I thought I’d get the ball rolling with my favorite chick flick of all time, The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood. It is adapted from a trilogy of books by Rebecca Wells: Little Altars Everywhere, Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood and YaYa’s in Bloom. The movie stars Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, James (Hubba Hubba) Garner, Ashley Judd and the inimitable Maggie Smith. In my opinion, it is very rare to find a movie that does justice to a great book or in this case books, but I believe this movie did. Of course the books are more indepth and give you the insight into the friendship of 4 women from the south of America in the time of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind but the movie also stands on it’s own. There’s Vivi, Caro, Teensy and Necie who meet as children and develop the kind of friendship that women are so good at. It is an all consuming, life time friendship which sees 4 families become entwined by the enduring bonds of the YaYa Sisterhood.
Fast forward to the 80’s and meet Vivi’s daughter Sidda Lee (Sandra Bullock). After an argument with her mother the two, downright stubborn southern women, are not speaking so the other YaYa’s stage an intervention to get mother and daughter speaking again.. Old secrets are finally revealed and understanding of past hurts are eventually reached.
This story, book or movie, delves deeply into the sometimes unfathomable world that is female friendships. These women’s lives become inextricably meshed and each family becomes part of an extended family rather than just friends. It is only an old friend who can be so invasive in another’s life and feel they have every right to say and do anything they think is applicable and have everyone think its the most natural thing in the world.
This is a deeply confronting story on many levels as it certainly touches on things that have affected us all at one time or another; divorce, death, abuse. Yet it is also extremely funny. These women have razor sharp wit and aren’t afraid to use it on each other. I’ve watched this movie and read the books numerous times but still laugh out loud through parts of it and cry through other parts. The movie is played by some of the best actors of our lifetime and they weave an absolute magic in drawing you into the storyline.
If you haven’t seen it or read it, it’s a must! (especially if you’re a woman but men would enjoy it too) There is a whole movement around the world where groups of women celebrate their friendships by forming YaYa Sisterhoods including initiation ceremonies, headdresses and secret YaYa business. A website is totally devoted to generating your YaYa name. Just type yaya sisterhood name generator into google and you’ll find it. In case you’re interested, my YaYa name is Princess Singing Thundercloud.
I think this in itself is indicative of how deeply, women especially, are affected by this story. It touches that part of us that wants to belong. As a result there has been a whole industry generated by it. I hope you’ll read the book or see the movie if you haven’t yet.. and if you have.. do it all over again.. It’s worth it.. If you loved Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe, you’re going to love this too.
The following photo is me and two of the original YaYa’s (Anne & Cheryl) arriving in Perth in our YaYa Apparel back in 2006. Happy YaYa’ing!!!