cover image How I Got Him Back

How I Got Him Back

Valerie Sayers. Doubleday Books, $17.95 (299pp) ISBN 978-0-385-24376-6

Mary Faith Rapple of Due East is now the mother of four-year-old Jesse, whose imminent arrival she described to her scandalized widower father as ``a virgin birth.'' This sequel is every bit as funny as its predecessor, but while that book focused on Mary Faith and her dilemma, here Sayers harvests the black humor inherent in several situations. Jack Perdue has left his wife Becky for the tart who works in his real estate office (he flees her in due course, disgusted by her nail polish); Father Berkeley has started drinking too much, and worries the ladies of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Altar Guild; Stephen Dugan, who loves his wife Marygail, his faith and Mary Faith, is seriously considering leaving his wifeif only Mary Faith would convert to Catholicism. Sayers's keen and subtle wit, the wonderful rhythms of her prose, make these otherwise trite situations funny and touching. Fans of Due East will find this novel more diffuse; but while that was a book to hug to one's chest, this one begs to be read aloud and shared. Sayers has a voice, and it's one the reader wants to keep hearing from. (Jan.)