"Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" is an incredible book. It deals with difficult subjects without turning people into stereotypes. It tackles subjects of abuse, and the reactions from it psychologically on both parties. It details loving relationships between people without turning to sentimentality. And it's hilarious and heartbreaking in the same page at times...Everyone has things that they must learn to forgive our parents for. We all carry wounds from the way we were raised. We all have a sense of love for our families and friends that transcends the boundaries of rational thinking. The Ya-Ya's are truly eternal reminders that we must hang on to those things, grow from them, learn from them, but most of all, keep them close and don't analyze them...Just love them for who and what they are.
WONDERFUL book and movie. This was one of those books I have re-read quite a few times. I read this book first and then read Little Altars Everywhere - which helped clear up some questions I had regarding this book. Well worth your time. The 1st time I read it, I did so in two days.
I really enjoyed the style of writing Wells uses, kind of familiar. This is a great story with some ditsurbing parts, but well written and catches you in pretty quick. I also enjoyed the follow-up, YaYas in Bloom.
A very entertaining and ultimately, deeply moving novel about the complex bonds between a mother and a daughter. This is the sweet and sad and goofy mondey-dance of life, as performed by a bevy of unforgettable Southern belles in a verdant garden of moonlit prose. Poignantly coo-coo, the Ya-Yas (and their Petite Ya-Yas) will prance, priss, ponder, and party their way into your sincere affection.
A good and funny (and a little heartbreaking) read. I like the way you see the characters as they are all grown up, then you learn about their past and why some are they way they are... some of it you can forgive and understand better knowing what they have been through. I read these books in the order they were published and found it satisfying, but would probably read "Little Altars Everywhere" first if you've never read them.
An adult daughter writes about her mother's lifelong group of friends, and their support of each other during life's different seasons. She knows these ladies well, and spends a hilarious weekend with them as an adult. Humorous
SiddaLee Walker, at 39, is a creative theatrical director. She prides herself on having escaped her Louisiana hometown and her mother, Vivi Abbot Walker, a local beauty and performer who, in a recent "New York Times" article, is called a "tap-dancing child abuser." A fight over this article erupts between Sidda and Vivi, just when Sidda needs her mother's help with a play she's writing about women's friendships. Eventually, Vivi sends her daughter letters, photos, journals, and souvenirs form the Ya-Ya sisterhood. This group of girlfriends was wild and clever, and stuck in a small town where they were expected to raise babies, not Cain.
This is the second book in the "Ya-Yas" Series" and probably the most famous of the three. It is also probably the best of the three, or at least I thought it was the best in the series. This book presents Siddalee (Sidda) Walker, grown up and on her own, dealing with the idea of marriage. She is in love with a wonderful man, but she can't seem to bring herself to marry him due to issues from her childhood, particularly those issues with her mother, Vivi. She feels like she's never been taught how to love, and this is compounded with an incident that caused Vivi to alienate herself from Sidda. Sidda decides to seek refuge from the world in a cabin out in the woods, and there she discovers what she was longing for, with a little help from her mothers' friends, the Ya-Yas, and a scrapbook containing their "Divine Secrets." Using the "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" as her guide, Sidda discovers secrets from Vivi's life, which helps bring understanding to her own life.
As mentioned before, I liked this book the best out of the three. The writing style is more "traditional" than the first and third books. Those books both bounce back and forth between time periods and character perspectives in every chapter. This book has much cleaner transitions between time periods and keeps everything except a few letters between characters in the third person. This book can certainly be enjoyed without reading the other two books in the series. I felt that Vivi was much more of a "mixed up and misunderstood" character in this book, rather than the monster she seems to be in the first one. I like Vivi much better in this book.
Debbie T. reviewed Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Ya Yas, Bk 2) on
One of my favorite books ever! This book had me laughing out loud one minute and crying the next. Set in the era of my own childhood, there are many recognizable scenes making me feel as if I surely had known these women.
Great book! The movies is one of my favorites but the book is so much better. It's about a mother and a daughter relationship and how they interact is so real and comical. One minute they are friends, the next minute they are aweful to each other. A lot of the book are flash backs of both the mother and daughter and what makes them the way they are.
The Ya-Yas are the wild circle of girls who swirl around the narrator Siddalee's mama, Vivi, whose vivid voice is "part Scarlett, part Katharine Hepburn, part Tallulah." The Ya-Yas broke the no-booze rule at the cotillion, skinny-dipped their way to jail in the town water tower, disrupted the Shirley Temple look-alike contest, and bonded for life because, as one says, "It's so much fun being a bad girl!"
Siddalee must repair her busted relationship with Vivi by reading a half-century's worth of letters and clippings contained in the Ya-Ya Sisterhood's packet of "Divine Secrets."
If you are a woman and a southerner, this book needs no introduction. If you are a mother or a daughter and you haven't found DS, then do yourself a favor and read it.
The book's main charm comes from discovering the secrets of Vivi's tortured past. As the reader, you find the "scraps" and put them all together to form a complex portrait of friendship and motherhood. Sidda's seclusion in a northwest cabin is balanced with moments from Vivi's past. It becomes a scavenger hunt as each chapter offers a revelation that helps Sidda better understand her mother and ultimately herself.
I reread DS once a year just to visit with Vivi and the gang.
I am sure everyone has read Ya-Ya of the sisterhood. I have passed my book around to my friends before I swapped it to the paperbackswap. I enjoyed the book more than the movie. Those southern belles were a pretty roudy bunch of friends. The times now would prevent all the antics they did. Drinking and driving. And most of them would probably be up on charges of child abuse of some sort. But it was a laugh out loud book to read
Wells is a Louisiana-born Seattle actress and playwright; her loopy saga of a 40-year-old player in Seattle's hot theater scene who must come to terms with her mama's past in steamy Thornton City, Louisiana, reads like a lengthy episode of Designing Women written under the influence of mint juleps and Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!. The Ya-Yas are the wild circle of girls who swirl around the narrator Siddalee's mama, Vivi, whose vivid voice is "part Scarlett, part Katharine Hepburn, part Tallulah." The Ya-Yas broke the no-booze rule at the cotillion, skinny-dipped their way to jail in the town water tower, disrupted the Shirley Temple look-alike contest, and bonded for life because, as one says, "It's so much fun being a bad girl!"
Bernie N. (Bernie) reviewed Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Ya Yas, Bk 2) on
When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she's directed, her mother gets described as a "tap-dancing child abuser." Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for.
"Rebecca Wells's new novel is a big, blowzy romp through the rainbow eccentricities of three generations of crazy bayou debutantes trying to survive marriage, motherhood, and pain, relying always on their love for each other...A novel of wide reach and lots of colors: fun in a breathless sort of way."
Reading group guide (and recipes) available at ya-ya.com. The 2002 movie starred Sandra Bullock. Ellen Burstyn, Fionnula Flanagan, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Shirley Knight, and Maggie Smith.
From Library Journal
When a reporter uses upcoming theatrical director Siddalee Walker's description of her mother, Vivi, as a "tap-dancing child abuser," Vivi casts her daughter out of her life. Sidda, feeling unloved and unlovable, postpones her wedding and retreats to Washington State's Olympic Peninsula to try to understand why she cannot sustain emotional relationships. Vivi's three lifelong friends (known collectively as the "Ya-Yas") persuade her to send Sidda the scrapbook filled with mementos of Vivi's life in the small Central Louisiana town where she grew up, married, and raised her family. Paging through the scrapbook, Sidda begins to glimpse the dark shadows in her mother's life. The narrative deftly switches between first- and third-person viewpoints, from Vivi's past as revealed in the scrapbook to Sidda's childhood guilt about failing her mother. Wells (Little Altars Everywhere) demonstrates that with knowledge can come forgiveness. She has written an entertaining and engrossing novel filled with humor and heartbreak. Readers will envy Vivi her Ya-Ya "sisters" and Sidda her lover, who is one of the most appealing men to be found in recent mainstream fiction. This entirely satisfactory novel belongs in public libraries of all sizes.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought Wells beautifully captured location and time that we won't see again. I loved the enduring friendships and the use of the scrapbook to tell the stories was quite clever.
