Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel

by Rebecca Wells

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)

$7.99
View All Available Formats & Editions

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Eligible for FREE SHIPPING

Overview

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel by Rebecca Wells

When Siddalee Walker, oldest daughter of Vivi Abbott Walker, Ya-Ya extraordinaire, is interviewed in the New York Times about a hit play she's directed, her mother gets described as a 'tap-dancing child abuser.' Enraged, Vivi disowns Sidda. Devastated, Sidda begs forgiveness, and postpones her upcoming wedding. All looks bleak until the Ya-Yas step in and convince Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of their girlhood mementos, called 'Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.' As Sidda struggles to analyze 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.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood may call to mind Prince of Tides in its unearthing of family darkness, in its unforgettable heroines and irrepressible humor and female loyalty, it echoes Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060502256
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/21/2002
Series: Ya-Yas Series , #1
Pages: 480
Product dimensions: 0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Writer, actor, and playwright Rebecca Wells is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Ya-Yas in Bloom, Little Altars Everywhere, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which was made into a feature film. A native of Louisiana, she now lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest.

Hometown:

An island near Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

1952

Place of Birth:

Alexandria, Louisiana

Education:

B.A., Louisiana State University; Graduate work, Louisiana State University and Naropa Institute

Read an Excerpt

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 fianc‚. 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 reallysorry. 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. At the age of forty, Sidda was eager to bask in the light of recognition. She had worked on the play with the playwright, May Sorenson, since the play's first reading at the Seattle Rep, May's home turf. She'd directed not only the Seattle premiere, but productions in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Connor had designed the sets, and one of her best buddies, Wade Coenen, had done the costumes. The four of them had been a team for years, and Sidda had been thrilled to sit back with her pals and soak up some glory.

Roberta Lydell's initial review of the play had fawned over Sidda's work:

Siddalee Walker has directed May Sorenson's tour de force about mothers and daughters with gutsiness and compassion. In Walker's hands, what could have turned maudlin and overly comic is instead stunning, heartbreaking, and deeply funny. Walker has heard the purest tones of Sorenson's rollicking, complex, sad, witty play, and has shaped these tones into a production that is more a force of nature than a stage production. The family--its secrets, its murders, and its miraculous buoyancy--is alive and well at Lincoln Center. The American theater has both May Sorenson and Siddalee Walker to thank for it.

How could Sidda have known, a month later, that Roberta Lydell would snake her way into her psyche, extracting information that Sidda normally shared with only her therapist and best friends?

After the offending profile, Vivi and Shep, Sidda's father, and the rest of her family canceled their block of tickets to the play. Sidda set aside the elaborate plans she'd made for their visit. She often dreamed of Vivi crying. Dreams from which she, herself, woke crying. Sidda did not hear from her brother Little Shep, or her sister, Lulu. She heard nothing from her father. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Copyright © by Rebecca Wells. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Tom Robbins

