Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Siddalee Walker is a southern native who moves to the Northeast to pursue a career as a playwright. Following the success of her first play, Sidda is interviewed by a New York Times reporter and innocently shares information regarding her difficult childhood growing up in the deep south with an alcoholic mother. When her mother, Vivi, gets word of the article she is both heartbroken and furious. Vivi refuses to answer phone calls or letters from her oldest daughter. Sidda becomes so upset over the situation, she decides to call off her upcoming wedding to a man named Connor and continues to plead for her mother's forgiveness.
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When Vivi's group of childhood friends (known as the Ya-Ya's) realize how desperate Sidda and Vivi's relationship has become, they decide to step in. They encourage Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook they have kept since childhood, hoping that by reading it, Sidda will not only gain insight on her mother's life history but will also be able to better understand the child abuse and neglect Vivi inflicted on her throughout the years. The scrapbook, which is a collection of photographs, letters and diary entries, turns Sidda's entire world upside down as she realizes that her mother, Vivi Walker, has had anything but an easy life.   

As Sidda reads through the scrapbook, she is taken deeper and deeper into the heart and soul of her mother. As she reads about Vivi's mentally unstable mother, Vivi's first broken heart and all the physical and emotional disorders Vivi has suffered from over the years, Sidda begins to see her mother as a new person -- as a woman filled with dreams, passion and love .. but also as a woman whom life damaged along the way.

The review of this Book prepared by Stephanie Bernier

Successful theatrical director Siddalee Walker opens up to a journalist about her tumultous childhood and her inconsistent upbringing by her mother. She is quoted in the newspaper as calling her mother "a tap dancing child abuser." Her mother Vivi, understandably, does not appreciate her daughter's frank words. They become estranged, and it falls upon a group of her mother's friends who are known as the "Ya-ya Sisterhood" to bring mother and daughter back together. Until this issue is resolved, Siddalee is not free to move forward with her own life. She has put her own upcoming wedding to her "Mr. Perfect" on hold, feeling haunted by her mother's legacy and unable to freely love her own man with no reservations about the nature of love.

Unraveling the secrets of her mother's past, Siddalee is sent a intriguing package of scraps and momentos from her mother's life. Seeking to understand her mother, she delves into this memorabilia, back into the 1930s and 40s in the South, when Southern women were expected to think and act a certain way. Her mother's natural vivaciousness and zest for living are at odds with the mores of the times. Together with her girlfriends, "the Ya-Yas", her mother got into numerous scrapes and escapades as a teenager. When the love of Vivi's life dies in the war, something seems to die in Vivi. Although she goes on to marry, Vivi turns to alcohol and becomes severely depressed over the years. The effect of this depression and subsequent child abuse is strongly felt by Siddalee, the oldest of Vivi's children.

Siddalee comes to better understand her mother and to realize the nature of imperfect love. Her mother loves her, in her own way, and although suffering from depression and alcoholism, has passed on her joy for living in Siddalee.
The review of this Book prepared by Kim Graba

Rebecca Wells shares a heart warming story of family and friendship as Vivi and Sidda share their memories of an ambiguous mother/daughter relationship in the context of “the ya-ya's” -- three women who Vivi shares very close, special and life-long friendships with. Together, the ya-yas help Sidda unravel the mysteries of her mother's journal, “The divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood”, in the interest of promoting understanding and acceptance, healing past hurts, and narrowing the growing divide between Vivi and her daughter.
The review of this Book prepared by Alison

While giving an interview, a forty year old woman lets it slip that her mother wasn't the best mother in the world. As a result the mother is very angry. At the same time, the primary character (the daughter) is re-evaluating her relationship with her fiance and is considering breaking off with him because of her fears of love. The friends of her mother help the mother and daughter reconsile by helping the daughter to understand why her mother is the way she is by revealing the "secrets of the YaYa sisterhood", and in so, try to help the daughter understand her fears.
The review of this Book prepared by Sheila

Kind of a difficult book to review, but a really good read. This is a story of a woman on the "outs" with her mother, but in her hour of need, asks for help hoping to bring the two of them back together. The Ya-Ya's are strong, funny, and adventurous. The stories they share will change the lives of all of them forever. This book is filled with so much information that I began reading it again as soon as I finished it, I'd have to say, it gets even better the second time you read it.
The review of this Book prepared by Darcey

Chapter Analysis of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Mother (or standin) Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Drinking/Drugs problems?    -   alcohol Brain/Body disability?    -   mental illness

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   actor/actress/producer Age:    -   20's-30's    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American) Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast    -   Deep South

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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