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The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,777 Ratings  ·  1,272 Reviews
Known for her beloved Ya-Ya books (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Little Altars Everywhere, and Ya-Yas in Bloom), Rebecca Wells has helped women name, claim, and celebrate their shared sisterhood for over a decade. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood held the top of the New York Times bestseller list for sixty-eight weeks, became a knockout feature film, sold m ...more
Hardcover, 395 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Harper (first published January 1st 2009)
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Apr 14, 2011 Cyndi rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 04, 2009 Babs rated it did not like it
What a disappointment!!! I truly wanted to like this book... I read The Ya Ya Sisterhood and Little Altars Everywhere a few years back, and I remember loving them, so when I saw the author's newest book at the library, I grabbed it. As I read the first few chapters, I thought the book moved pretty slowly and was kind of schmaltzy. As I got farther along, I just found that the characters were cliche, and in my mind, many of Calla Lily's and her friends' quotes seemed very "Peggy Hill". It also se ...more
Jun 22, 2010 Toni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fans of Wells'tales of the "ya-ya sisterhood " will like this book. If it had been written by a new come-out author ,it would have been sent back to editing. In parts the writing is lyrical and in others just hurried and choppy. The story which can be moving in sections can become just downright preach-y in others. It seems that the author had a beginning point and an end point and was going to get to it in the pre-subscibed number of pages without regard to flow and therefore you never just fal ...more
Jessica Larson-Wang
Sep 28, 2009 Jessica Larson-Wang rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 29, 2010 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: beach-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2009 Nicole rated it did not like it
I tried to like this book, but it was just so boring. The characters were one-dimensional southern stereotypes. For example, everyone in the small town of La Luna, LA simply adored the main character, Cala Lily Ponder, and when her mother, M'Dear, died, the whole town rallied to raise Cala Lily. M'dear, a hairdresser, had healed people while doing their hair and was known to dance at odd times and places. This, paired with her worship of the Moon Lady (they live in La Luna, get it?), and her spo ...more
May 29, 2009 Ab rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh-why-not
Sappy, schmultzy, overly sentimental . . . just a few words to describe this novel. It's what I think of when people want a "beach read", or something akin to "chick lit". That being said, I did, in fact, read the whole thing. There was something in the descriptions of the setting, the development of at least the main character, that kept me interested. Wells' descriptions of this small, thoughtful riverside town of La Luna, Louisiana, actually made me interested in going to the south and seeing ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Irene rated it really liked it
Say what you will about schmaltz but I think Wells is a good storyteller. I don't expect her to produce haute literature. I don't expect her books to address the great problems of the age...I just want a good story and I got one.

I admit, being the jaded character I am, if a piece of writing can make me tear up, I'll give it a thumbs up. It may be a cheap shot on Wells' part to zero in on a woman's emotions, but hey, she's a woman too.

What's wrong with a good old-fashioned love tale, anyway? We d
Feb 11, 2016 Reese rated it liked it
If you loved Rebecca Wells's Little Altars Everywhere and/or Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and you intend to read The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, expect an inferior work, inferior even to her Ya-Yas in Bloom. Yes, descriptive prose in The Crowning Glory put tastes in my mouth, smells in my nose, images in my eyes. But most of the dialogue reminded me of conversations in soap operas. And the foreshadowing devices seemed like billboards displaying what's ahead. Yet I kept reading ...more
Jaclyn Day
Sep 07, 2011 Jaclyn Day rated it liked it
I love Rebecca Wells’ writing. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is one of a few books that I can read over and over again and still enjoy. Having never lived in Louisiana, I don’t know how accurate her depictions of the area are…but nevertheless, I was sucked in from the first page. I had high expectations for The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder having enjoyed Wells’ other books, and happily, there were traces of Wells throughout it.

But, unfortunately, I have to echo what some othe
Anderson's Bookshops
Jul 09, 2009 Anderson's Bookshops rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kathleens-shelf
Kathleen said: "Rebecca Wells is back and better than ever with The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder! Fans of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood be forewarned - I think that I may actually like Calla Lily more than the Ya'Ya's. I was charmed by page 2, in tears by page 6 and totally committed to Calla, La Luna and M'Dear by page 11.