This is a sweet and sad...dance of life...as performed by a bevy of unforgettable Southern belles...Poignantly coo-coo, the Ya-Yas...will prance, prick, ponder, and party their way into your future affections.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 207 reviews.
BANCHEE_READS More than 1 year ago
The companion of "Little Altars Everywhere," this book takes the vantage of the adult Sidda. Although she's become successful on the outside, the inside still trembles at the damage inflicted by her mother Vivi while growing up. In an attempt to help her daughter understand - and possibly restore their terribly damaged relationship - Vivi sends Sidda a scrapbook filled with "Ya-Ya-rabilia." As Sidda flips through the book and examines each item, the voices of Vivi and the other Ya-Yas explain the context which the item represents. Quickly, Sidda realizes that her mother was once young and full of hopes, which were dashed by her dour parents and a tragic death. If you aren't a big fan of flashbacks, this might not be the book for you. However, Wells seems to do a good job, moving seamlessly from past to present and back. I highly recommend giving it a try!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I first read this book when I was about 16 year old and it will always be a part of me. It's an incredible story of the bond between friends and family written in such a way that as it's read the reader becomes a part themself. I recommend this book to everyone. It is an amazing story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! I would recomend reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was amazingly truthful. Its beautiful and haunting all in one. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the movie but then read the book it is so much more detailed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth every star!
Aimee_Leon More than 1 year ago
Ooohh!..I loved Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The novel was so sweet, heart felt, and fabulous. The story is from Sidda's point of view than swoops over to Vivi's point with the Ya-Ya gang in between. All of the senses of the nostalgic feeling is shown & shared in this tale that leaves you yearning for your childhood days that were filled with joy,laughter, friendship, and adventure & tears. Anyone could relate to this novel, whether mother or daughter. This is the first novel of Rebecca Wells that I've read and I enjoyed it alot. So I'm definitely going to read her other books.
tchrreader More than 1 year ago
A book about four women who are the best of friends growing up (which makes them Ya Yas) and a petite ya ya (one of their daughters). The daughter is gathering information on the Ya Yas and their lives. I thought this book was really good, a nice story. It was all of the emotions you could hope for- happy, sad and a book about unconditional friendship. You will cry and you will laugh and you will want to become a Ya Ya! What a great story of friendship- share it with a friend.
Angela2932ND More than 1 year ago
A fun, easy, feel-good read. Although it has themes of coming to terms with childhood issues, complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and forgiveness, this is the kind of book that makes you want to celebrate relationships between women, even if it's more myth and wishful thinking than necessarily realized in real life. I think it taps into the longing that women feel for their childhood female friends, sometimes replicated in adulthood, but never quite with the same, sweet loyalty and bonding of young girls, probably pre-middle school. I read this book a few years ago, and remember that after it came out, it was popular to go on-line and "register" for a "ya ya sisterhood" name! Mine was "Countess Sassy Mouth!"
mrsutton25 More than 1 year ago
Beautifully well written story of the love between mother and daughter, the bonds of true friendship, and the lengths people go to find themselves. The characters will remain in your heart long after you read the last page.
xoxo_leigh More than 1 year ago
Make time for it because you won't be able to put it down! Amazing vivi-vidid mix of humor, life-long friendship, love, understanding and a 'lil mix of Louisiana soul. Story of a lost time, an age of innocence I'm jealous I will never experience. Next stop rent movie...hope its half as magical!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i can't wait to read the book after seeing the movie. Sandra Bullock and Ellen Burstyn did an outstanding job, along with the rest of the cast, bringing the characters from ms. wells book alive. they were so vibrant in the way they told the story, between present and past, to bring everyone together. it was the most heart warming film, and it showed how friendships can stick together, even after 70 years. the way everyone just came together, it shows what love, compassion, and the true test of friendship and never ending love is all about. i absolutely loved the movie, i've done watched about 40 times, till i know it by heart !! i have to say that ms. wells, is an awesome writer, and hope to see more of her stuff, bought to the movies !! i recommend this DVD to anyone ! she also made you feel like you were part of the story too, because i laughed and cried, with the women in the story, as it was told. very moving !!
Jeyra on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
A book that explores the complexities of the mother-daughter dynamic and uses fascinatingly complex characters to do it. More than worth the read. Some sexual content and language.
karieh on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
The only thing better than reading Wells's beautiful prose is listening to her read it. (Which is how I heard about her in the first place - she was reading part of her book in an interview.)
bexaplex on LibraryThing 12 hours ago
Siddalee Walker, a newly renowned theater director, gets disowned by revealing some none-too-flattering details of family life to the New York Times. Her mother's friends, the Ya-Yas, repair the relationship by filling in some missing details. The narrative is evenly split between Vivi's life and Sidda's.The forcefulness of the story certainly comes from the sections about Vivi. Sidda's are more prose-y, reflective, and there's a lot of breathing. Together they make a good counterpoint.
cindyloumn on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
LOVED it. I had heard lots of stuff about this book, but never believed it. Now I know it was true!! It was great. Great women characters. Much different then I imagined. hated to have it end!
drsyko on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
Out of the literally thousands of books I have read, this one is in my top five favorites. It is beautifully written, with phenomenal character development, a fascinating plot, and an overall emotional tone that is very powerful and very moving. I cannot imagine that there is a woman on the planet who cannot relate in some way to the women in this book. There are moments in this book that are simply breathtaking and at times I was laughing and crying at the same time when reading it. It is a supremely satisfying read. The book follows the amazing friendship of these women from when they are small children until they are women facing their own mortality. Wells is able to make each of them a fully realized person, and because of this you will find yourself struggling with how you feel about them since like real women they are capable of both amazing acts of love and selfishness. In fact, this book has had such an impact on women that Ya-Ya Sisterhood clubs have sprung up literally all over the world. If you are looking for a fun, mild-mannered beach read, this is not it. This is a sweeping, epic, very powerful story and if it doesn't stir at least some deep longing and emotion in you, you had better check your pulse to make sure you're still alive.
drruth on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
Engaging, funny novel about four women's friendship and its effects on each other and their children. The voice is delightful, varying from hysterically funny to heartbreaking.
krasiviye.slova on LibraryThing 14 hours ago
The division of this novel into two separate stories for Sidda and Vivi was both artificial and awkward. The parts about Vivi were interesting -- she's a fascinating character. However, I found that I didn't care much at all about Sidda, and I don't feel that Wells managed to creat or sustain any tension with Sidda's storyline. The novel could have been improved by cutting out Sidda as an adult in favor of Vivi, or perhaps by reworking the sections on Sidda. They were a chore to read through.
magst on LibraryThing 5 days ago
This is a book for anyone who is a mother and anyone who is a daughter. It's about insight and perspective, love and forgiveness, and ultimately, about the redemptive (life-giving) nature of the relationships between mother and daughter and women friends. I loved every moment of reading this book. You will too
Gardenerbychoice More than 1 year ago
Wonderful read!!! Ms. Wells knows how to keep the reader's attention. I felt like I was part of the story and that is when I know it will be a good read. I made the mistake of seeing the movie, however. So different than the laugh out loud book. The movie left me in tears. I was crying when the movie was over. The movie was nothing like the book and hit too close to home. Left thinking "I didn't see that coming". But the book was one that I could not put down. Well done Ms. Wells.....well done. Never stop writing!!!! Gardenerbychoice
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
Sidalee Walker is confused. She is about to be married, but is it what she wants? Her mom is not talking to her, but as she reaches out to her, her mother sends her the memory book called THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD. This is the memory book about the close friendship between Sidda's mother and her three life-long friends growing up in Louisiana. In reading the book, Sidda not only learns about her mother's childhood and adolescence, but also about female friendships and about dealing with disappointment and tragedy. This book is both funny and poignant, as Sidda learns about life and love and friendship through learning about her mother's life. The characters are well-defined, realistic, and vividly portrayed, resulting in a joyous story of life and love and loss.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago