Siddalee Walker's mother Vivi disowns her daughter when a reporter, who interviews the 40-year-old, successful director, describes her mother as a "tap dancing child abuser". Devastated, Sidda postpones her wedding. The Ya-Yas, Vivi's strong circle of friends since childhood, are horrified and agree to send Siddalee the scrapbook of "Divine Secrets" to try and help her to understand her mother and herself.
Sidda submerges herself in the wild, wondrous and wicked world of the Ya-Yas as she reads through half-a-century's worth of letters and clippings contained in the Ya-Ya Sisterhood's parcel of "Divine Secrets". Middle-class Louisiana quakes as the quartet makes its way through adolescence: from being disqualified from the Shirley-Temple-look-a-like competition because Teensy did a "poot", to attending the premiere of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta, only for Vivi's hoop skirt, "much to her confusion, to go entirely over the head of the person sitting in the seat in front of her", to spending a night in jail after floating naked on a hot southern evening in the town's water cooler.
Rebecca Wells, author of Little Altars Everywhere (in which Siddalee Walker describes the anguishes of childhood), has created a beautifully crafted, penetrating insight into society, friendship, the mother/daughter divide and religion. No subject is taboo as you dip in and out of the lives of Vivi, Teensy, Caro and Necie--the Ya Yas. --Nicola Perry