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4.2 out of 5 stars69
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 15 October 2003
If a humble (British) male is permitted a view on this, I'll say forget all those 'Mars' & 'Venus' theories. Read this book and a few more males may get to understand why we guys so often just don't understand!
Having just viewed the movie, it's prompted memories of reading the book about a year ago. Both experiences were thoroughly enjoyable - in a vividly coloured, brightly populated, emotionally roller-coasting kind of way.
I've never been to Louisiana, but I felt I could bathe up to my chin in the lushly sensual atmosphere created here.
I have, though, experienced something of the colourful/dysfunctional personalities of some of the main characters, and there are many strong resonant chords to be felt. As others too have said, there are good lessons, delightfully conveyed, to be learned here - about shared lives, parenthood, childhood (the good, and the less so), friendships, understanding, betrayal, and most of all, that sometimes most testing act of grace - forgiveness.
I laughed out loud, I quietly wept, I got completely drawn in. Thank you Rebecca Wells. Go read it - the characters just sashay off the pages straight into your heart - I loved it!
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on 11 December 2002
I defy anyone to read this book and not call someone 'Dahlin' before they finish! Or at the very least begin to read in a Southern drawl! This book made me laugh out loud and cry at times - and it even made me examine my own treatment of people - mainly other females in my life. A fantastic gift for a well-loved friend/sister/mother.
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on 28 May 2003
I really loved this book! The Ya-Yas are just wonderful,strong and oh-so-human women: no men-haters, they are women-nurturers and cherishers instead. They are all strong women that have created a life-long bond of friendship that sustains them no matter what. Their strength comes from their closeness and their mutual understanding and appreciation, proving that women can really have a league of their own. By sharing their divine secrets, they show us that there is really such a thing as true friendship between women - minus the neeed for competition and bitching that they are so often accused of, and the need to play the victims against men. Well done, Ya-Yas!
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on 8 September 2002
this book is beautiful. it is definatly a chick-book though, but its worth plodding through the occassional shmaltz and luvie-duviness and getting to know the characters. the basic premise is of a dysfunctional mother and daughter getting to know each other late in life, as the daughter learns about her mother through a scrap book the mother kept with her friends- the ya-yas. the really iteresting bits though are the flashbacks- the enigmatic, cruel, beautiful Vivi, the 'tap dancing child-abuser'. This is like a cross between the Golden Girls and Gone with the Wind, but worth perservering with.
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I don't usually start my reviews with a simple 'wow' but in this case, this is a book I feel genuinely warrants it. The simple fact of the matter is I absolutely adored this novel and hung onto every single delicious word. It actually kept me up until the early hours of the morning, bleary eyed and pouring over the pages because I just didn't want to go to sleep without not knowing what happened next- to Vivi, to Sidda and the entire group of eclectic, heartwarming characters.

This is a book about lifelong friendships between four strong women in Louisianna, about relationships, about complex families but most of all about the love between a mother and daughter. It has everything- drama, romance, intrigue and a setting to die for. Rebecca Wells manages to transport you to the South and pull you into the pages until you too wish you could be one of the Ya-Ya's. It's endlessly comforting too- definitely a book to cherish forever. This, like self-assured Teensy has instantly sashayed its way into my top ten favourite reads, it made that much of an impression on me.

I didn't want it to end and I'm still upset I've finished it (in hindsight I should have read it slooowly), but now that I have, I'm off to read the sequel.

Go and read this too- you won't regret it.
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on 19 July 2003
This definitely rates amongst my top five favourite novels. I absolutely loved it. So real and atmospheric. I really felt I was in the Deep South!

The characters are totally real and alive and seem to come out of the page. This is a book with depth and life. It is very much about being compassionate and empathising, rather than blaming. But that makes it sound boring. And it's not. It's wacky and fun. In parts it is real 'laugh out loud' stuff and other parts were heartbreaking.But on the whole a very positive book. Just wonderful!
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on 10 May 2000
If I had realised this book was a self help guide I probably wouldn't have read it. It is cleverly disguised in a rich, sensual and beatiful story of sisterhood and relationships between mothers, daughters and friends that makes you ache to be a part of it. As someone who has spent a large part of my teenage and adult life blaming my "Vivified" mother for being somewhat emotionally retarded, each time this book moved me to tears and nearer to understanding and forgiveness was like a punch to the chest. The bursts of crying and laughter you will experience are inevitable and it really is one that you will press on every female you love.
love to Ya-Ya's everywhere x
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 September 2012
Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood is the second of the Ya-Yas series by Rebecca Wells. Set in two main locations, it tells of Sidalee Walker's retreat to a remote cabin near Seattle to examine her past life and prospective marriage to Connor McGill, an examination that is facilitated and augmented by a scrap book of memorabilia her mother sends her from Louisiana, "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood", a book full of photos, letters, newspaper cuttings, tickets and tokens dealing with her mother's dysfunctional childhood and adolescence, and Sidda's own. Members of the Ya Ya sisterhood, her mother Viviane and friends Caro, Necie and Teensy, ultimately help Sidda find her way. From reading about the author's own background, it appears that this novel is semi-autobiographical, as the authenticity from personal experience is apparent. While there are many heart-warming moments, there is also quite a bit of heartbreak, and it is quite slow-moving in places, making me wish she'd just get on with it. Siddalee and Vivi seem to be rather self-indulgent, allowing themselves the neuroses and existential crises that only rich people can afford. This novel touches very briefly and superficially on the subject of The Help. Certainly it did not grab me enough to want to read the companion volume, Little Altars Everywhere.
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I very much enjoyed the fact that this book depicted an alcoholic as a real three-dimensional person instead of just a problem. That's what makes it so hard to deal with alcoholism, the alcoholic doesn't just stop being the person you love and admire because they are a drunk. This was extremely well written and had some supreme comic moments as well as some gut wrenchingly emotional ones.
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on 5 January 2000
I bought this book because it was on special offer, and I wasn't sure why I was buying it because I hate this kind of book, I hate films like Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias, and bruised women pulling together in the deep sodding south of America. Why, then, did I love it so much? It's warm and funny and sharp and genuinely lovable. The characterisation isn't simplistic or cliched. I admit, I AM a girl, but I'm not into girl feel-good literature at all. Nonetheless, I DID feel good, and, moreover, it made me feel good about being a girl. The Ya-Yas never succumb to the crappy widely-held belief that all women secretly hate each other and compete. They're proper friends. I think you'll like it. After all, I have a very short attention span and it's a very long book and I read it all without getting bored. It is good. I was surprised. Let yourself be surprised too.
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