Dixie Diamond's Reviews > Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
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's review
Dec 29, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: louisiana, fiction, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s
Recommended for: emphatically, NOBODY.
Read in December, 2008

** spoiler alert ** To borrow an expression from the book, this sucker is "Trés ya-ya-no." How can a writer so obsessed with small town aristocracy manage to slip in so many references to peeing in one's pants?

I never manage to abandon books once I've started them, even when they're utter and total tripe. Thank goodness this reads fast so I didn't waste any more of my life on it!

I seem to be missing the Chick Lit Gene. I just flat-out do not understand, or identify with, this kind of writing. I'm not like this. My friends aren't like this. My mother, thank Heaven, is not like this. Our lovely Louisiana friends are not like this. I don't know anyone who is like this. I'm beginning to suspect that nobody is like this, except in pulpy pseudo-literature written by women with juvenile Scarlett O'Hara fantasies. I would be ashamed to be this kind of "feminine."

This is the story of Sidda, a dull, spineless, immature, 40-year-old with no identity of her own, and her malicious, self-absorbed, alcoholic, racist, mother, Vivi, who appears to be taking out on everyone around her the frustrations of a lifetime of being a legend only in her own mind. One gets the impression that Vivi needed the Ya-Yas so she could be notorious somewhere, since she doesn't have the class or discipline to accomplish anything of genuine value.

It's badly written, the dialogue is clumsy, and I think it must hold some kind of world record for wallowing in self-pity. Wells is also an unbearable "reference-dropper" ( River Road Recipes , interspersed bayou French, Cajun fiddle, Community Coffee, etc.). Apparently the "divine secret" is that this bunch of self-centered superannuated teenagers chose to flash-freeze their high-school lives (and mentalities) at the expense of emotional adulthood, their marriages, and their children. Yeah, there's going to be drama and hardship in your life if you react to every little thing as if it's a catastrophe and use it as an excuse to drink and dope yourself into a stupor. "Complex" needs to stop being a literary euphemism for "manipulative, self-serving, toxic, and narcissistic." Ironically, Vivi is the least likable and least interesting of the four Ya-Yas, though she's supposed to be the luminary.

I guess it says something that Ms. Wells has lived in Washington state for the past 25+ years: If she loved Louisiana so much, why did she leave and then write boring, mindless, novels about it?
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Reading Progress

12/30/2008 page 30
8.15% "Oh, my God--what a crap book!"
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Ani (new)

Ani Bless you.

message 2: by Max (new) - rated it 4 stars

Max My guess is you never had a mother from south Louisiana. If you had, then you would understand this book a lot better. The name-dropping references is because that's what living in south/central (there is no Thornton, Louisiana) is all about. River Road Recipes is out of Baton Rouge, all of our parents drink Community Coffee, etc. A lot of our mothers went through the same sort of life that Viviv endured and ended up with distant fathers such as Shep. She writes what she knows about. It's okay if you didn't like it; it's okay to not like it.

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