Summary and book reviews of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

by Rebecca Wells

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
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  • First Published:
    May 1996, 356 pages
    Paperback:
    May 1997, 356 pages

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Book Summary

"Wells' voice is uniquely her own, funny and generous and full of love and heartbreak, in that grand Louisiana literary tradition of transforming family secrets into great stories"

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.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood may call to mind Prince of Tides in its unearthing of family darkness; in its unforgettable heroines and irrepressible humor and female loyalty, it echoes Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Tap-dancing child abuser. That's what The Sunday New York Times from March 8, 1993, had called Vivi. The pages of the week-old Leisure Arts section lay scattered on the floor next to Sidda as she curled up in the bed, covers pulled tightly around her, portable phone on the pillow next to her head. There had been no sign the theater critic would go for blood. Roberta Lydell had been so chummy, so sisterly-seeming during the interview that Sidda had felt she'd made a new girlfriend. After all, in her earlier review, Roberta had already proclaimed the production of Women on the Cusp, which Sidda had directed at Lincoln Center, to be "a miraculous event in American theater." With subtle finesse, the journalist had lulled Sidda into a cozy false sense of intimacy as she pumped her for personal information.

As Sidda lay in the bed, her cocker spaniel, Hueylene, crawled into the crook formed by her knees. For the past week, the cocker had been the only company Sidda had wanted. ...

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Plot Summary

Sidda is a girl again in the hot heart of Louisiana, the bayou world of Catholic saints and voodoo queens. She walks barefoot into the humid night, moonlight on her freckled shoulders. Near a huge, live oak tree on the edge of her father's cotton fields, Sidda looks up into the sky. In the crook of the crescent moon sits the Holy Lady, with strong muscles and a merciful heart. She kicks her splendid legs like the moon is her swing and the sky, her front porch. She waves down at Sidda like she has just spotted an old buddy. Sidda stands in the moonlight and lets the Blessed Mother love every hair on her six-year-old head. Tenderness flows down from the moon and up from the earth. For one fleeting, luminous moment, Sidda ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Washington Post

A very entertaining and, ultimately, deeply moving novel about the complex bonds between mother and daughter. Columbus Dispatch One heck of a rollicking good read...You'll laugh. You'll cry. But you'll mostly want to laugh and offer Wells a hearty merci.

New Orleans Times-Picayune

[W]ells' voice is uniquely her own, funny and generous and full of love and heartbreak, in that grand Louisiana literary tradition of transforming family secrets into great stories

The Oregonian

An insightful, delicious novel.

Publishers Weekly

Told through several narrative vehicles and traveling through space and time from Depression-era Louisiana to present-day Seattle, this novel attempts to wed a folksy homespun tale to a soul-searching examination of conscience. But while Wells' ambition is admirable and her talent undeniable, she never quite makes this difficult marriage work.

Reader Reviews

meee

excellent..love the relationship btw the girlfriends

Beau

The divine secrets was just such an amazing read!! I absoulutly loved it, could not put it down for a second! I would recommend it to everyone. It is a wonderful tale about relationships and especially friendship. You will laugh, cry and really get ...   Read More

jenni mccullough

this book was amazing what more could you ask for out of a book. the movie was also amazing and i would reccommend it to everyone i loved it so much

Amanda

This book was a great book. I would love to read it agian.

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