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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Little Altars Everywhere

Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells
Reason for Reading: Need for something more mindless
Rating: 4.5/5

A companion novel to the better-known book Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood, this book is best summed up by the old saying: we put the fun in dysfunctional.

Because this book is laugh out loud hilarious. It is also heart-breaking. Not many authors could easily fuse the two emotions so seemlessly.

This book might be easily labeled 'Chick lit', but don't let that throw you off. It is a keen-sighted character study of an entire family. Told in vignettes that alternate narrators, it is the story of the Walker family. It is set mostly as the four Walker children are growing up in the South of the 1960's.

Wells has an impeccable sense of place. The brands, the music, the attitudes of that era... she captures it perfectly. She also knows how to give the reader fascinating characters that won't easily be forgotton. I pretty much gobbled this tasty read in about one sitting. Since it's hard to really explain what this book is about (it's not necesarily about any one particular thing), here are some quotes:

The minute we hit the kitchen door you can hear that dog yipping. You can hear her little toenails tapping against the wood floor while she runs down the hall. Buggy (their grandmother) lets those toenails get so long, it's like Miss Peppy is wearing little poodle high heels.

My Daddy told Buggy once, If you don't trim that dog's toenails, someone is going to report you to the ASPCA.

After that, Buggy keeps that poodle away from my Daddy. She doesn't believe in cutting Miss Peppy's toenails because she says it depresses Miss Peppy. But you better believe she gets scared when my Daddy threatens her with punishment from a big organization. Buggy is terrified of big organizations. She says they're all in cahoots with each other. For instance, she thinks the Communists have infiltrated the NASA space program to ruin the weather so they can destroy the Catholic church.


Before he could marry Mama, they made Daddy sign an official document promising to raise us all in the Catholic faith. He also agreed to go to Catholic Instruction every Thursday night for two whole years. But when push came to shove, Daddy refused to join the Catholic Church. He said, Ya'll are like sheep to the slaughter when it comes to the Penguins (which is what he calls the brides of Christ)....

Now I didn't even know about this before we started at Divine Compassion
(their school), but at school I'm always singled out because I'm the child of a "Mixed Marriage." That means I'm likely to make the Baby Jesus cry a lot more than a kid with two Catholic parents.

I highly recommend this particular book even though my particular review is particularly undescriptive. Because it is particularly good.


Stephanie said...

I just rented Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood. The movie was ok, but the novel so much better. I'll have to check out LIttle Alters Everywhere. Thanks!

Trish said...

I was always a little confused if this one should be read before Divine Secrets. I enjoyed both (her newer one, Ya Yas in Bloom, a little less) and would like to revisit them one day. They are a lot of fun!! Thanks for reminding me. :)

Kim L said...

stephanie-you would definitely like this one then. I haven't seen the movie, it just sounded kinda dumb. The book is so good though.

trish-glad you liked this one too!