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Divine Secrets of the YA-YA Sisterhood Intl (Ya Yas #1)

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  405,746 ratings  ·  3,365 reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review

A powerfully literate yet thoroughly engaging and accessible novel, this story of a close-knit society of southern women has become a modern cult classic bolstered by author Rebecca Wells's abiltity to transcend standard-issue chick lit with bold and unique characters and a tale that digs deeply into the complex bonds of family.

The entangled st

Paperback, 368 pages
Published August 28th 2000 by HarperTorch (first published May 2nd 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rebecca Wells can think up a few succulent stories, but her writing is absolute fast-food. It left me depressed to think that women are encouraged to read so-called "chick lit" on the basis that they only need a few sentimental tales about love, friendship, and/or family to satisfy them, no matter how infantile the writing style or half-baked the arguments. Of COURSE the story had to end with a big white wedding! That signifies catharsis in every woman's life, right?

By the end of the book, I wa
Apr 11, 2008 Traci rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: imperfect mothers and daughters
Recommended to Traci by: almost everyone
When I was pregnant with my oldest child, a girl, I had a dream. In my dream, I was in the hospital, postpartum, holding not the one child I knew that I had been pregnant with . . . but two children. Both girls. One of my baby girls was quiet, observant, peaceful. She had big, open eyes that reflected her big, open heart. The other child was physically larger than the other baby and it's complete opposite. Ugly, angry, needy. I sat there holding both babies in their swaddling clothes while the o ...more
Debbie Petersen
Jul 13, 2008 Debbie Petersen rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who do not read books but would like to think they read one
Shelves: absolute-drek
I think Vivi WAS a tap-dancing child abuser. Any discussion of this fact ends at the "being whipped with the belt" scene. Vivi had no right to be enraged when this fact comes to light--she should have been embarrassed, yes. Her daughter arguably should not have revealed this dirty laundry but should have worked it through with her mother privately.

According to this book, a scrapbook of silly adventures with Vivi's zany friends makes that behavior forgivable...not an apology or explanation from V
Apr 20, 2012 Eva rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks Steel Magnolias is the best movie EVER
I am so tired of this sort of storyline. A group of Southern women who form a timeless bond of woman-ness and Southern-ness and triumph in the face of all hardship because they are delicate as blossoms yet strong and fierce.
That said, when entering a genre so well-covered and sticky sweet, one must do something to make one's work stand out. I believe Rebecca Wells does an above-average job at this, and her book was a fun and easy read. It was hardly ground-breaking, nor did I find it moving, an
I'm having a hard time deciding if I liked this book or not. On the surface, not so much. About 30 pages in, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it through, or if I was going to go insane if I saw the word "Ya-Ya" one more time.

There were some things that I liked about it. Friendship that endures, closer than blood. Knowing there's always someone there in your corner, and they've been there your whole life. Daughters learning that Mom had a life before she became a Mother, and has a separate id
When the whole Ya-Ya craze was going on, my book club decided we'd better read it to see what all the fuss was about. In the end, we had to take a vote ("ya-ya" if you liked it; "no-no" if you didn't). I fell into the "no-no" group.
I found it disturbing that hordes of women were flocking to this book that is really about completely dysfunctional families and marriages and a really unhealthy attachment to friends from the past. It made me wonder what's going on with women that this kind of co-de
Brandy (aka Marsden)
My mother and her Ya-Ya’s were called the sisters of Beta Sigma Phi sorority in Charleston S.C. I grew up on the marshes watching them swing dance, shuck oysters and throwing what always seemed like a never ending festival that celebrated life.

