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Little Altars Everywhere (Ya Yas #2)

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  22,786 ratings  ·  777 reviews
Little Altars Everywhere is a national best-seller, a companion to Rebecca Wells' celebrated novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Originally published in 1992, Little Altars introduces Sidda, Vivi, the rest of the spirited Walker clan, and the indomitable Ya-Yas.

Told in alternating voices of Vivi and her husband, Big Shep, along with Sidda, her siblings Little She
Paperback, 288 pages
Published February 15th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 1992)
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The Help by Kathryn StockettTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk KiddFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie FlaggGarden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Quirky Southern Fiction
26th out of 593 books — 1,483 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Help by Kathryn StockettThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
Best Southern Literature
99th out of 772 books — 1,856 voters

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Community Reviews

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I almost want to say there is something Proustian about this novel except while I don't fear intellectual eye-rolling over my calling a popular novel written by and about southern women Proustian, I do fear eye-rolling over not quite correct use of the word. What I mean, then, is reading this novel was a gorgeously vivid sensory experience. When the Walker kids went to swim in the pond, I saw and felt and smelled it like I was in that same summertime water. I felt the cool concrete floors of the ...more
Consider this a review of all three of the Ya-ya books because what I have to say about this one can't be said without referencing (without spoilers, of course) the other two.

These books are going to be love/hate for everybody who touches them. So let's get the good out of the way: some people say this series sucks because it's another quirky my-dysfunctional-family series and really, that's misleading. The movie made it into that, sure, but these books are a lot deeper than that. Wells writes
This book leaves a bad taste in my mouth and a hole in my heart.

I have previously read the other two books in the Ya-Ya series, and upon completion I felt Vivi Walker was a damaged woman who sincerely tried to do the best she could with the hand she was dealt. "Ya-Yas in Bloom," in particular, ended with a feeling of redemption for the entire Walker clan. However, after reading "Little Altars Everywhere," I am disgusted beyond belief at this character. The Vivi Walker in this book is a bitter, a
I think one of the reasons I like this book is because it provides a sense of realism compared to the fluff in the YaYa book. For all those women that believe they are only capable of mentally digesting useless chick lit, and they blindly read books by their favorite chick lit authors-I'm sure they hated this book with a passion. Our world is not a Disney cartoon, and there are plenty of people that have addictions, and that consciously emotionally/physically/sexually exploit and abuse others. T ...more
May 01, 2012 Marvin added it
Recommended to Marvin by: Shirley's Book club pick for May.
After 100 pages I had to give up on this. Maybe I have a beef with stories about dysfunctional Southern families. No, that's not true. I love Flannery O'Connor. And anyone who perused my book list knows I do not shy away from the darker aspects of life...or from very dark comedies, which I think this is trying to be. Yet Wells seems to think there is something warm and funny about abuse and molestation. The scatter-shot styling of writing and alternating viewpoints dd not help at all to bring an ...more
Not as good as "Ya-Ya", but yikes! Vivi is a child molester? Yuck!!! I actually couldn't believe reading that chapter - it's as if Rebecca Wells got tired of creating this amazing whirlwind of a character and decided that she had to have a truly evil center. For me, it's like Wells burned down the barn...
Joanne Ishmael
I read this book a few years ago, before reading Ya-Ya's, and just recently got it back from my mom, who was cleaning out her office bookshelves. (That woman has an enviable library!!)
I was shocked when re-reading some things I must have forgotten in my original reading of the book. I don't think I would have moved on to "divine secrets", or have loved the movie so much, had I remembered some of the details. Part of me wonders, why was it included, near the end of the book, with Little Shep, in
I am SO glad I read this after Ya Ya. Ugh, if I had read it beforehand, I may not have read the other book at all.

YaYa was written in a way that made Vivi seem human, but also with a decidedly magical charisma. In Altars she was - well, I dunno. Totally bonkers, I guess I'd say. And this is on TOP of being an alcoholic, which tore my dress a little. I felt like it stole away some of the magic.

