Reading & Reviewing | R&R 047
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R&R 047 | Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

I don't have the book with me at this time, so some information such as ISBN number and edition info will follow later.

Rebecca Wells
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Information to follow
First published in:
This edition:

Photo: I channeled Vivi for this one.

Growing up together in the thirties and forties, Viviane Abbott and her friends share an unbreakable bond. Referring to themselves and known by everyone around them as the Ya-Ya's, the four women support each other through thick and thin, from childhood into old age.

A generation later, Vivi's 40 year-old daughter Siddalee Walker is a successful playwrite and about to get married to Colin. Whereas Colin is very much in love with – and completely committed to – Sidda, something holds her back…

Fragile due to Vivi's dramatic ways and Sidda's unwillingness to understand that no one is perfect, the mother-daughter relationship is on edge. Before Sidda can proceed with a commitment such as marriage, she needs to reflect on another relationship to which she is by blood committed: the relationship she has with her mother. With a gentle push from the Ya-Ya's, both equally stubborn women in their own way look back on where they went wrong and how to make it right.

A surprisingly intense novel, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is about the strength of female friendships as well as the struggles that come with being a mother OR a child. Children, not knowing the opposite to be true, expect perfection from their parents; mistakes are not easily forgotten of forgiven. A mother is also a wife, a mother is also a friend to others… and a mother is also an individual who has her own problems to deal with.

I did not expect to like the book as much as I did; it had more depth than I'd anticipated and upon finishing it, I felt I'd read something valuable.

The only downside I can think of – and should mention – is that I experienced the book's structure to be chaotic at times. While working with flashbacks a lot, Wells switches between third-person perspective and first-person perspective regularly for the same character. To clarify: Wells describes Sidda from an outsider's point of view, but when Sidda flashes back to memories, for instance, it's suddenly Sidda's voice telling the story. I didn't think that worked very well, though on the other hand, the technique was refreshing as not many authors go down this road. And I do appreciate different approaches to story-telling.

And a final point which I learned after finishing the book: There is a predecessor to Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood titled Ya-Ya's in Bloom. However, I did not feel that I missed out on anything; Divine Secrets is a book in its own right and very readable without the first book. Moreover, it is a wise book about a mother and a daughter seeking to make amends to themselves and one another… for being only human.

R&R series (and its photos, reviews) © Karin Elizabeth 2008-2009

Karin Elizabeth
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