Calla and her two brothers grow up in a loving family in the tiny hamlet of La Luna, LA. But the love and protection her family and friends provide as she grows up isn't enoug
Jul 21, 2009 Sheri rated it it was amazing
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder was a heart warming memorable story. It is told through Calla Lily's eyes, from childhood on to adulthood. Family love, friendship and death all brought together in an unforgetable journey through one woman's life. Excellent read.
Nov 12, 2009 Jessica rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2009
This book reminded me of a bad made-for-TV movie. Or maybe an episode of Full House, where every time there is a problem, it manages to be resolved by the end of the episode with some cheesy apology and admission of wrong-doing with violins playing in the background.

Part 1 was actually somewhat endearing and heart-breaking. A story of a simple life growing up in Louisiana with great friends, a first love, and a loving, caring family torn apart by the death of her mother followed shortly by a bro
Apr 27, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
From My Blog...

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells is a beautiful tale of love and its many forms. The novel, narrated by Calla Lily Ponder, begins in La Luna, Louisiana and the reader learns about various adventures and life-changing events that transpire through Calla Lily's childhood and adolescence. After high school she moves to New Orleans and another chapter of her life begins. Calla Lily takes the reader through over two decades of her life, during the most profound
Aug 12, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Calla Lily Ponder who grew up in the small town of La Luna nestled along the Mississippi River in Louisiana. We meet her family and friends, but most importantly her mother, whom she calls M' Dear. Call Lily has a wonderful loving relationship with her mom. They are best friends as well as mother and daughter. Everything Calla Lila is and grows up to become, is due to her mother and their special relationship. It is because of M'Dear that Calla Lily chooses to become a beaut ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Lorihudeck rated it liked it
Let me start by saying that this is the first book by Rebecca Wells that I have read. She writes beautiful, lyrical prose that meanders along like the river that is central to this tale.

When I first started this novel, I noted that it was beautifully written by slow moving. As I spent more time getting to know calla Lily Ponder, I realized that her journey moved in bits and spurts, at times meandering and other times rushing forward much like rivers do.

I loved the narratives from La Luna or the
Jul 08, 2009 Kathleen rated it it was amazing
Rebecca Wells is back and better than ever with The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder! Fans of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood be forewarned - I think that I may actually like Calla Lily more than the Ya'Ya's. I was charmed by page 2, in tears by page 6 and totally committed to Calla, La Luna and M'Dear by page 11.

Calla and her two brothers grow up in a loving family in the tiny hamlet of La Luna, LA. But the love and protection her family and friends provide as she grows up isn't enough to protect her f
May 16, 2011 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a book! The novel follows the story of Calla Lilly Ponder as she grows up in small-town Louisiana and then moves to New Orleans to learn her mother's trade, becoming a beautician. Like her mother, Calla has the gift of being a healer. What really stood out for me throughout the book was this theme of healing. There's a lot of heartache here (read it when you want a good cry! oh, man...), but there's also just so much love. I don't think I've ever read anything that captures the healing ...more
Jul 21, 2009 Leslie rated it it was ok
Meh. Very disappointed in this one. I read "Little Altars Everywhere" and "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" years and years ago, but I remember absolutely loving them. "Ya-Yas in Bloom" was mediocre at best, but I held out hope for this one, thinking since Calla Lily was a fresh character the book might be of the quality of Wells' first two novels. Sadly, it wasn't. Wells tried to touch on deep/important themes, but it all came out as fluff. I didn't dislike the main character/narrato ...more
Jul 12, 2009 Amy rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to this book and am a little disappointed. Oh, it was a nice enough story, nice easy summer read, and a good four hankie cry but it is not the same caliber as the earlier works of Rebecca Wells. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder had some great potential…wondering why the editor didn’t hold off until the book was a little finer tuned. Some wonderful ideas, female friendship, love in many forms, hometown sense of place, and faith in a higher power are all here un ...more
Sep 29, 2010 Melissa rated it it was ok
What in the world happen here Rebecca? Seriously? I've waited a year and a half to read this book? I don't understand. The three YaYa books were magical. I couldn't put them down. I was so excited to find this one at the library that i snatched it up. Was i ever disappointed. I could barely finish the thing. There were no magic. No feelings of warmth. Nothing to make me care for Calla Lilly of anyone in this book. In fact it makes me wonder if Rebecca lost her edge here. I was so emotionally att ...more
Jul 09, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it
This book could have been titled The Flowering of a Southern Belle. Calla Lily Ponder narrates her history by gathering the sprigs of her life in rural Louisiana from age eight in 1961 until she reaps a nearly improbable ending as a 31-year-old in 1984. Within her two-decade bouquet of budding and blooming into full womanhood, Calla endures parental attachment and loss, adolescent attraction and loss, and marital bliss and loss. But not to worry, no one can nip this flower in the bud.

