Review of YA-YAS IN BLOOM by Rebecca Wells (see the Ya-Ya website)
Harper Paperbacks, April 2006
Ya-Yas In Bloom chronicles the childhoods of three generations--the original four Ya-Yas, their children (the Petites Ya-Yas) and grandchildren (the Tres Petites Ya-Yas). Starting in the 1930s, we learn how Teensy and Vivi met at age four after Teensy shoved a pecan up her nose. The remaining two Ya-Yas soon joined, and thus began an unbreakable friendship among the four that changed the town of Thornton, Louisiana, forever. The vignettes dealing with the second generation mostly focus on Baylor, Vivi's younger son, and the forces that shaped the man and father he became. The third section of the book deals with the kidnapping of baby Rosalyn and the effect the incident had on the Ya-Ya clan. And the fourth section is mostly just a big feel-good fest.
The novel is structured in vignettes, as the others in the series, each exquisitely crafted in Wells's highly readable, amusing style. The author's ability to get into each character's head and speak in his or her voice is nothing short of amazing. And while I did not feel this book held together thematically quite as strongly as the other two, I never-the-less ate it up with a spoon. The chapters dealing with the kidnapping and the demented kidnapper were riveting. I did miss the character of Vivi's daughter Sidda, however. Although she was present in some of the vignettes, she was not a significant part of the novel--and she was not included in the finale romp.
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