‘Ya-Ya’ saga blooms in new book
You probably don’t think about it much, but your mother had a life before you came along. Quite a rich life, I would imagine.And if you’re like most kids, you grew up begging for stories of her life back in 19-something, B.C.B.C. That, of course, is “Before Children.”Stories are the glue that holds us together, and in the new novel “Ya-Yas in Bloom” by Rebecca Wells (c.2005, HarperCollins), the Ya-Ya saga started with a pecan.The story can be embellished, but, like a familiar fairy tale, none of the important parts can be left out: back when Teensy Whitman was a spoiled little girl-brat, she stuck a pecan up her nose, just to see what would happen. What happened is that she went to the doctor to get the pecan removed. Four-year-old Teensy was bigger than life, and Vivi Abbott, who was in the doctor’s office with an earache, was smitten by someone so bold. The two girls instantly became friends.Small girls can be naughty sometimes, and Genevieve, Teensy’s mama, told them about a bad little girl called Coco Robichaux. Coco did the most horrid, deliciously bad things that good girls would never do. Nobody knew what Coco looked like, but Teensy and Vivi were sure that she went to Our Lady of Divine Compassion Church. One Sunday, they slithered between feet and beneath pews, snuck up on Coco and pulled her braids. The little girl screamed and cried. Oops. Not Coco, but Denise Rose Kelleher, also known as Nicie.Genevieve loved the movies, so she took the girls to The Bob theatre in Thornton. That was where Teensy, Vivi, and Necie met Caro, who lived at The Bob with her parents. Caro was wild and smart and didn’t give a hoot what other people thought. This intrigued the other three girls, and Caro became their friend, too.That’s the end of the story, but it’s really not The End. Over the years, the four women were more than best friends. The Ya-Yas were a solid wall of support – a fact that their husbands and sons-in-law learned fast – and you didn’t mess around when one of them set her mind. But when something terrible happens, they all learn that being Ya-Ya is more than just support. It’s the paste that holds life together.A thousand years from now, when scientists study Women’s Friendships of the Twentieth Century, I hope they find this book. Having friends like the Ya-Yas is something every woman wants and the lucky ones get. Fans of Wells’ other books will enjoy knowing Vivi’s son, Baylor, whom I liked tremendously. After getting acquainted with him, I know there has to be a “next” book.If you’ve never read Wells’ first two books (“Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and “Little Altars Everywhere”), I think you’ll be safe starting with this one. You’ll be looking for those two books soon anyhow. Ya-Ya fans, though, are going to want to say yes-yes to this book. VT
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