The Moon La
Apr 15, 2010 Leah rated it it was amazing
When I started reading this book I was a little leery when the first chapter came from the perspective of the moon. I really didn't want to read something "weird." However, once the story got going, I got drawn in pretty quickly. I loved that the book was told from the main character, Calla Lily's, perspective. I loved all the emotions that the book brought out in me, and found myself crying in a couple places.

There was a lot of talk about the "Moon Lady" which I thought was strange and probably
Thomas Holbrook
Jun 04, 2013 Thomas Holbrook rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I have the privilege of reading and doing it quite a lot of it. When a book can move me to spasms of fear (falling into a river were snakes are seen makes me want my Momma), cry with laughter, shake with outrage, all within the space of a few pages, I know that I am reading something exceptional. Rebecca Wells takes the first 28 years of a fictional young lady and causes the reader to live with her in the heat and humidity of Louisiana, through the pain of growing up and rejoicing in every minu ...more
Jun 24, 2010 Catherine rated it liked it
If I could give this 3.5 stars, I would. I admit it, I LOVED "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" (the book, not the movie), so I was excited to read another novel by Rebecca Wells. I figured it would be much the same as "Divine", and I was right, which was perfect for me. There are two things that really struck me about this book:

#1: A big chunk of the plot centers around offshore drilling in Louisiana, which I thought was weird given the current crisis in the Gulf. Note this book was writt
Dec 06, 2009 Diane rated it it was amazing
Quoting the first paragraph from 'The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder':

"I know the moon and the moon knows me. I am the moon and the moon is me. I am life itself. I am not who they think I am, that old white man with the long white hair whose judging eyes try to force fear into their very pores. I am the moon mother, and I hold my children on my lap, night and day, in the heat and in the shade. When they wake and when they sleep, I whisper to them: Don't be afraid, don't be afraid. The ones
Bree Brown
Jun 13, 2010 Bree Brown rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2009 Cheri rated it liked it
For the most part, I agree with Cyndi Michener's review, although the Moon Lady "stuff" didn't bother me. Perhaps because I know a few people whose beliefs are very similar, so it wasn't a stretch for me. For the most part, I found "Crowning Glory of Calla Lily" to be entertaining, but disappointing. Especially in comparison to "Ya-Ya Sisterhood." It didn't have me reflecting on my childhood, it didn't have me laughing out loud or thinking of my dear friends. I did think alot places in New Orlea ...more
Oct 27, 2009 Joy rated it it was ok
I bought this book because of the Good Reads interview with Rebecca Wells. While I was continually repulsed by Wells’ saccharine attempt at portraying the nostalgic environ that only the Deep South can afford, I also found myself inexplicably incapable of putting the book down. The book begins in the late 50’s, I think (maybe the early 60’s), and it was almost as if Wells was trying to mimic a mainstream author of that time period. Her descriptions were so overly romanticized that even the scene ...more
May 05, 2015 Bethany rated it really liked it
This was a lovely book that moved along at the pace of the protagonists year and experience. I thought it light and ( I want to say basic but I'll go with innocent ) and clever. It's a book that felt a bit like a big ol tree, sometimes without any movement at all and sometimes huge billowy gusts that lift up your hair.. All the while a comfort that it's there.
I loved the hairdressing references too and the echo of chatty gossip as it would be told across a shampoo basin.
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Rebecca Wells was born and raised in Alexandria, Louisiana. “I grew up,” she says, “in the fertile world of story-telling, filled with flamboyance, flirting, futility, and fear.” Surrounded by Louisiana raconteurs, a large extended family, and Our Lady of Prompt Succor’s Parish, Rebecca’s imagination was stimulated at every turn. Early on, she fell in love with thinking up and acting in plays for ...more
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“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time.” 44 likes
“Sadness can find you anywhere, anytime, so you better have fun when you can.” 33 likes
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