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Showing 1-10 of 612 reviews(5 star). See all 1,146 reviews
on January 19, 2002
After I read this book, I wanted to be a child again. But not just any child, a 'petite ya-ya!' In spite of the completely dysfunctional, touching, and tragic lives many of the characters lead (the women concerned, by the way, are known collectively as the Ya-Yas and their children as the petites ya-yas), and in spite of the fact that the book deals mainly with family feuds, their lives are also filled with crazy love and maniacal laughter, silly secrets and wild adventures. The writing mirrors this beautifully, tossing the story from mother to daughter to grandmother and weaving the intense emotional world of the Ya-Yas into something wild and colorful that pulls you inside and keeps you a willing captive. It's an astonishing piece of writing. I have yet to read LITTLE ALTARS EVERYWHERE, but I am certain it will not disappoint.
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on January 24, 2002
The Audio version is so good, I bought an additional set for my life-long best friend! I did not want to part with mine. If you've lost your sparkle, get this set. The author, Rebecca Wells has a fabulous voice.
You will find your magic again, and remember things long forgot. If only our children could experience these experiences.
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on May 21, 2002
A wonderfully entertaining book about the magical friendships between women, and the wild roller-coaster, love/hate relationships between mothers and daughters. You will laugh yourself silly, and cry buckets of tears your didn't know needed to be cried.
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on December 7, 2008
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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on November 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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on 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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on January 6, 2004
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a story of love, friendship and the events that shape a person. Sidda Walker is a forty-old playwright who is afraid to love or lose her fiancée. After a misleading article in the New York Times proclaiming her mother a "Tap-Dancing Child Abuser" Sidda decides to go and find herself. She goes to a secluded cabin in Washington, and asks her mom, Vivi for "The Divine Secrets", a scrapbook of Vivi's life growing up with her friends in Louisiana. In the book, Sidda finds letters, newspaper articles, and stories about Vivi's life, and she discovers all the divine parts of Vivi's life.
This book talks about friendships that shape peoples lives. The friendship between the "Ya-Ya's" is strong, and shapes all of their lives. The author, Rebecca Wells tells this story beautifully through stories. Wells used a narrative that jumps around from third to first person, depending on the story or letter. This adds closeness between the reader and the characters in the book. The reader is able to be a part of the story, and when it's first person, they can feel what the character is feeling.
Another great thing about the book is the unique relationship between the mother and the daughter. The relationship is introduced very harshly, with the New York Times article. Then through the stories, the reader is able to see all of the events that changed the relationship, including the main one, the abuse. Wells wrote the story in a way that the audience can relate with this story line. Most people have unique relationships with their mothers, and this is a topic people can relate with.
Another thing Wells did well in the story is to talk about the issue of abuse. In the story, Sidda is abused when she was a child. This affected Sidda throughout her life. The abuse story line is a very real issue, and helped create emotion.
Overall, the book is outstanding. Rebecca Wells told the story of Vivi Walker very well. In one minute, the reader hates Vivi, and in the next you feel sorry for her and the next moment you understand why she's the way she is. I highly recommend this book to anyone, and I encourage everyone to read it.
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on December 10, 2003
The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood
(...)
Siddalle Walker is the eldest daughter of Viviane Abbot Walker. She has a very complicated relationsip with her mother. Siddallee feels she has been abused when she was a little girl and that she was never good enough for her mother. She felt she lived a horrible life when conpared to her mother's life it wasn't even close to horrible. Viviane Abbot Walker is a giddy, high strung woman. She lived a very hard life when she was younger. Her mother was jealous and hated her. She cannot get over the death of her high school sweetheart who died in the war. Ever since then she has developed a drinking problem. Siddalee and Vivi have both broken each others hearts and this is the story of them mending them.
The plot starts off when Siddalee Walker is interviewed by a magazine, about a hit play she directed. In the interview her mother is described as a "tap-dancing child abuser." Enraged, Vivi refuses to accept that Sidda is her daughter. Sidda begs for forgiveness and even post pones her wedding. So, Sidda will understand her mother's life, and why she is the way she is the Ya-Yas, a group Vivi made when she was 11-years-old with her three friends, convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of her childhood memories and her growing up called, " The Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood." The rest of the story shows the ups and downs of Vivi's life, and also how Siddalee saw her mother at that time.
In my opinion this was a fantastic, well written book. It very well showed the many struggles between a mother and a daughter. The characters were creatively and fully developed, and I was able to feel like I was living the characters' lives. This is a book with a lot of emotion. I was either not able to stop laughing, or I was bawling my eyes out. I was always feeling what the characters were feeling. When thye laughed, I laughed; when they cried, I cried. This was a very comic and dramatic book that I couldn't stop reading. I was very well drawn into the story.
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on December 1, 2003
First of all I did not like the movie. So don't let that deter you. This is a wonderful book full of life and poetry with passages that beg to be re-read. I read this book based on a recommendation and I wasn't sure whether I'd even finish it. It's one of my favorites now.
Siddha Abbott is having some problems. She has postponed her wedding and is on the outs with her mother thanks to an interview in the New York Times where she divulges (thinking it's not for publication) that her Mother was not the best parent. And in fact she wasn't between the boozing and the pills and her just not really wanting to be married or a parent most of the time. Siddha's mother, Vivi, sends her the scrapbook she created to document the times of her and her 3 lifelong friends, the Ya-Ya's. Ostensibly this is because Siddha asked for information from her on female friendships but really this is Vivi's attempt to explain why she is the way she is to her estranged daughter in the only way she can. Over the course of the book, Siddha and Viva, in Washington and Louisiana respectively, will delve into the past and try to come to terms with it. Parts of the story are funny, like the Ya-Ya's attending the Gone with the Wind premiere (a sequence like so many others that the film failed to do justice to.) Some parts are touching and some are really disturbing-the abuse endured by Vivi and later Siddha is not dwellt on extensively but it's intense. The Ya-Ya's, who care for them both, help Siddha fill in some blanks about Vivi's disappearances and one alcohol fueled rage that literally left scars. The themes of forgiveness and redemption and finally taking joy in the moment run throughout.
And the writing! Wells is in no hurry with her narrative but has such a gift for description that you could read all day happily about the Ya-Ya's sitting on that porch ("This is where they lay for hours, contemplating their navels, sweating, dozing, swatting flies, trading secrets there on the porch in a hot, humid girl soup.") If you thought the movie was too maudlin or manufactured (it was), this book strikes a perfect note. It's funny, sad and sweet in just the right balance. And the end-I won't give it away but I just wanted to step into the pages and experience it with the characters who were like family at that point. There is so much that is worthwhile in this book it's not just for mothers and daughters.
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on June 16, 2003
Okay, I can't explain it. I walked into this book prepared to hate it, but the conditions were that I read the book before seeing the movie, per mom. Not that I wanted to see the movie, but we had to have our "mother-daughter" deal. *sigh* I picked up the book and glanced at it. Over and over. For about a week, until finally I tried to read it. I was, from the first page, hooked on that book like a snapper is hooked on a fishing line. Nothing could tear me free, not dinner, dessert, friends, the internet- nothing until I finished the dang book. And once I was done, ya know what? I read it all again! I've read it at least 6 times. The movie wasn't near as good as the book, so if you're basing your impressions of the Ya-Yas on Sandra Bullock *shudder* (not a bad actress- but not Siddalee, at all), you need to read this book. I promise you, I give you my personal guarentee, that you will fall in love (or at least enjoy) the stories of Siddalee, Vivi, and the whole Ya-Ya bunch down there in Louisiana.
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