Book Reviews

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel (The Ya-Ya Series Book 1) by Rebecca Wells

No ImageBuy Now

List Price: £3.99


Kindle Edition: 400 Pages.

Published: 17 March 2009 by HarperCollins e-books



When theatre director Siddalee Walker inadvertently reveals some of the less-savory facts of her Louisiana childhood to the New York Times, the article brands her mother, Vivi, a "tap-dancing child abuser. Vivi virtually disowns Sidda, but Vivi's intrepid gang of lifelong friends, the Ya-Yas, sashay in and conspire to bring everyone back together. The Ya-Yas persuade Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos entitled "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Through a series of flashbacks from Sidda's current crisis to Vivi's youth and early motherhood, the "Divine Secrets" reveal themselves through Rebecca Wells' vibrant, irresistible voice, and provide an incisive look a the tangled and emotional relationship between mother and daughter.


5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

Excellent reading

Siddalee is interviewed by a journalist and when the article is published it makes it appear that she has been very critical about her mother Vivi. Vivi is furious, Sidda ditches her imminent wedding and Vivi's friends send her daughter the scrapbook which tells the history of the Ya Ya

Sisters (Vivi and her two friends). The story of the Ya Yas is told in a series of press cuttings and other documents contained in the scrapbook and the reminiscences of the three women and flashbacks.

At first this appears like an amusing tale of three young women from a privileged background in Louisiana who make their way through society as they grow up and have children of their own. It does this very well and I laughed quite a lot at the Ya Ya's antics. The novel, however, has a lot more depth than that. It is an excellent social history of the time clearly showing the changes in the lives of the well off at a particular time and in a particular place. Attitudes to women and relationships between the sexes are featured particularly and the author shows the often limited choices that women had - she doesn't make the mistake of portraying all men as evil and all her characters are well developed and nuanced. Vivi hasn't had the easiest of lives and the author celebrates the lasting female friendships that have supported her through the years.

This is the book about the reforging of a relationship between a mother and a daughter and it can only be fixed when Sidda understands how her mother has become the woman that she is. It is a powerful book about friendship without sentimentalising it and a story of courage and endurance in places.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought that it had some powerful and insightful writing and that the author also managed to make it funny and heartwarming without being soppy. The book had good detail about how life must have been at a certain strata of society and the restrictions as well as privileges that brought with it. A great read.

<< previous | next >>