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Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood Paperback – 6 Sep 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (6 Sept. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330411500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330411509
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,126,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Siddalee Walker's mother Vivi disowns her daughter when a reporter, who interviews the 40-year-old, successful director, describes her mother as a "tap dancing child abuser". Devastated, Sidda postpones her wedding. The Ya-Yas, Vivi's strong circle of friends since childhood, are horrified and agree to send Siddalee the scrapbook of "Divine Secrets" to try and help her to understand her mother and herself.

Sidda submerges herself in the wild, wondrous and wicked world of the Ya-Yas as she reads through half-a-century's worth of letters and clippings contained in the Ya-Ya Sisterhood's parcel of "Divine Secrets". Middle-class Louisiana quakes as the quartet makes its way through adolescence: from being disqualified from the Shirley-Temple-look-a-like competition because Teensy did a "poot", to attending the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta, only for Vivi's hoop skirt, "much to her confusion, to go entirely over the head of the person sitting in the seat in front of her", to spending a night in jail after floating naked on a hot southern evening in the town's water cooler.

Rebecca Wells, author of Little Altars Everywhere (in which Siddalee Walker describes the anguishes of childhood), has created a beautifully crafted, penetrating insight into society, friendship, the mother/daughter divide and religion. No subject is taboo as you dip in and out of the lives of Vivi, Teensy, Caro and Necie--the Ya Yas. --Nicola Perry --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

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-Yas, 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.' One of those rare books you'll be pressing on all your friends' She --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 15 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not sure if I love this or hate it hence the middle of the road rating. Veers into the nauseating at times with syrupy-sweet descriptions (not least the food, bananas slathered in peanut butter and jelly etc). The masturbation scene stands out as especially sick-making (flowers blooming etc...)

Also occasionally felt compelled to give the younger Ya Yas a bit of a slap TBH. Some awkward references on race here which as a non- American reader were interesting and slightly disturbing

Found it weirdly compelling though... did great real sense of atmosphere and female friendship...overall this is a bit of a guilty pleasure read to me
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By A Customer on 8 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on 11 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
Well I just don't get it. If you are expecting humour, likeable characters and something approaching real life, forget it. This is a not very well written cataglogue of self-indulgence. I failed to engage with a single character - the two main female protagonists are a mother and daughter who are neck and neck in the race for who most deserves a smack on the legs. Interesting themes are completely ignored: for example relations between rich white employers and their black staff in pre-integration Louisiana. Instead the book invites the reader to find the antics of a posse of spoilt brats cute. They are not. I was desperate for something funny to happen; instead every few pages a stream of amateur psychobabble appears. The characters and the author both could do with a large helping of common sense.
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