By itself it's a humorous, touching, poignant read - but as a companion book to YaYa it's ... I dunno. I
I think a childhood in America in the 1960's is going to have a lot in common whether you grew up in the suburbs of S. Calif like I did, or in a farming family in a small town in Louisiana like the character Siddalee and her siblings. From being called Sara Bernhardt when you pouted and stomped your foot and whined, to watching Roadrunner on TV, to eating Ritz crackers, bologna sandwiches, Fritos, grilled cheese sandwiches, coca-cola, and snickers bars, calling things "even-steven", being told t ...more
Skylar Burris
The blurb I read about this book billed it as a "novel" and said that it was "funny." Well, it's only funny in the sense, as one of the characters says, of "not funny ha-ha, but funny tired. Funny sad." The book is also more like a short story cycle than a novel. Characters and themes weave together throughout the collection, but each chapter is somewhat self-contained and there are large gaps in time. As such, there wasn't a lot of the sustained tension typically present in a novel, and so I wa ...more
Cammie Bishop
This book is worth reading. I like all the child characters and the maid, Willetta. I find it has some interesting metaphors. For example, the characters try to fix their deeply sad and disturbed psyches with obsessive religious rituals and pills and alcohol throughout the story, and then it casually mentions that at the same time they were chasing DDT trucks and covering themselves in this dangerous poison to keep the bugs away. I like that book is written from the point of views of many differ ...more
I don't care if it's fluffy chick lit/"look at my dysfunctional family" memoir trash, I still love these characters.

"You can't go anywhere with Mama without things getting nuts. If it's going along too smooth she will invent something just to stir things up. Sometimes we'll be downtown shopping and everything's going normal, and Mama will put her fingers in her mouth and let out the loudest, most piercing whistle you ever heard in your life. Then everyone gets startled and drops what they're do
After loving every second of DSoftheYYS, I was surprised to find that whole minutes of this novel left me queasy. I don't mind heavy emotional lifting, but this was heavy and twisted. If only I had had some warning that this companion story was of a completely different mood/genre/vein, maybe I could rate it higher. But my nausea won't let me.

I do remember a friend warning me not to read it. She said the book was a downer. But as I said, I enjoy good stories even if they aren't all tra la la (An
Chris Almeida
Had I read this before the Ya-Ya's, I would have hated all of the characters and used both books for target practice. Litte Alters Everywhere exposes the true natures of the Ya-Ya's and makes the reader reconsider what they found so endearing about the Ya-Ya's in the first place.
Oct 18, 2012 April rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Women, people from the South,
Fastest I'v read any book this year! Love, love, love this writer, a cross between Judy Blume and Jodi Picoult. The narrative switches between characters and the plot is built around what each character says and their point of view. For the most part it is told in the present tense, but switches back and forth between the 60s and 90s. The chapters aren't necessarily in chronological order, however, that doesn't diminish the power of the story. This is the introductory book to the famous Divine S ...more
Allison Welker

I started this book knowing that it was the first one in the series of the Ya-Ya's. I had read the Devine Secrets a couple of years ago and wanted to start from the beginning, something I'm doing with all of the series' that I have started somewhere in the middle. I loved the Devine Secrets, more than the movie but still just as good.

