Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells usually plays second string to it’s sister book, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. And while I also like the more famous book better than this one, this is still definitely worth reading, especially if you plan on reading ‘Ya-Ya.’ If you read ‘Ya-Ya’ without reading ‘Altars,’ you’ll still know what’s going on, but reading this book first really makes it better, as it sets up the scene, and introduces you to the characters.
Little Altars Everywhere follows the Louisiana childhood of Siddalee, who is the daughter of one of the main characters in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. It is given through various points of view, including Sidda’s, her brothers, younger sister, father, and housekeeper. Siddalee’s childhood is rocky, and it is mostly attributable to her mother. Vivi has numerous personal and psychological issues, as well as a bad addiction to alcohol, and often abuses her children…way more than just emotionally. She is self-centered, mean, flamboyant, and the only way her husband deals with her, is by running away. It is hard, if not impossible, to feel any sympathy toward Vivi Abbott in this book. But that is what makes ‘Ya-Ya’ so wonderful.
This book sets up the reasons for the strained relationship that Siddalee and her mother have in The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and also explains Sidda’s reasons for wanting to leave Louisiana and never go back. While Little Altars Everywhere is at times a strain to read, and the plot rolls along very slowly, it is worth it because of how incredible of a book ‘Ya-Ya’ is.