has just been parodied.

Not everyone will appreciate the comedy approach to the serious problems of the Christian life, and some who laugh at lines like “she looked like a jar of spilled jellybeans with her hat of many colors discarded on the church floor” will object to other lines like “Sister Carrie Onn’s sundress got torn, and she accidentally mooned the man who held on to her.” (The overall tone of the comedy in this book is definitely PG-13; when looking for an example of potentially objectionable jokes to quote, I rejected three that would have violated this web site’s contract.) If, however, you like most of the comedy movies and TV shows being made these days, you’ll probably enjoy Sister Betty. I laughed. A lot. But I was glad The Nephews weren’t there to ask me to share the jokes.

Sister Betty God’s Calling You Again is a Fair Trade Book–a book by a living author that is more often purchased secondhand than new, which this web site sells at a price from which we can send 10% to the author. That means that when you send $5 per book + $5 per package to either address at the lower left-hand corner of this screen, we send $1 to Pat G’Orge-Walker or a charity of her choice. (If you want two copies, you send us $15 and we send Walker or her charity $2.)

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Sister Betty! God’s Calling You, Again!”

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