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I read "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" many years ago and loved it. I found it both funny and heart warming and was delighted several years later when the film was made as I did not know anyone else who had read the book; and up until then thought I was the only one to have made this special find. As so often the case the film was a disappointment and the book soon became a memory.
I was browsing in my local library recently with my four year old daughter when she told me that she had found me a good book. Without really expecting to be interested I took the book from her; it was "Ya-Yas In Bloom" and I was surprised at her fabulous choice, (obviously she had gone for the picture on the cover which differs from the one on Dooyoo. This was a small girl dressed as an angel in roller skates above a cloud). Up until then I had not given the "Divine Secrets" any recent thought and certainly had not realized that there were more to follow.
Since reading the book I have now learnt that 'Ya-Yas In Bloom' is actually the third book in this series with 'Little Altars Everywhere' coming in between. Having not read the second book I don't see it as being too great a disadvantage in following the story as there is so much going on with many characters over a long time. I believe that the second book was the story of one of the "Petites Ya-Yas", Sidda and why she moved away.
The "Ya-Ya Sisterhood" consists of four best friends, Vivi, Caro, Teensy and Necie. The friendship bond is so strong that it unites all their families and lasts a life time.
The book starts in 1994 with a sixty-eight year old Vivi reminiscing. This is a good introduction to her character for those not familiar with the previous books.
After this initial chapter the story is divided into four sections;
Sowing Sisterhood Seeds
Here we go back to 1930 and find out how the friends all met. The start of this friendship came about when a four year old Teensy stuck a pecan, still in its shell up her nose. She was taken to the Doctors clinic where Vivi was waiting to be seen with an earache. Within weeks the girls were firm friends and had an amusing first encounter with Necie that got them in trouble at church. By December of that same year the three girls had met Caro, whose parents owned the local theatre. The rest as they say is history!
Tending Young Buds
This is a section of memories from the "Petite Ya-Yas". It starts in 1994 with Sidda talking about her childhood memories and the defining moment that shaped her career. Baylor's story of a brush with fame is next as we go to 1963 and find out what happened on the day he was invited to a children's TV show. Sidda tells the story of the first time they saw snow in 1961 and how Little Shep ended up in hospital after running into a glass door. One of the funnier parts of the book is when in 1962 Vivi has an unfortunate encounter in her car with The Infant Jesus of Prague statue out side of the church. This section ends in 1965 with a trip to a Beatles concert.
This was my least favourite section of the book. Starting in 1961 we are introduced to Myrtis Spivey a strange Bruised Plantings
This was my least favourite section of the book. Starting in 1961 we are introduced to Myrtis Spivey a strange women with a dislike for most things especially the Ya-Yas. In 1994 her even stranger daughter Edythe kidnaps a three year old Rosalyn one of the "Tres Petites". I think the purpose of this story is to show the bond and power of the sisterhood as they search for Rosalyn and comfort one another.
A Bountiful Garden
The story ends in December 1994 with one enormous Christmas party. This is particularly well written. There is the humour of the Nativity show being put on and the seriousness of the feelings left from recent events. Great description goes on here from the aromas of the food to the notes in the singing you certainly feel you are part of this unique group.
Overall I would say I quite enjoyed this book, it was funny and it was uplifting. It was great to see how the friends met and to have more of an insight in their childhood. I do not however think it was as good as the original story - "Divine Secrets" as it was not as amusing and on a few occasions I found it a little boring . I would not recommend this book to anyone who had not read "Divine Secrets" because I feel that is where the magic lies. However if you have read it and are interested in how it all began then this is an OK read with several really good parts.