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Saturday, February 12, 2005

cover of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

It seems a telling fact about this book that I got my copy from someone who was getting rid of several books, and when I was cleaning recently and trying to find places for some books, decided to pass it on to someone else. It doesn't seem to be a book worth holding onto or re-reading.

The book itself was okay - fairly enjoyable; but there were things about it that bothered me. At first, there was always some kind of connection for the stories about Vivi that we get, where Siddalee only gets a hint or a taste of what might have happened. She'd be looking at or touching some artifact, and then we get the full background. This felt kind of gimmicky, although it was kind of fun, too-- I wondered if Wells could keep up the "gimmick" for the whole book, especially without it becoming artificial or too repetitive. As it turns out, she couldn't-- fairly soon the gimmick disappears and Wells just fills out the stories for us without excuse (although the "gimmick" does return near the end, for the touching elephant story).

The other thing that bothered me was the use & presentation of female sexuality. It wasn't just that it was there, but the way that it was presented-- it seemed unrealistic in places, and sometimes sensationalized, or even just that the author is using it, maybe because she thinks it will make the book more popular.

The only other major flaw with the book is that I got the point fairly early on-- that mothers and daguthers are allw omen who've had their share of struggles and suffering, and that they need to learn to communicate. But this point is hammered home repeatedly in what seems an unnecessary fashion.

As a picture of a particular region and specific point in time, I enjoyed it-- I glimpsed some bits of 'history' (if I can call it that) which I might not otherwise ever see.

Title:Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Author:Rebecca Wells
Date published:1997
Number of pages:356


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