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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Read
I saw the movie before reading the book and felt that the movie was lacking somthing, so I picked up the book.
Mind you,I have a pile 10 books high of Oprah books I keep meaning to read, but with 4 wild kids, it just never seems to happen.
This book happened--it pulled me in immediately.
Not only did it touch nerves regarding my own feeelings about my...
Published on June 10 2002

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars An Overly Dramatic Book about Real Life
In "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," by Rebecca Wells, the main theme is about the relationships between women - particularly mothers and daughters. "Sidalee Walker" ("Sidda")reads through the book of the Ya-Yas, and it gives her a new understanding of her mother, "Vivvian Abbott Walker."
Sidda is angry with her mother...
Published on Aug. 29 2003 by Emily Chase


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Read, June 10 2002
By A Customer
I saw the movie before reading the book and felt that the movie was lacking somthing, so I picked up the book.
Mind you,I have a pile 10 books high of Oprah books I keep meaning to read, but with 4 wild kids, it just never seems to happen.
This book happened--it pulled me in immediately.
Not only did it touch nerves regarding my own feeelings about my mother, but it made me think of my own feelings AS a mother.
I wondered if I was screwed up, or if I was doing the screwing up part to MY kids,lol.
Sometimes, when all that can be seen is "the relationship" with one's parent/children- it is hard to tell, but by the end of the book one comes to terms with it all to some degree, an acceptance that basically "life is short, but it is wide."

What an iteresting book ,not just the stories of Sidda and Vivi, but the story it makes the reader remember of her own memories and childhood. The stories the reader sees her children remembering one day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Amazing Novel, Her Best Book, Dec 7 2008
By 
Jamieson Villeneuve "Author at Large" (Ottawa Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
When secrets have been buried beneath the veneer of the skin, they fester. Sometimes, those secrets can be held at bay for years, decades even. Sometimes the secrets you hold can eat away at who you are, and what you have become. Usually, they have to come out sooner or later.

The consequences of that release, letting the secrets breathe and have life once more, can be good or bad - but keeping those secrets inside can tear a family apart.

In the incredible book "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" by Rebecca Wells, we meet Siddalee Walker, a middle aged playwright directing her first Broadway play. She is the daughter of Southern Belle Vivi Abbot Walker. Their relationship is rocky at best.

Along for the ride are Vivi's life long friends: Necie, Caro and Teensy. Decades ago, Vivi, Necie, Caro and Teensie formed a secret sisterhood, the sisterhood of the Ya-Ya's. They will let no man put them under, and will always listen to the call of the women and Gods that came before them.

Their friendship, forged in the heat of the South and the blood they shared, has stood the test of time. Unfortunately, Vivi's relationships with her children, especially Sidda, haven't.When the New York Times interviews Sidda and proclaims her mother to be a tap dancing child abuser, all hell breaks loose. Vivi cuts Siddalee out of her will and proclaims her dead to her, in true Southern fashion.

At a loss as to how to articulate her pain, Sidda decides not to marry her seven-year sweetheart Connor McGill. The Ya-Ya's step in to Sidda's aid. They implore Vivi to send Sidda the Divine Secrets, a scrapbook of sorts that chronicles their lives together. Flipping through the large book, Sidda is thrust back in time, to the South in the 1930's and beyond, and learns what really happened to her mother and her life.

We learn, along with Sidda, about the alcohol, the lost love that died in the war, what really preceded the beating outside of their family home when Vivi finally broke down. Once secrets are released, they have a difficult time staying hidden. And, as is often the case with secrets, once one has found it's way out to the light, the other secrets are not too far behind.

In "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," Wells has created a tapestry of words, showing us snapshots of one family's life and a relationship between mother and daughter that is, in the end, strong enough to survive child beatings, abuse, booze, girl scouts, lovers, enemies and the perfect perm.

We are offered a glimpse into the lives of these people, Sidda, Vivi, her husband Shep, and it is often times a harrowing picture, a dark one. It is, however, a story that probably everyone can relate to. For how often have we bemoaned our parents, thought them ill equipped to deal with us, or that they really didn't love us or want us when it is the other way around? That they don't know how to show love and affection, that they are unable to, perhaps due to what happened to them as children. Secrets that no child really ever finds out.

"Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" is a wonderful novel filled with humor, honesty and the strength of the human spirit. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspirational, Nov. 27 2007
This is a book for anyone who is a mother and anyone who is a daughter.

It's about insight and perspective, love and forgiveness, and ultimately, about the redemptive (life-giving) nature of the relationships between mother and daughter and women friends.

Even if we didn't have it as bad as Vivi or SiddaLee, most off us mothers have screwed up and hurt our kids without meaning to, and many of us know what it feels like to have a mother whose own pain sometimes gets in the way of her ability to be a "good" mother.

What Wells has given us is a poignant, sometimes painful, sometimes humorous portrait of the journey between the way it is between Vivi and SiddaLee and the way they want it to be.

This is also a book about friendship, about continuity over time, and the truth of women's lives. It's about friends who share joy, responsibility and their shame with each other. I loved every moment of reading this book. You will too.

If you loved this book, along with the SHOPAHOLIC SERIES and the book THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG, then you'll have one great collection.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Needs literary testosterone, June 22 2004
By A Customer
I gave this book one star because Wells does have some writing talent. However, her subject matter is somewhat nauseating. A mother and daughter who are on the "outs" because the daughter reveals that Mama was mean to her when she was a kid? That's not exactly a plot that can fill a whole book, but Wells thinks it can. The females in this book are, for the most part, very believable. The male characters are flawless & saintly, female fantasies of what men should be, except without the personality. If she developed male characters as well as she developed female characters, it would make it a lot more interesting. In some places she gets nauseatingly sentimental - it makes me want to take a bath, or go watch "Law and Order" to get back to reality. She goes over little things over and over and over ad nauseam. I would have preferred to read this tale in short-story form, where Mom says "Sorry, kid. I was a bad Mom. I had a rough life. Didn't mean to hurt you." Then the daughter says "OK, Mom." Hug. THE END. I'm not a really huge fan of most "chick flicks" or "chick books" (except maybe Jane Austen stuff), because they lack literary testosterone. But this was the ookiest, sweetsy-est, touchy-feeliest chick book I've ever touched. Yechhh! Oh yeah, and I AM a woman. Rebecca, you have some talent. Next time, please write a real STORY.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Neatest Grandmothers, May 18 2004
By 
Katie (Tennessee, USA) - See all my reviews
I have to say I first watched the movie then read the book. I loved both. They are different, of course like many movies and books differ, but I will not tell you where.
This book connected with my southern pride. These women were sweating the southern smell. Their actions, manners, their life all had southern traits. It was a novel that made me feel like Southerners are really something fun, not a bunch of hicks, but can still be classy and at the same time have fun.
It was an adventure with women who had lived adventurously all their lives. It was a ride with the coolest people. The main characters that were older women had always had fun , but with the time and culture they had grown up they never knew how to embrace their children like they should. My grandmother recently had a stroke, and this book showed me how lucky I am to have a grandmother that cared so much.
I recommend this book to anyone, but I think only southern female's could appreciate this novel to the full extent.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cajun Spice, April 15 2004
Although the sisterhood of the Ya-Ya's plays a large part in this tale, the book is mostly about Siddalee and her relationship with her divine mother Vivi. Vivi's eccentricity coupled with a nervous breakdown during Siddalee's childhood has stretched their relationship to the breaking point, and caused Siddalee to question her ability to have a relationship with anyone - including her fiancee.
Siddalee decides to escape, breaks her engagement, bids farewell to her stunned partner, and heads off into the wilds to contemplate the scrapbook of photos, letters, and memories called "The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood". The book interweaves Siddalee's imaginings about items from the books with flashbacks to the childhood of her mother and her great friends - their exploits, adventures, and great sorrows.
Through it all, you come to see these very great friends as nothing less than a sisterhood. They form a bond that resonates through their childhood into their adult lives and, with the help of the book and the sisterhood, Siddalee comes to recognize her mother for who she is and herself for who she is.
This book is warm, believable, sorrowful, and joyous. I enjoyed every minute of it. The audio version, by the way, is also very well read and I highly recommend it for those who prefer to listen than read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mother Daughter Relationships ...Dilemmas and Love!, March 29 2004
By 
a student (Versailles, OH USA) - See all my reviews
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a great book about a mother and daughter who fight over everything. Vivi, the mother, and her girlfriends, the Ya-Ya's, do everything together and they have all their lives. But the Ya-Ya's had many problems growing up and raising their children. Sidda is Vivi's daughter, they love each other
