The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder. Rebecca Wells
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The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder. Rebecca Wells

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  6,681 ratings  ·  1,184 reviews
Calla Lily Ponder lives in La Luna, a small town in Louisiana named after the sparkling river from which Calla draws her strength time and time again. A series of tragic events leads Calla to search for a fresh start in a beauty school in New Orleans, the wild and colourful city that allows Calla to flourish into adulthood.
Paperback, 395 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by Harper Torch (first published January 1st 2009)
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Cyndi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Babs
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
Toni
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
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Emily
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Nicole
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
Ab
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
Irene
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...more
Jaclyn Day
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...more
Anderson's Bookshops
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...more
Sheri
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.
Jennifer
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...more
Jennifer
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
Lorihudeck
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...more
Kathleen
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...more
Tiffany
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
Leslie
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
Amy
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
Jessica
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...more
Melissa
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
Tim
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...more
Leah
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...more
Thomas Holbrook
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
Catherine
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...more
Diane
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...more
Bree Brown
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Cheri
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
Joy
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
Mark
What a delightful read! Calla Lily Ponder is one sure-fire pistol of a gal! The characters were deliciously three dimensional people that you just know you would love to sit down with and let the conversation take you where it will. It was a bit predictable in spots, but the story was just so good, that it didn't seem to matter. The reader actually was glad for the absence of "twists". Calla Lily grew up in a small town in central Louisiana, moves to the Big Easy to train as a beautician and the...more
Liz
I was a little disappointed with this book. I've read two of the three YaYa books, and loved them to pieces. There was something missing in Crowning Glory that was very present in the YaYa series. This work was a bit too romanticized. The characters fit too perfectly into there designated slots of humankind. I didn't fall in love with them as I did with the YaYa crew... they just weren't as tangible. Some parts of the story I felt were rushed, and others overly descriptive. Somewhere in the midd...more
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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 Little Altars Everywhere Ya Yas in Bloom Little Altars Everywhere & Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Best of LSU Fiction

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“Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time.” 38 likes
“Sadness can find you anywhere, anytime, so you better have fun when you can.” 31 likes
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