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Little Altars Everywhere

(Ya Yas #2)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  27,779 ratings  ·  977 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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Maureen LIttle Altars is her first book. I'm rereading both of them now; I read them in 1998 when they first came out, but wanted to reread them now that I'm…moreLIttle Altars is her first book. I'm rereading both of them now; I read them in 1998 when they first came out, but wanted to reread them now that I'm a mom. I think I like LIttle Altars better, but the first time around I liked Divine Secrets better. There is a lot of overlapping scenes in both books (sometimes from different characters' perspectives) and there is one thing that the mom does in Little Altars that is pretty terrible that is NOT mentioned at all in the Divine Secrets and that is the most confusing part to me.
I don't think it matters what order you read them in. (less)

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3.56  · 
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 ·  27,779 ratings  ·  977 reviews

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Jun 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Debbie Zapata
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dar
Another book I bought on my recent trip, this time from the library sale shelves. I had never read the author's other book, and I had never seen the movie made from it, but somehow this book intrigued me when I saw it.

Little Altars Everywhere was the author's first book. Originally published in 1992, this edition came out in 1996, after her Divine Secrets. So this technically is not #2 as GR lists it. And I don't think it should be called a prequel, either, since those usually seem to be writte
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: southern
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...
Apr 21, 2012 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
Jul 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
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
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
Jul 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: no-judgements
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
Nov 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: touching, chick-lit
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
Jennifer Bloom
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
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!
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: louisiana
Southern gothic for the rural set - I feel like I stepped back in time to a childhood I never had but totally could have. All 4 doorways perfectly balanced too!
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
Cammie Bishop
Jul 02, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book back in the early 90’s when it was first published and totally loved it. I decided to read (listen to) it again and see if it was as good as I remembered. It was!

I’m irritated by reviewers who call this a book a sequel to Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It’s not! This was the original book. Divine Secrets is the sequel. Many of these same readers don’t seem to like the heaviness of Little Altars Everywhere. I agree that this book deals with some dark themes, but I find L
Jess the Audiobookworm
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Loads better than the movie (which I love).
Incredible narrator!
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: just-fiction
I picked up this book due to the fame of the Ya-Ya's, and it sounded promising with claims for multiple viewpoints telling the story, a Southern mentality and culture, and humor.

It didn't take long to start disliking it, which surprised me.

This wasn't due to the author's skill- this was due to the terrible characters in the Walker family.

There is an alcoholic father who is abusive, a similarly addicted mother who is selfish like it's going out of style and is cruel to her children, and several c
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one gives a closer look at Sidda & Vivi's nuclear family, and I loved it just as much as "Divine Secrets". Reading this book in public always turned heads, because I'd crack up laughing, or gasp angrily, or burst out in tears, or do all three.
Skylar Burris
Feb 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
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
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it

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
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 05, 2011 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
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Camille McCarthy
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really like Rebecca Wells' writing. It is funny but also very deep, and even when she writes in dialogue it still flows very nicely. It was rougher to read than "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and made me question why the children still talk to the mother at all. "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" is also a lot more cohesive but for a first novel, this was pretty good.
This book gives a lot more background to the Walker family. It's so scary to see how much the parents would dr
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014, series
This book is terrible. While it is interesting to see more of the lives of the characters of Divine Secrets this book just jumps around and doesn't have the main storyline to hold the various stories together, or make us care about what we are reading.

(view spoiler)
Barksdale Penick
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
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500 Great Books B...: Little Altars Everywhere - Rebecca Wells 1 8 Jul 15, 2014 02:59PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Ya Yas (3 books)
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Ya Yas in Bloom
“See, she goes places when she reads. I know all about that. When I'm reading, wherever I am, I'm always somewhere else.” 74 likes
“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...” 74 likes
More quotes…