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Writer, actor, and playwright Rebecca Wells is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Ya-Yas in Bloom, Little Altars Everywhere, and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which was made into a feature film. A native of Louisiana, she now lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest.
Veteran narrator Ivey is magnificent in her performance of Wells's sprawling, delicious novel of lifelong female friendship and mother-daughter tension and reconciliation. When Siddalee Walker, a successful theater director, accidentally lets slip in an interview some less-than-flattering truths about her mother, Vivi, the ever-dramatic Vivi declares "You are dead to me!" But when Sidda reads Vivi's scrapbook detailing seven decades of friendship with her lifelong pals, the irrepressible Ya-Yas, she begins to understand her vivacious, unconventional, often difficult but never boring mother in ways she never has before. Ivey creates distinctive voices for each one of the multitude of characters not an easy task, since most of them are female and Southern. There's the four Ya-Yas, both as young, giggly girls and then as elderly women; Sidda as a child and a woman; and a plethora of relatives, siblings and friends. Ivey performs each character with conviction and emotion. Through her performance, listeners can see the characters, colorful events and the tangle and friction of close-knit, complicated relationships. Based on the HarperCollins hardcover. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Judith Ivey's portrayal of the eccentric characters in this popular novel, now a major motion picture, could certainly be described as "divine." The work, a companion to Wells's Little Altars Everywhere, has become a cult classic, spawning over 80 "Ya-Ya chapter groups" worldwide. The story begins with theater director Siddalee Walker being effectively disowned by her mother, Vivi, after some of Siddalee's darker childhood memories appear in a New York Times article. Devastated by Vivi's rejection, Siddalee postpones her wedding and retreats to a remote cabin in Washington State. Although Vivi will not speak to Siddalee, she does send her the "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," a scrapbook chronicling the girlhood adventures of Vivi and her three best friends (a.k.a. the Ya-Ya's). Through her examination of the scrapbook, Siddalee gains a deeper understanding of her mother and herself. Wells's colorful descriptions of small-town life in Louisiana in the 1930s and 1940s, coupled with Ivey's outstanding performance on both programs, make this an excellent pick for popular fiction collections.-Beth Farrell, Portage Cty. Dist. Lib., OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.