Over the long weekend, I read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. I had seen the movie already, but the book is so much richer (and the movie left out what I thought was a significant plot point). Wells’s writing was quite lyrical at times, and quite “Bayou blunt” at others. I liked the mix, as well as her varied use of perspective and technique (3rd person, 1st person, past, present, letters, flashbacks, etc.). I mean, she basically broke every rule in the book, but she made it work. Once again, it’s a good lesson to trust your instincts as a writer and do whatever it takes to tell the story in the best way possible for that story.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, for those of you that don’t know, revolves around mother-daughter relationships, and the strength of female friendships. Two of my favorite themes! So yes, it gave me a lot to think about, both in terms of my own life and in terms of two of my manuscripts, Twenty-Somewhere and The Good Daughters.
Since I can’t lend all of you the book (I borrowed it myself — thanks, Ingrid!) I’ve got some other reading for you to enjoy instead. For the writing crowd:
- “Make It Easy” by Nic Brown
A tool to ease the writing process doesn’t cheapen it. What I found was, the less laborious the task, the more exciting the prose. Ease of entry doesn’t necessitate weak narrative or language. It ended up meaning the opposite.
- “The Truth” by Jenny Zhang
We will always have opportunities to tell stories that are meant to comfort, to delight on dark days when light is needed, but where else and when else, if not in our fiction, are we going to tell the stories that comfort no one, the stories that we often don’t tell out of love or pity or compassion or simply because it is unpleasant?
And for fans of Stieg Larrson’s “The Girl Who…” series:
- “The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut” by Nora Ephron
Lisbeth Salander was entitled to her bad moods on account of her miserable childhood and her tiny breasts, but it was starting to become confusing just how much irritability could be blamed on your slight figure and an abusive father you had once deliberately set on fire and then years later split open the head of with an axe.