They did community work and supported the local theatre, but mostly they just had a good time. I grew up in the whirlwind of color and laughter that now seems only like a distant dream. Momma passed 18 years ago and I don’t think I will ever be the same.
Dixie Diamond
Dec 31, 2008 Dixie Diamond rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: emphatically, NOBODY.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seriously not my cup of tea. Cutsey language, sentimentality run amok, and a deep sense of nostalgia for times that, well, I couldn't possibly feel nostalgic for. I'm not sure how an abusive mother is supposed to be funny or colorful, nor how transferring your disfunction onto you children is to be held up like a badge of honor. Maybe I needed to have crazy parents to understand it.
Oh I loved this book! I had a very complicated relationship with my mother and though a cliche, I could well relate to that aspect of the book! I also love the movie, but I love the book more! (I read it just before the movie came out). I've also battled severe depression and this book (and movie) is near to my heart. Overall, the details, descriptions & relationships are just amazing! Ms. Wells has Lyme disease and has had a horrible past few years, and when I joined the message boards on h ...more
Jan 09, 2009 marissa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: daughters who are angerballs when it comes to ther oppressive, wonderful mothers
Much of this book I found really aggravating -- the unthinking privilege of the Ya-Yas, their total narcissism, the constant and tedious drama -- and yet I found myself looking forward to my lunch breaks so I could read it. Despite the foreignness of the situations and location, the class and race, there was still enough of my mother and me in Vivi and Siddalee Walker to make the book resonate with me. In the end, that's what I enjoyed (not quite the right word -- you know what I mean, though) m ...more
I always find myself attracted to novels that weave through generations, digging up colorful stories of the characters' pasts - allowing the reader to see them at different stages, thus making their present stage more understandable. Thus, when Divine Secrets took this route, I found it to be an engaging novel, leaving me almost breathless in some scenes, opening up tear ducts in others. The lives of Vivi and the YaYas takes shape immediately - luring us in, keeping us close as we move from page ...more
Jun 14, 2008 Embee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women who cherish their longtime relationships with best girlfriends.
Grab a girlfriend, drink mint juleps and toast to sisterhood! This book shares all the details of the close relationships girlfriends share.
This book speaks so true to core of what I feel. That core is - being who you REALLY authentically are - and having people in your life who know truly know you. Vivi Walker is a part of me, I think I have a bit of her in me and I identified with her character more than ever. WAnting to be a star, something special and bigger than the small town she grew up in. Always feeling like NO ONE understood her. Life circumstances hit and she remains in that same small town with a group of female friends ...more
self-pitying, self-destructive characters.
Nov 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like Lifetime movies.
Shelves: 2002, chicklit, fiction
I felt like this was a better story than Little Alters Everywhere - but really it was just a Part 1 and a part 2. I had a hard time with the abuse and alcoholism - just like I did in the first book. I think if I hadn't watched the movie first I would never have commited to reading these two books - since they seem to be scrunched together for the movie.

I have no desire to read any further in this series. The writing was good and the characters believable - but I felt like it was just depressing
Divine Secrets is spectacular! Definitely pass on my reccommendation! Also, guys, I think you ESPECIALLY need to read this book if you're at all confused about women. It will give you a spectacular insight. Modern classic. Highly reccommended. Also, if you get the opportunity, watch the film. Its incredibly different from the book, but that's how these things go. Still a spectacular movie.
Wow, this book got some harsh reviews! I will agree that the whole southern friendship pact was over the top, but I think that Wells was trying to present a rare friendship and an outlandish character in Viviane. These girls grew up without air conditioning and television; they needed some pretty big distractions just to cope with the heat and the boredom!

My mother in law grew up in Georgia, and remembers some pretty crazy characters from her youth and some wild stories in her own family. Having
This book may be entertaining for someone who likes gossip so much, because here you can get to know all the juicy events that happened in the youth and life of four women who were best friends and thought they were absolutely amazing and called themselves the Ya-Yas.

So, this story starts when a Petite Ya-Ya, that's how the Ya-Yas called their daughters, (not so petite anymore) let escape in an interview with the New York Times that her mother, the awesome Vivi, used to hit her. Vivi becomes so
Capitoli 1-4

Sono appena appena agli inizi, solo circa 40 pagine lette, ma ho incominciato a inquadrare ambienti e personaggi.
La personalità di Vivi è sicuramente molto molto forte e predominante sulla figlia (devo riconoscere che sembra quasi il mio caso... ma chi non cerca l'approvazione di chi ama?), mentre Sidda, quarantenne in carriera, brava nel suo lavoro, si trova un pochino in difficoltà nei rapporti interpersonali. Bè, il suo scontro con la madre non è proprio tutto farina del suo sacco
I would give this book a PG-13 rating for language and a couple crude scenes- which were mild, but suggestive.