Millie J. (Millie) - , reviewed Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (Ya Yas, Bk 2) on
"This is the sweet and sad and goofy monkey-dance of life, as performed by a bevy of unforgettable Southern belles in a verdant garden of moonlit prose. Poignantly coo-coo, the Ya-Yas (and their Petites Ya-Yas) will prance, priss, ponder, and party their way into your sincere affection." Tom Robbins
Performed, not read, by the author is the key here. This highly spirited interpretation of the cult classic is, like the book, full of humor and surprises. It captures with ease the powerful lifelong friendship between four Southern women, the Ya-Ya's: Vivi, Teensy, Caro, and Necie. The author endows each of her charming characters with an inimitable Southern accent, from a low rumble for the aging oxygen-tank-carrying Caro, to the fresh innocent voice of Vivi as a child. The story moves back and forth from present to past when Vivi's daughter, Sidda, is faced with a crisis and is given the golden opportunity to explore the history of these devoted pals through her mother's secret scrapbook. Her journey is sprinkled with her own memories of her irrepressible and irresistible mother, and she is rewarded with glimpses of true love and loyalty against an often hilarious and poignant backdrop of life in the rural South.
An oldie but a goodie. This book spans the lives of two generations of women and how they survived addictions, abuse and societies expectations. It is filled with drama, pain, and most of all, profound love. The story will stay with you.
"This is the sweet and sad and goofy monkey-dance of life, as performed by a bevy of unforgettable Southern belles in a verdant garden of moonlit prose. Poignantly coo-coo, the Ya-Yas (and their Petites Ya-Yas) will prance, priss, ponder, and party their way into your since affection." (Tom Robbins)
"A very entertaining and, ultimately, deeply moving novel about the complex bonds between a mother and daughter." (Washington Post)
The Barnes & Noble Review
A powerfully literate yet thoroughly engaging and accessible novel, this story of a close-knit society of southern women has become a modern cult classic bolstered by author Rebecca Wells's abiltity to transcend standard-issue chick lit with bold and unique characters and a tale that digs deeply into the complex bonds of family.
The entangled story of actress Siddalee Walker, her mother Vivi, and Vivi's group of pals -- the Ya-Yas -- gets off to a heated start when Sidda's disparaging remarks about her mother run in the New York Times. Vivi declares all-out war and immediately cuts Sidda out of her will, pushes a libel suit, and forbids the other septuagenarian Ya-Ya's to speak to Sidda ever again. Convinced she doesn't "know how to love," a shaken Sidda postpones her upcoming wedding and flees to a remote Washington cabin. Suddenly concerned about her daughter, Vivi convenes an emergency Ya-Ya council and at last decides to reveal her jealously guarded past to Sidda through her treasured scrapbook, "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."
The scrapbook spans Ya-Ya history, documenting among other things the hilarious Shirley Temple Look-Alike Contest that first united the four women in a conspiracy against polite society; the secret history and initiation rites of the group; a trip to Atlanta to attend the premier of Gone With The Wind; and Vivi's first and greatest love. It also sheds light on Vivi's reaction to the constraints of motherhood and the alcoholism, self-medication, and spiritual confusion that eventually led to a complete nervous breakdown. Also buried in the book is the key that unlocks Sidda's childhood memory of a lost lesson of love and brings her to a new understanding of her family's shared triumphs and tragedies.
Much more universal in its appeal than the "women's book" some reviewers have been tempted to call it (according to Wells, "It's a book for women -- and smart men"), The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood manages with passion, humor, and an irrepressible gift for language to somehow show readers of all backgrounds a mirror-perfect reflection of their own life experiences. (Greg Marrs)