E's Reviews > Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
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Oct 05, 2007

did not like it
bookshelves: novels

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.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 1, 2006 – Finished Reading
October 5, 2007 – Shelved
March 15, 2008 – Shelved as: novels

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Ami (new) - rated it 1 star

Ami I shared the same sentiments as you while reading the book (and I found it to be an utter waste of time). Since your review is more poignantly put, I'll refer others to it if they ask me to elaborate what I didn't like about the book.


Miriam I was entertained by the book but your complaints about "women's" lit more generally resonate with me. I don't know how often I've finished a novel and thrown it down thinking "Oh, God, another f&*#ing wedding?!" (or even worse "another f&*#ing wedding with an unplanned baby on the way?"). Because obviously whatever problems and vacancies exist in your life can be fixed by white lace and dirty diapers. Isn't it permissible for women to have alternative aspirations?


message 3: by Claudia (new)

Claudia In this review you have completely confirmed why I never ever wanted to read this book, nor be in the company of those who enjoyed it. Thank you.


Maria Oh, please, people, get over yourselves. It is not "great literature" it's a fun book about fun women. Great escape lit, for reading in a beach chair. Seriously!


message 5: by E (new) - rated it 1 star

E Maria wrote: "Oh, please, people, get over yourselves. It is not "great literature" it's a fun book about fun women. Great escape lit, for reading in a beach chair. Seriously!"

And you're entitled to enjoy it, but "beach reads" still bear responsibility when they decide to take on deep issues like racism, domestic abuse, poverty and the female human condition. Both high art and entertainment simultaneously reflect and influence the societies they choose to portray and comment on. If you don't want to consider that when reading, you certainly don't have to, but I always will. Seriously!


Maria Point taken. I guess with all the everyday stresses in my life - job, family, finances, etc., it's just fun to read something without worrying about the social ramifications. I know that a lot of what was portrayed in this book is controversial, if not offensive. But also, it was fun to peer into their lives and imagine all the fun they had. Just my two cents...


message 7: by E (new) - rated it 1 star

E Maria wrote: "Point taken. I guess with all the everyday stresses in my life - job, family, finances, etc., it's just fun to read something without worrying about the social ramifications. I know that a lot of..."

I totally understand the desire to simply enjoy a light read. In that case, I personally find it's best not to read the reviews by those who disliked it - for the sake of keeping my enjoyment intact :-)


message 8: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Maniaci I thought it fun and left it at that! I can cry about the woes of bad writing another day on a much worse read than this one!


Stephanie Culver I am only on the fifth chapter and already annoyed with the book's overly cliche storyline.

Though, I do have to disagree with your statement on life long friendships. I am 23 years old and my best friend and I have known each other since kindergarten when she asked if I was a boy or a girl. My father and godfather grew up down the street from each other, and now live an 8 hour drive away from each other but still remain friends. My mother and her best friend met in high school when she moved to Wisconsin from Hawaii. My Nana and her friend Darlene have been friends since their high school years, and they are both 85 years old. Keeping the same friends from childhood doesn't mean you haven't branched out and made new friends. It simply shows you can keep a relationship strong and lively even after years of knowing someone.

I do like that aspect of the story, thus far. It reminds me of watching my Nana and her old batty friends sit around yapping about lord only knows what as they sip coke and brandy around the kitchen table.

It's everything else about this book that annoys me: the over the top description on clothing, the constant, the constant crying, the boring use of religious symbolism.


message 10: by E (new) - rated it 1 star

E Fair enough, Stephanie. While I'm not one for tight circles of friends - I've rarely if ever enjoyed the drama of cliques - I certainly do not intend to trash the entire idea of long-lasting friendship. I more intended it as slightly over-the-top ending to my rant of a review :-)


message 11: by Veronica (new)

Veronica Watson Agreed, it's cliche and great literature it's not but two things to consider, life long friendships are something incredible not unhealthy. Second, this is not a book about racism or religion, it is only mentioned in light of what the book is about, friendship and mother daughter relationship. The author had no intention of dwelling on those subjects because her focus was elsewhere. You have to look at the genre of a book before you read it expecting it to be a political/societal commentary or great literature. It's pretty obvious what kind of book it is before you get in it.


message 12: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Mcd Wow!


Emily For future reference, there is a feature when writing your review by which you can hide part of your review due to spoilers. You simply write < spoiler > spoiler > without the spaces. You may want to consider employing this feature of html in the future.


Megan I enjoyed reading your review. I don't agree with all of it but I liked the things that you found disappointing.


Heather Carrillo I didn't think it was cliche chick lit at all. I think it dealt with some very serious issues in a very real way. I'm confused if I read the same book here. lol


message 16: by Gaia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gaia Amman I don't know. As a child of a parent suffering of addiction and mental illness I found it very moving. As an adult I realized many of the horrifying things that my parent had done and I was resentful. It kind of obliterated all the positive things that she had done too. I thought this book did a great job of describing many horrors without being judgmental. I was also disturbed by how the stories about POC were related, but it seemed (horrifying, yes but) historically accurate. Also, I thought the wedding was nor big nor white, thrown together in a week. I am no fan of happy endings no matter what, but it seemed that the author criticized strongly this idea that women have to get married and bear children. Thank goodness it's not like that (as much) any more. I might buy myself one of those t-shirts mentioned in the book, the ones that say "Ops! I forgot to have children!" As much as I disagreed, I found your review very interesting.


Sofia If all you could relate this story with was your irritation with weddings, irritation with cliques (which, apparently, to you this long-lasting friendship was), and your irritation with her description of the racialized South than you have missed the point. Do I believe every woman needs to get married and have babies? No. Do I think it was part of the generation and geography of the story? Obviously it was. If you can get over your own issues with the above mentioned points, and which were NOT main themes of the story, you may have been able to understand that this novel is about relationships. Relationships in all the various forms: family, friendships, marriage. It's unfortunate that you may have not been able to actually enjoy it because of perhaps some personal hang ups.


message 18: by E (new) - rated it 1 star

E Sofia wrote: "If all you could relate this story with was your irritation with weddings, irritation with cliques (which, apparently, to you this long-lasting friendship was), and your irritation with her descrip..."

You have every right to enjoy and praise this story, but can we agree that speculating about a reviewer's personal hang-ups is a no-go? I won't ever do it to you or anyone else on this site, and I'd appreciate the same courtesy.


Calli Perhaps Wells’ goal wasn’t to literarily analyze the hot button issues. I waited for more thoughts on some of those ethical things as well, but as I continued reading I realized something. The author was not really trying to make any kind of political or ethical stance. This was a cathartic story of a mother and a daughter. Rather than express solutions or opinions, I felt as if Welles was only trying to convey that these uncomfortable things simply were. They were there, in the story and of the story. They were THE story. To offer some kind of remedy for domestic violence, alcoholism, racism etc. would have taken away from the underlying current of the narrative: These things happened. They were wrong, sad, humiliating, and life altering. And they happened. To alter the interpretation of them in the prose would have distracted from the theme of moving forward and healing from them. The past leaves scars that no one can erase, and healing from it is messy and turbulent and hurtful. To try to amend the atrocities with alternatives or opinions, would have taken away from their contribution to Sidda and Vivi’s story.


Calli Just my opinion :)


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