This book goes into not just the life of Siddalee Walker but rather the lives of all of the family member, Vivi, Shep, Little Shep, Lulu, and Baylor as well as the
Told by all the different voices of this wonderfully witty, funny and troubled southern clan, this was the pre-quel to the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. It's a book essentally about relationships. If you fell in love with the Ya Yas like I did, you will appreciate getting to know them better in their younger years and gaining an even better understanding of their undying loyalty. If you appreciated Sidda's dry sarcasm as an adult like I did, then you will enjoy all the little things th ...more
A prequel to the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, this novel is a portrait of Siddalee Walker's childhood upbringing in a dysfunctional family. The novel is told from multiple different perspectives, including Sidda, her father, sister, brothers, and hired help. Rebecca Wells is a great story-teller for sure, and it was easy for me to slip into the emotional world of this novel. Having the novel told from different perspectives was also interesting, as it presented the secrets within the ...more
Aug 05, 2011 Connie added it
Easy read. I liked the writing and the fact that the chapters are from various characters' points of view. But why is so much literature and drama centered on people who are really messed up? I mean, we're all messed up in our own special ways, but there's such a lot of real dysfunction in fiction. In this book, the mother, Vivi, is a narcissistic alcoholic who sexually abuses and beats her children. The father, also a heavy drinker, struggles with constant feelings of inadequacy and is absent m ...more
Michelle Vaughn
I am never a fan of first-person narrative. Can't say I really liked this, though I did enjoy Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. This lacked the joy of Divine Secrets—joy and hilarity interspersed with melodrama and heartbreak. Little Altars, in comparison, was dreary. Had I not first read about these characters--Vivi, the Ya-Yas, Sidda--in Divine Secrets, I would have absolutely abhored them here, or at the very least I wouldn't have had much patience with them. The only exception is the n ...more
Please, I am begging you, skip the YaYas and go straight to this book. This is the money. This is the one you need to read. These are the characters before they became insufferable. These are the characters before the author envisioned them being played in a movie. That's all I can figure since the writing just went off the rails when she got to the YaYas and Siddalee became a dramaturge or something or other and they ended up jumping up and down on the porch trying to catch their tears in jars. ...more
I had read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood a few years ago, and just recently found this book at a local library sale. It was written BEFORE the aforementioned title, so the characters were familiar to me. The first few chapters were pretty clunky and off, but once the author warmed up, the book began to flow, culminating in some incredibly emotional, endearing final chapters. It reads almost like a collection of short stories about the characters who are all inter-connected, with differe ...more
Southern women writers always capture my interest. I have taken several college courses dealing with Southern authors, but only one dealing with Southern women writers. I wish I would have been able to have taken more but I never was at a university that offered more. Carson McCullers, Eudora Welty, Harper Lee (yeah, I know she only wrote To Kill A Mockingbird, but what a book!!); one Southern woman writer that never came up when I was taking the class was Rebecca Wells. It is because she is too ...more
Barksdale Penick
This collection of related vignettes tells the story of a family in rural Lousiana. It starts in a humorous tone, with tales of the mother and friends (the Ya Yas), but turns serious, perhaps a little too abruptly. It has one of the best stories I have ever read--the chapater about Looking for Mules, which mixes strands of aging, poinancy, and lost opportunities. Really wonderful. I strongly recommend this book.
This book of vignettes describes events in the lives of family members across the generations. Unlike other writers who have attempted the genre, Rebecca Wells does this correctly. Her narratives are rich in description involving all five senses, another technique which few authors are able to pull off successfully. That's where the positive things about this novel end.

All of the characters are human but none of them are likable. One is hard pressed to find a single character with which to empat
Nov 01, 2014 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I really enjoyed the way the story was told and the very different characters of the children. Even before it was clear what was going on, I found Part One a little odd, like there was a missing part. The parents seemed so childish and irresponsible regarding their children. The missing link became clear in Part Two. Reading in dialogue took some getting used to, particularly the chapters from Willetta and Chaney.

I really liked the quote toward the end:
"I will love you, little baby, I will do my
I should say: I read Divine Secrets first. That book is one of my top 5 books of all time and helped me through my PPD after my second baby, so I eagerly dove into this prequel. I read it until the Very Bad Thing happened, and then I slammed the book shut and pretended it never happened.
Jennifer Bloom
This book was much more fucked up than I thought it would be. Two stars may not be enough but after pounding through it all night I can't decide if I want to kill the author or myself. I am almost afraid to read the other two books. But, I shall soldier on!
Katelyn fulkerson
I'm getting angry reading some of these reviews. People are saying the author got tired of writing Vivi a certain way or wanted to take it up a notch from the other books.. She wrote this one first people!!!! Saying you wouldn't read the others if you'd read this first is like only hearing half the truth. It's the same people. And people are saying she made Vivi super crazy- she was an alcoholic who was taking pills and whipping her children til they bled and scarred! She was already a twisted p ...more
Alessandra Santamaria
I have not read the "Yaya sisterhood" yet, so i didnt really know what to expect from this book.
i though it was a really entertaining story, funny, but raw, cruel and realistic at the same time.
I really felt like it was different characters telling the story, and i liked that you could really get an idea of how things were back then
still, i feel like every novel needs something, a moment, event, cliffhanger that sucks you in the story, because you are so interested in knowing what is going to h
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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
More about Rebecca Wells...
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Ya Yas in Bloom The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder Little Altars Everywhere & Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Best of LSU Fiction

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“Sidda can't help herself. She just loves books. Loves the way they feel, the way they smell, loves the black letters marching across the white pages...” 68 likes
“See, she goes places when she reads. I know all about that. When I'm reading, wherever I am, I'm always somewhere else.” 65 likes
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