When Vivi and Siddalee Walker, an unforgettable mother-daughter team, get into a savage fight over a New York Times article that refers to Vivi as a "tap-dancing child abuser", the fallout is felt from Louisiana to New York to Seattle. Siddalee, a successful theater director with a huge hit on her hands, panics and postpones her upcoming wedding to her lover and friend, Connor McGill. Vivi's intrepid gang of lifelong girlfriends, the Ya-Yas, sashay in and conspire to bring everyone back together.
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©1996 Rebecca Wells; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers
"One heck of a rollicking good read....You'll laugh. You'll cry. But you'll mostly want to laugh and offer Wells a hearty merci." (Columbus Dispatch)
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 few scenes had Sidda walking around naked. The Ya-Ya girls would sleep together with arms and legs intertwined. This was not sexual. It was just wonderfully close loving friendship.
The main story is Vivi, one of the Ya-Ya women. Her adult daughter is Sidda. Sidda postpones her wedding to Connor because she fears she does not know how to love. She asks Vivi to send her the Ya-Ya scrapbook. Sidda wants to better understand her mother and their relationship. When Sidda was a child, Vivi beat Sidda with a belt leaving scars. Most of the book is Sidda thinking about events in the scrapbook and talking to the four women. Parts of the book are the Ya-Ya women thinking about events in the past. By the end of the book the reader has a full understanding of Vivi’s life, her troubles, her sadnesses.
My favorite part - a small part: Lizzie was not part of the Ya-Ya group. Her husband died, forcing her to support her two young sons. She starts a job selling cheap beauty products door-to-door, and she’s not good at it. She does not wear her own makeup well. Vivi demonstrates immense kindness by taking Lizzie under her wing. Vivi teaches Lizzie how to look, talk, and sell. Vivi also telephones women convincing them to buy beauty products from Lizzie. Lizzie blossoms and becomes successful. That was neat.
Although Vivi did a couple of nice things for others, I did not like her enough to enjoy her story. She’s always drinking, calling everyone darlin’. She didn’t accomplished things. I’m not asking for great achievement. A hobby would be fine - something she applies herself to, that she cares about. After her kids are grown I’m not aware of her doing anything with her time - other than drinking and socializing. It’s as if her life is blowing in the wind, responding to being blown around by others. Her husband did not give her money. She had to be tricky and sneaky to get cash to do things. I prefer stories where someone changes or causes change - or uses willpower to do something. I guess the main idea here is when someone is down, the sisters rally around and socialize to make them feel better.
I recently listened to a different book narrated by someone with a southern accent. It was charming and delightful to hear. I did not like Judith Ivey doing this book. I don’t know if it was her southern accent or her voice. It sounded harsh. It needed something softer. When she read dialogue from a woman with emphysema, she took a lot of long noisy breaths - also unpleasant. In a film that might be good, but I don’t want that kind of acting for an audiobook. I am guessing that those breaths were not written in the text.
Genre: women’s fiction, sisterhood
Denzil and Judy share this account. Some reviews (Bond and Sci Fi) are Denzil and the chick lit reviews are Judy.
Judith Ivey brings to life the wonderful southern charm of Vivienne and her relationship with her oldest child.
This was a wonderful book! It made me realize a lot about my relationships with people. Namely my mother. You never know what shapes a persons life and makes them into the person they are.
This book is so rich in the wisdom of human relationships, their messiness, their triumphs, their incomprehensibility. Rebecca Wells has opened me at 46 to understandings for which I am so grateful. Her storytelling is masterful, her imagery fresh and immediate. The characters are complex and imperfect, rich and real, free from judgement. Given by the the storyteller the blessing of being in all of their human frailty and glory. I leave this lovely book with a redemption of the relationships in my own life - especially my relationship with my mother - with a new curiosity and with a freedom from the disappointment and anger which have riddled that relationship for years. Love, understanding, forgiveness and a willingness to be patient and vulnerable reveal themselves to me through this delightful, sad and triumphant story as the magic elixirs of life! Thank you Rebecca Wells!
Judith Ivey's narration/ dramatization is brilliant! I am from the south and delighted in her accents and the authenticity of her storytelling - right down to the acknowledgements where she says "and for my brother - Tom Wells - whom I love" in such a way that it gave me goosebumps all over. She is absolutely fabulous!
This audiobook had me laughing, crying, nodding my head and shuddering as the narrator told the story of a mother/daughter relationship and the stories behind it. It made me realize that we all have a story--that few people know. We all deserve to be loved for who we are, not who others think we should be. I will be more open and loving to the women in my family, as well as in my little world. I loved this book and will listen to it again when I've had time to live a bit first. Then I'll come back to the Ya-ya's for their wisdom! Judith Ivey does an amazing job giving each character their own voice and they are each exactly what I would have heard in my head if I had been reading it myself.
Too much to fill in this limited space
Performance was fine except for the bad accents
I thought this book was juvenile and had way too many scenes of poor taste involving girl experimentation. I grew up a southern girl, and the book just infuriates me because it creates even more southern girl stereotypes.
Yes! I would listen to it again right now and I just finished it!
Little Alters Everywhere. Now little Alters was written first but I suggest reading Ya Ya's first. It makes you fall in love with Vivi before you hate her for how she treated the kids. It helps you to understand why she was the way she was.
Oh every one. She did such an impeccible job. Hearing that creole accent in teensy and the boyish twang of Baylor. She makes the book that much better. LOVE HER
Well the movie has already been done and it wasn't done the way I would have done it!
I suggest this book to anyone and everyone with a soft spot for southern living. This book is incredible . as is little alters. you must get them both
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