Cover image for Divine secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood [a novel]
Title:
Divine secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood [a novel]
Author:
Wells, Rebecca.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Abridged.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper Audio, [1998]

℗1998
Physical Description:
3 compact discs (180 min.) : digital, audio ; 4 3/4 in.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780694521685
Format :
Music CD

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Summary

Summary

As a daughter struggles to analyse her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for.

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Summary

Siddalee Walker must come to terms with her mama's past by reading through a century's worth collection of letters that were contained in the Ya-Ya Sisterhood's 'Divine Secret' packet.


Author Notes

Rebecca Wells is an American playwright and author. She is best known for her Ya-Ya series of novels.

Well's novel, The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, made the New York Times Bestseller list in 2016.

Wells was born in Central Louisiana and grew up on a working plantation where her family lived since 1795. She currently lives on an island near Seattle.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Carrying echoes of both Fannie Flagg and Pat Conroy, Wells's second novel continues the story of Siddalee Walker, introduced in Little Altars Everywhere (1992). When Sidda asks her mother, the aging belle Vivi, for help in researching women's friendships, Vivi sends her daughter a scrapbook. From this artifact of Vivi's own lifelong friendship with three women collectively known as "the Ya-Ya's," and from Sidda's response to it, a story unfolds regarding a dark period in Vivi and Sidda's past that plagues their present relationship. While anecdotes about the Ya-Ya's (such as the riotous scene at a Shirley Temple look-alike contest) are often very amusing, the narrative is beset by superficial characterization and forced colloquialisms. Told through several narrative vehicles and traveling through space and time from Depression-era Louisiana to present-day Seattle, this novel attempts to wed a folksy homespun tale to a soul-searching examination of conscience. But while Wells's ambition is admirable and her talent undeniable, she never quite makes this difficult marriage work. $50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (May) FYI: HarperPerennial will publish the paperback edition of Little Altars Everywhere, which won the Western States Book Award, in May. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

