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What the Bayou Saw

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  91 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Rising author Patti Lacy's second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana. Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood. But when one of her students is vio ...more
Paperback, 335 pages
Published March 24th 2009 by Kregel Publications
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Christian Literary Fiction
55th out of 85 books — 42 voters
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Best African American read
16th out of 18 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 267)
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African Americans on the Move Book Club
Patti Lacy has penned an unforgettable literary masterpiece in What the Bayou Saw. Laced with lyrics from African American spirituals, this tale eloquently illustrates the lives of three unlikely women. The story takes the reader on a ride down highway 55 north, from Louisiana to Illinois, to embark on a journey crowded with bigotry, hatred, and prejudice.
Sally Stevens is a Christian woman who is struggling daily to deal with the demons of her past. Through the years, Sally had done a good job
Sep 18, 2009 Joel rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
Unbelievable dialogue. Inconsistent dialect. Poorly composed characters making uncharacteristic decisions. Direct communication from God used liberally as deus ex machina. And to make it all more fun, the protagonist is a dead ringer for Cathy of the comic pages. I only made it through the whole book in the hopes that something would happen to allow me to write a more positive review than this. Sadly, my sole reward for sticking it through to the end was a quadruple-dose of saccharine. Being nei ...more
Clockstein Lockstein
Nov 17, 2009 Clockstein Lockstein rated it really liked it

What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy is a poignant story about the damage secrets and lies can wreak as they grow unhindered. Sally Stevens has built a life of secrets and lies she hides behind her smile and Southern drawl. She's learned how to avoid difficult situations by telling a lie that's more easily digested than the truth and seasoning it with wide eyes, smiles, and waving her hands, but it all starts coming to the surface when first she is confronted by three of her students who want her to
Sep 19, 2009 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The main themes of this quick and easy read are racism, prejudice, and the insidious way that secrets and lies will eventually catch up with you. The plot goes back and forth between 1960s Louisiana and a small town in Indiana in the present. My only real criticism is that the racism and sexism in the book in present day Indiana was so overt and extreme that it was almost silly. These days, racism is more insidious that that. It's often covert and systemic, making it very difficult to pinpoint, ...more
Oct 06, 2009 Cindi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I got this book as a first reads. I really enjoyed it. Patti Lacy tells a contemporary story that handles topics such as racism, sexual abuse, middle age, marriage, Christianity, repentance and redemption with an honesty and integrity that is rare in literature today.

Lacy is a new writer and initially I found myself tripping over some of the extra words. But as the story gains momentum the writing improves and finally begins to disappear within the tale.

Jan 11, 2010 Sheri rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed What The Bayou Saw. Although I am from a pretty liberal area, and due to my age, I do remember the racial issues riots, and struggles between "blacks" & "Whites". Without giving away too much of the plot,I can say the characters are memorable, and dealing with there own inner struggles and demons. I look forward to more books from Ms. Lacy
Nov 18, 2009 Lillie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Even though I occasionally found it hard to suspend disbelief because the story seemed far-fetched, I continued to be engrossed in the book. Rape, murder, racism, and secret sins make a compelling story.
Jun 17, 2009 Ruth rated it really liked it
What the Bayou Saw is a powerful book dealing with race relations within the context of a good story. All too often I find that books dealing with race have "good" characters who manage to be color-blind and "bad" characters who hate anyone who doesn't look like them. This book deals more in gray.

The main character is Sally, a community college humanities instructor who lives and works in Normal, IL. Sally isn't from Normal, she is from Texas and Louisiana where she grew up in the 50's-70's. She
Oct 03, 2009 Betania rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I struggled whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars. My niceness won out, but I think I probably more belong with a solid 3.4ish.

I was excited when I won this book through the giveaway, because I'd read the synopsis and thought it sounded like an interesting premise. That said, when I read the first chapter or two, I was thoroughly disappointed. I remember telling my friend Coral as much, and most of it had to do with some of the ridiculous phrases used by the *Aryan-wannabes* or Sally's descript
Tamara Tilley
Jan 23, 2016 Tamara Tilley rated it liked it
WHAT THE BAYOU SAW by Patti Lacy is a haunting story of a woman who has spent her whole life trying to forget her past.

We see through the eyes of a young Sally Stevens the ugliness of racism in the South in the 1960s. She keeps secret the friendship she has formed with Ella because she knows her parents would forbid her spending time with her because she is black. So, she and Ella share a secret relationship and a secret meeting place deep in the nearby bayou. When Sally is physically attacked t
Nov 29, 2010 Casey rated it it was amazing
From the first page, I was drawn into the very midst of this story. This book is certainly not a gentle read. It covers topics most books would shy away from and doesn’t hesitate to delve into some of the most complicated emotions. Having an idea of what was coming from the back cover, I was in suspense and breathing shallow as each page kept increasing to the climax. And even after it reached the pinnacle moment, the conflict did not ease.