very much, but they fight over little things and some very big things.
Throughout the book you learn about Vivi's life and her view on things and about Sidda's life and her view of things through flashbacks and them telling about things that go on. Sidda tells of the problems her mother had raising the children and of her mother's drinking and chain smoking problems. Also how Vivi was in and out of her life. She tells of the times her mother would beat her and her siblings. Vivi also tells her side of the story.
I really enjoyed this book. It was better then the movie that has been made for the it. The book goes much more into detail about the characters lives and problems. The Divine Secrets (...) also goes into more detail about what is going on.
The only problem I had with The Divine Secrets (...) was that Vivi and the other three Ya-Ya's use strong language...a lot! Also that Vivi and Sidda would talk every other chapter. For example; the first chapter Sidda talks and the second chapter Vivi talks...and that's how the story is told. That was the only confusing thing to me.
I would recommend this book to older readers because of the strong language.
But this is a great book about love, betrayal, and memories. And I enjoyed it greatly.
Happy Reading!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ideal Novel, March 2 2004
Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood is the ideal novel for so many reasons. For one thing it is not saying that it is okay to beat your kids it is telling the reader that it really happened, that mothers really did beat their kids and no one really cared. Another thing I love hearing about the 1930's because I did not live through that and it is better to hear a story about the thirties than just have people telling you that the thirties were awful and were a time when no one cared about anyone. This is a story about Sidda who grew up in the south, at the beginning we learn that Sidda gave an interview to the Times and accidently told them that she was abused. Now her mother is not talking to her. But when Sidda needds ideas for a play that she is directing she needs her mother's help. She writes to her mother and the Ya-Yas asking for help with the play. In return they send her the Divine Secrets, which is a scrapbook that tells about all their adventures. Throughout the book you are going back and forth between modern day and the thirties, fourties, fifties, and sixties. You hear about tragedies, romances, friendships, and adventures throughout the cycle of life. I would recommend this book to everyone over the age of 13 because their are some drug, sexual, and abuse related content that not all children will understand. I hope that this review has been helpful to you.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm...Beat your kids, but it's okay, Feb. 15 2004
By A Customer
First of all, the main character Sidda is a whining brat who blames her mom for everything. Second, the Mother is a drunk who beats her kids. The book tries to redeem her and explain the reasoning behind beating her kids, but I'm sorry, I've had a tough life, and I don't see how beating my kids would help. Of course, I have other interest than dwelling on old boyfriends, my nails, etc....
As I said, I had a horrible life when I was a child. I left home at 14 because of it. However, I managed to work my way through college, get a great career, find a loving good husband and have terrific kids. I have known great women who are Sidda's mother's age who have overcome great adversities in their lives and did not have to cope with bottle or belt.
I'm sorry, but the sympathy for these characters, which I know the author was trying to bring out, never emerged. I just saw them as shallow people relying on others to find happiness. Never once did this woman (Sidda's mother) stand up to anything with her own two feet.....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ya-Ya!, Feb. 3 2004
By 
J. Knell "serenity7" (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This novel makes you want to become a crazy, drunken, southern bell! I have never had the desire to be crazy, a drunkard, or a southern bell, but after reading this novel I aspire to be all these things. The relationship between Sidda and Vivi is as hysterical as it is frustrating and touching. Vivi is the character you love to hate. To inspire such love and loyalty from her friends, the Ya-Yas is an amazing thing, and yet she does not inspire that same loyalty from her daughter. While the Ya-Yas have been privy and witness to all the events that have shaped Vivi Abbott Walker her daughter Sidda has been protected from them, and it is that protection that has done the most damage to Sidda.
Rebecca Wells has created a great novel about mothers and daughters and girlfriends. It is not a surprise to me that this novel was created into a major motion picture (though the movie is only a shadow of the book). This novel is both touching and entertaining, but at times it is over the top. Melodrama from Vivi tends to leak into other areas of the book detracting from the characters and the story. Despite this weakness the book is entertaining and worth the time spent to read it cover to cover.
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DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD
DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD by REBECCA WELLS (Paperback - May 7 1999)
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