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Fiction-Net > Book Reviews > Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood

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Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells - Book Review

Title
Author
Publisher

Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Rebecca Wells
Pan Books

Fiction-Net Rating 4 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

When Siddalee Walker, eldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker (Ya-Ya extraordinaire - part Scarlett, part Katharine Hepburn, part Tallulah), is interviewed about a hit play she has directed, her mother is described as a 'tap-dancing child abuser'. Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda - devastating her daughter who postpones her wedding and puts her life on hold until she is granted forgiveness.

Trying to repair the relationship, the Ya-Ya's, Vivi's intrepid tribe of Louisiana girlfriends, sashay in and insist Sidda is sent 'The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood', a scrapbook of their lives together from the day in 1932 when they were disqualified from a Shirley Temple lookalike contest for unladylike behaviour. Expected to raise babies, not Cain, the Ya-Yas are bonded for life in an unforgettable exploration of the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and the power of female friendship.

We Say

I could really feel the intense heat of the Deep South summer and the sweat trickling down my back as I imagined myself lying in a hammock on a porch overlooking the cotton fields. Well, it was at least sunny as I sat by the hotel pool devouring this book as a part of my holiday reading package. It's certainly ideal for this purpose, a great big brick of a paperback with an epic story and plenty of gossipy anecdotes.

Fortunately, Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood is also intelligent and insightful. The elder generation, the Ya-Ya sisterhood themselves, make a formidable quartet. As Dylan Thomas would have it, "raging against the dying of the light" of old age. Sidda, the daughter of the most tempestuous of the Ya-Ya's is the reader's companion on the journey of discovery about the past. A thoroughly modern American woman, needing to make her peace with her unconventional mother and herself.

Like the Ya-ya scrapbook that Sidda has to decipher, this Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood is full of faded, atmospheric American snapshots. Family pictures that only tell part of the story. I was gripped as the mysteries were revealed in evocative flashbacks. Deaths, journeys, breakdowns and a description of the actual film premiere of "Gone with the Wind" (just imagine!). This is American writing at its best.

Review by: Rachel Taylor

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