CBR-V Review #9: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Why I Read It: I actually listened to it on tape. I wanted something entertaining for a long car ride and I read this forever ago (when I was maybe nine) and remembered liking it. The library didn’t have the audiobook I was looking for so I picked this one.

My Review: 2 stars

Summary: Siddalee Walker is a successful playwright living the dream in New York City. Her latest play was a hit, she has a hot and caring fiance, and life couldn’t be better. When she accidentally reveals some dirty family secrets to a NY Times reporter and her mother, Vivian, stops speaking to her, she falls apart. She heads to the Washington State wilderness to figure out her life, armed with a scrapbook that contains the story of her mother and her mother’s three best friends since childhood–the Ya-Yas. The story alternates between present-day Sidda, present-day Vivi, and the history of the Ya-Yas.

My Review: I hated this book. I thought the plot was boring, every single one of the characters made me want to punch them in the face, and it wasn’t funny or entertaining in any way. I can’t believe I liked this book so much (okay, I was nine, I didn’t know much back then), and I can’t believe how popular this book was/is.

I love books and movies about female friendship. It’s always been a weird dream of mine to have a group of three (it’s always three!) other women to be best friends with–the kind of best friends that you share everything with, from clothes to your deepest secrets. I wanted to love this book because that’s what it boils down to: love between women. I remember liking the book so much initially because I wanted that type of friendship so much.

But damn, this book does NOT hold up. I thought that the Ya-Yas were obnoxious and self-centered and I didn’t think it was amusing that they basically did whatever they wanted, treated other people like crap, and faced zero consequences. Of course everyone loved them! They were quirky and outspoken and didn’t care what other people thought! Ugh. Excuse me while I vomit. It’s a great message, in theory, but the four women were just so grating and Rebecca Wells clearly was so in love with herself/her characters that it made me want to scream.

Don’t get me started on Sidda, either. She is a total non-entity of a character. She’s whiny, boring, and I literally wanted to fall asleep during her sections. There was not a single thing I liked about her. Her sections made me want to hurry up and get back to the Ya-Ya sections, which should tell you something, because I hated the Ya-Ya sections, too.

There’s also really no plot–and what little there is is rote, predictable, and not interesting. You basically know from page 1 how it’s going to end. The whole thing is just an excuse to intersperse stories of the Ya-Yas and their antics and fawn over these horrendously self-absorbed women.

It pisses me off that, based on my searching around review sites, this book is touted as some feminist classic, like it gives some great insight into the female psyche. Nope. No way. This is coming from someone who has read a LOT of chick lit, too. While it’s not as bad as some of the truly brain-dead books out there where all the characters care about are their designer shoes and sexy hookups, it’s still pretty terrible.

Should you read it? NO.


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