The entire book discuss' in detail the importance of few key character relationships. Getting to the MAIN relationship, in my opionion, and setting up the climax of the book is what took a while. About half way through it really hit home and I felt deeply connected to the story(s), and the characters. Eventhough, I was raised in a very different way, I felt that I could empathize and re
I wasn't sure how welcome I was going to feel in this book. A lot of sisterhood-mother/daughter books end up keeping me at a distance, seeming to need (or at least making me feel) a denigration of men in order to present the wonder of what is being presented. This book didn't make me feel that way though, the female characters reveled in their marvel without needing to put down anyone to make that work. Not all of the men are good, and all are imperfect-but just as the female characters are, but ...more
Jane Stewart
Not as entertaining as I hoped.

It’s a good motivator for women having friendships with women. Four women have a life-long friendship starting before high school. They drank a lot and did ornery things. The most unsettling thing for me was when they went swimming in the town’s water supply tank - that tub high up above houses that provides drinking water.

I’m not complaining, but slightly odd were all the naked scenes. The Ya-Yas take a bath together, swim. A naked mother beats her naked kids. A f
The Dicine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Written by Rebecca Wells, tells the story of a mother and daughter, the mother belonging to a sisterhood, or secret society of women. Theese women did daring things and were all from the south. The daughter doesn't understand the bond theese women share and struggles getting along with her alcholic mother. The author uses direct dialogue and letters written by the charectors to tell the story. This book in my opinion, reveals the hidden relationship be ...more
The only thing better than reading about dysfunctional, alcohlic, crazy families is reading about dysfunctional, alcoholic, crazy Catholic families. Who are Southern.
Every now and then I'll sit down and reread the chapter where Vivi and her friends (fourteen at the time) travel to Atlanta by themselves for the premiere of Gone With the Wind and Vivi ends up throwing a plate at her cousin when he insults one of the maids.
Then there's the time the girls enter a Shirley Temple lookalike contest
This book had beautiful and emotional passages. The devotion of the ladies in this story is inspiring and the way the author conveys all of the characters feelings is powerful. Very specific and not on-the-nose. The characters and the locations are all well developed. This is definitely a good book club book (and I'm sure since it has been around for a while has already gone through many of them.) The story having such devoted characters makes it a book you want to share with devoted friends.
Some of the mother-daughter stuff here was intense. The impact of the mother's mental illness, you could see how it reverberated throughout the daughter's history and mental landscape. There is a lot of joy in this book, but it probably became a hit because the writing was fairly poignant too. My favorite scene from the book is the lesson her mother teaches when the daughter realizes "too late" that she really does want to fly, and how she can make things possible if she really wants to. =)
I found this book pretty weird. The child abuse was so lightly dealt with -- and it's still abuse if it only happens once. Physical abuse, even on just one occasion, sticks in your mind. Especially when you're a child and you haven't had that many experiences yet. It's not something to be just... dismissed and so easily forgiven.

That kind of distracted me from the supposedly awesome stuff about this novel.

Also, such melodrama. Cut it out, guys.

Maybe its because I'm catholic. Maybe its because I had a violent parent growing up. Maybe its because my family is peppered with endearing and frightening alcoholics, but something in me really connected with this little book.

Its by no means perfect, but it does speak to the topic of what's right and/or wrong when raising a child.

For me I was much more interested in Vivi's story, rather than Sidda's. The Vivi sections felt more alive for me, Jack's death, and her abandonment in violent catholic
This the story of Vivi and her 3 best friends, the Ya_Ya's as they call themselves, growing up in Louisiana as children in the 1930's through their adulthoods and into old age in 1993. Much of the story is written from the point of view of Siddalee, Vivi's oldest daughter. A scrapbook, letters and the Ya-Ya's themselves provide the stories of Vivi growing up. Siddalee and her mother have had a serious falling out in 1993 when a Times reporter quotes Siddalee, who is a playwright, as saying her m ...more
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Did anyone else come to this because of THE TIPPING POINT? 4 116 Nov 19, 2012 06:56PM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Ya Yas (4 books)
  • Little Altars Everywhere & Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Little Altars Everywhere
  • Ya Yas in Bloom
Little Altars Everywhere 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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“It’s life. You don’t figure it out. You just climb up on the beast and ride.” 185 likes
“I try to believe," she said, "that God doesn't give you more than one little piece of the story at once. You know, the story of your life. Otherwise your heart would crack wider than you could handle. He only cracks it enough so you can still walk, like someone wearing a cast. But you've still got a crack running up your side, big enough for a sapling to grow out of. Only no one sees it. Nobody sees it. Everybody thinks you're one whole piece, and so they treat you maybe not so gentle as they could see that crack.” 122 likes
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