by Sukey HowardFebruary, 1999
If you liked -- or loved -- Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, you'll be taken and shaken back into their world with Little Altars Everywhere (3 hours). If you haven't had the pleasure yet, you're in for a treat. Rebecca Wells wrote this one first, but they are of a piece, a piece of powerful, poignant fiction that saddens and gladdens, that takes you into the beating heart of family life and strife at Pecan Grove in Thornton, Louisiana. The stories are told in alternating voices, moving easily between past and present. The voices, all masterfully recreated in Ms. Wells's fabulous reading, are familiar, yet always original: Vivi, the most flamboyant of the Ya-Yas; Sidda, living through the agonies and joys of growing up as Vivi's daughter; Sidda's siblings; Mr. "Big" Shep, their perplexed father; Chaney and Willetta, who have served and watched over the family. Their facades slip, their fears show, but so does their love.