When a reporter uses upcoming theatrical director Siddalee Walker's description of her mother, Vivi, as a "tap-dancing child abuser," Vivi casts her daughter out of her life. Sidda, feeling unloved and unlovable, postpones her wedding and retreats to Washington State's Olympic Peninsula to try to understand why she cannot sustain emotional relationships. Vivi's three lifelong friends (known collectively as the "Ya-Yas") persuade her to send Sidda the scrapbook filled with mementos of Vivi's life in the small Central Louisiana town where she grew up, married, and raised her family. Paging through the scrapbook, Sidda begins to glimpse the dark shadows in her mother's life. The narrative deftly switches between first- and third-person viewpoints, from Vivi's past as revealed in the scrapbook to Sidda's childhood guilt about failing her mother. Wells (Little Altars Everywhere, LJ 7/92) demonstrates that with knowledge can come forgiveness. She has written an entertaining and engrossing novel filled with humor and heartbreak. Readers will envy Vivi her Ya-Ya "sisters" and Sidda her lover, who is one of the most appealing men to be found in recent mainstream fiction. This entirely satisfactory novel belongs in public libraries of all sizes.‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Novel, A Chapter One Tap-dancing child abuser. That's what the Sunday New York Times from March 8, 1993, had called Vivi. The pages of the week-old Leisure Arts section lay scattered on the floor next to Sidda as she curled up in the bed, covers pulled tightly around her, portable phone on the pillow next to her head. There had been no sign the theater critic would go for blood. Roberta Lydell had been so chummy, so sisterly-seeming during the interview that Sidda had felt she'd made a new girlfriend. After all, in her earlier review, Roberta had already proclaimed the production of Women on the Cusp, which Sidda had directed at Lincoln Center, to be "a miraculous event in American theater." With subtle finesse, the journalist had lulled Sidda into a cozy false sense of intimacy as she pumped her for personal information. As Sidda lay in the bed, her cocker spaniel, Hueylene, crawled into the crook formed by her knees. For the past week, the cocker had been the only company Sidda had wanted. Not Connor McGill, her fiancé. Not friends, not colleagues. Just the dog she'd named in honor of Huey Long. She stared at the phone. Her relationship with her mother had never been smooth, but this latest episode was disastrous. For the umpteenth time that week, Sidda punched in the number of her parents' home at Pecan Grove. For the first time, she actually let it ring through. At the sound of Vivi's hello, Sidda's stomach began to cramp. "Mama? It's me." Without hesitation, Vivi hung up. Sidda punched automatic redial. Vivi picked up again, but did not speak. "Mama, I know you're there. Please don't hang up. I'm so sorry this all happened. I'm really, really sorry. I--" "There is nothing you can say or do to make me forgive you," Vivi said. "You are dead to me. You have killed me. Now I am killing you." Sidda sat up in bed and tried to catch her breath. "Mother, I did not mean for any of this to take place. The woman who interviewed me--" "I have cut you out of my will. Do not be surprised if I sue you for libel. There are no photographs left of you on any of my walls. Do not--" Sidda could see her mother's face, red with anger. She could see how her veins showed lavender underneath her light skin. "Mama, please. I cannot control The New York Times. Did you read the whole thing? I said, 'My mother, Vivi Abbott Walker, is one of the most charming people in the world.'" "'Charming wounded.' You said: 'My mother is one of the most charming wounded people in the world. And she is also the most dangerous.' I have it here in black-and-white, Siddalee." "Did you read the part where I credited you for my creativity? Where I said, 'My creativity comes in a direct flow from my mother, like the Tabasco she used to spice up our baby bottles.' Mama, they ate it up when I talked about how you'd put on your tap shoes and dance for us while you fed us in our high chairs. They loved it." "You lying little bitch. They loved it when you said: 'My mother comes from the old Southern school of child rearing where a belt across a child's bare skin was how you got your point across.'" Sidda sucked in her breath. "They loved it," Vivi continued, "when they read: 'Siddalee Walker, articulate, brilliant director of the hit show Women on the Cusp, is no stranger to family cruelty. As the battered child of a tap-dancing child abuser of a mother, she brings to her directing the rare and touching equipoise between personal involvement and professional detachment that is the mark of theatrical genius.' "'Battered child'! This is shit! This is pure character-defaming shit from the most hideous child imaginable!" Sidda could not breathe. She raised her thumb to her mouth and bit the skin around the nail, something she had not done since she was ten years old. She wondered where she'd put the Xanax. "Mama, I never meant to hurt you. Many of those words I never even uttered to that damn journalist. I swear, I--" "You Goddamn self-centered liar! It's no Goddamn wonder every relationship you have falls apart. You know nothing about love. You have a cruel soul. God help Connor McGill. He would have to be a fool to marry you." Sidda got out of bed, her whole body shaking. She walked to the window of her twenty-second-floor apartment in Manhattan Plaza. From where she stood, she could see the Hudson River. It made her think of the Garnet River in Central Louisiana, and how red its water flowed. Mama, you bitch, she thought. You devouring, melodramatic bitch. When she spoke, her voice was steely, controlled. "What I said was not exactly a lie, Mother. Or have you forgotten the feel of the belt in your hand?" Sidda could hear Vivi's sharp intake of breath. When Vivi spoke, her voice had dropped into a lower register. "My love was a privilege that you abused. I have withdrawn that privilege. You are out of my heart. You are banished to the outer reaches. I wish you nothing but unending guilt." Sidda heard the dial tone. She knew her mother had broken the connection. But she could not lower the phone from her ear. She stood frozen in place, the sounds of midtown Manhattan down below, the cold March light of the city fading around her. After years of directing plays in regional theaters from Alaska to Florida, after numerous Off-Off-Broadway productions, Sidda had been ready for the success of Women on the Cusp. When the play finally opened at Lincoln Center that February, it was to unanimous golden reviews... Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Novel, A . Copyright © by Rebecca Wells. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.