Sally has lived a lie. And from those first moments sin
Dec 13, 2013 zyra.cyra.xyra rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who felt the same way
Rated 2 stars from me. There was racism, judgment, murder, unwanted memory in the past; dealing with friendship, family and career. The book was ok, a bit far from what I am expecting. Well, maybe because reading the back cover of the book and scans through it, which I usually do, interests me. I was expecting a heavy story, something very unimaginable. What I got was a regular story of racism and characters with lies. But I love the attacks of the flashbacks from Sally’s childhood experiences w ...more
Carla Stewart
Jun 20, 2009 Carla Stewart rated it it was amazing
I met Patti Lacy on the run at the Minneapolis ACFW conference. In our five minute encounter, I knew I’d met a writer who sizzled with life, embracing it with joy and wonder. Soon after I read her debut novel, An Irishwoman’s Tale, and saw that same quality in her writing. She writes with abandon—exuberant prose with a magnetism aimed straight at the reader.

Patti’s second novel, What The Bayou Saw, is another compelling, page-turning read that recalls a tumultuous past, this time for Sally Steve
Jun 18, 2011 Britni rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while I get the chance to review a book that I love. What the Bayou Saw is one of those books. Lacy kept me interested from page one of the prologue until the final page of the book. This book was refreshingly well written and easy to follow but still complex in theme, plot, and character development.

Sally is a middle aged woman that grew up in the south during a time period when the other side of town was still called, "Colored Town." Sally sneaks around with her best friend, a
Jun 24, 2009 Renee rated it really liked it
What the Bayou Saw has two storylines - one is set in the present in Normal, IL (I have a long time internet friend that lives there) and the other is in the past in the bayou in Louisiana. Despite the use of flashbacks and stories of the past, I was not confused. The author did an excellent job of making it easy to recognize the transitions.
Sally is a community college instructor whose tragic memories resurface when one of her students is raped in a parking lot on campus. She discusses her past
Jo Notary
336p The past can't stay buried forever
Rising author Patti Lacy's second novel exposes the life of Sally, set amid the shadows of prejudice in Louisiana. Since leaving her home in the South, Sally Stevens has held the secrets of her past at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband, has heard the truth about her childhood. But when one of her students is violently raped, Sally's memories quickly bubble to the surface unbidden, like a dead bod
Karen Robbins
May 25, 2009 Karen Robbins rated it it was amazing
In her second novel, Patty Lacy has taken on several difficult subjects and delivered a provocative and engaging story involving the reader emotionally with the complex characters she has created. The haunting cover art immediately hints that this will be a story that will stick with you long after the last words are devoured. While I didn't grow up in the South, I did experience the years of racial conflict from a Midwesterner's point of view. Lacy nails the attitudes of the era as she looks ba ...more
Oct 14, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I received a copy through Goodreads in late summer, unfortunately it took me three tries and several months to finish.

I found the constant religious references distracting, though I know now that Sally's relationship with God is an integral part of the story. If I had known this would be a religious book I wouldn't have requested a copy. It's more of a 'come to Jesus' story than the mystery novel I was expecting. My apologies to Patti Lacy for not enjoyi
Shoulanda August
really enjoyed this southern book about how times were

I liked that Sally and Eve developed a friendship despite racism in the south. These little girl overcame a deep secret that almost destroyed both of their lives
Aug 04, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing
What the Bayou Saw is one of my favorites I have read this year. I really felt connected with the characters and I love the mystery and suspense element of the story.
Looking forward to more by Patti Lacy.
Fabulous book!
5+ stars
Oct 15, 2009 Iris rated it liked it
It took me quite a long time to really get into this book. I found myself only reading a few pages a day and struggled through the first 100 pages or so. However, just when I was ready to put it back on the shelf and give up (which I rarely do) the story got a lot more interesting. If not for the beginning, I would give this one four stars. The character development was excellent, I could relate to most parts of the story, and the overall outcome was satisfying and heart-warming. The last 2/3 of ...more
Feb 25, 2009 Tina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
What the Bayou Saw is the most courageous book I have read in years. Patti Lacy's sensitive, but truthful, exploration of race relations is stunning and her examination of the life-long friendship between a Caucasian woman and an African American woman from childhood is lovely. Don't be afraid to delve into this book because of its topic. It is a beautiful portrait of friendship, grace and redemption that will make readers cheer.
Oct 29, 2009 G rated it liked it
"What The Bayou Saw" was a very good read. Transformations, secrets and innocence lost are weaved together tightly to bind this novel. I don't want to spoil the book, but two young girls live through terrible times and unimmaginable issues in the south, further complicated by their races. I found this novel to be quite strong. Ms. Lacy has outdone herself with this novel.
Alan Lane
Oct 01, 2009 Alan Lane rated it it was amazing
It is about time a Christian book handles real issues. Edgy things are not ignored by this author. Racism. Rape. Parents with their heads in the sand. Plus the cop dialogue seems realistic. Don't miss.
Andrea Jackson
Jul 07, 2011 Andrea Jackson rated it liked it
A really intricate blending of the story of two women's friendship from childhood and their adulthood as they try to figure out the tragedy that binds them.
Karen Evans
Jul 09, 2012 Karen Evans rated it really liked it
This was a very good book; had some hard issues to deal with at times - but it was very believable.
Sep 01, 2011 Peggy rated it it was amazing
Outstanding! This will grab and hold.
Brandi rated it it was ok
Apr 21, 2016
Angel marked it as to-read
Mar 28, 2016
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Patti Lacy, a Baylor University graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her Kregel-published novels, An Irishwoman’s Tale and What the Bayou Saw.

2011 brings two new Patti Lacy novels to bookstore shelves. The Rhythm of Secrets will release with Kregel in January; Bethany House will publish Reclaiming Lily in October.

Patti has two grown child
More about Patti Lacy...

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