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Flip or Flick: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Image is the cover of the novel, "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood."

Image courtesy of Google books.

By Allie Reczek

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was written in 1996 by Rebecca Wells. This story shifts back and forth between telling stories from the youth of the Ya-Yas—Vivi, Teensy, Caro, and Necie—in 1930s Louisiana, and the current life of Siddalee Walker, Vivi’s daughter, in the 1990s.

After a slanderous review of her mother in a public journal, Vivi disowns Sidda, sending her in a tailspin that results in Sidda traveling across the country and breaking off her engagement with her fiancé, Connor. In an effort to rekindle the relationship between Sidda and Vivi, the Ya-Yas send Sidda a scrapbook, detailing their lives, so that Sidda could better understand why her mother is the way she is. This seemingly complex, yet rather simple story between mother and daughter forces readers to confront their own family relationship and realize that everyone has a past we cannot judge them for. 

The movie adaptation, directed by Callie Khouri in 2002, generally follows the meaning behind this story but fails to provide as much detail as the novel. Instead of isolating herself and traveling alone, in the movie, the Ya-Yas kidnap Sidda, played by Sandra Bullock, and bring her to their childhood cabin in Louisiana, telling stories about Vivi and her troubling childhood. Themes stay relatively the same, but significant details about Vivi’s life and Sidda’s relationship are missing. This movie lacks a certain emotional pull that the novel poetically conveys. This movie received a 44% on Rotten Tomatoes and is rated PG-13. 

So… Flip or Flick?

Flip! Every recount from the childhood of the Ya-Yas, every letter exchange between Sidda and Vivi, every interaction between the Ya-Yas, from youth to old age, provides readers with an understanding about the value of love and friendship over anything else.

This story teaches us that no matter what you have been through, family is forever and will always be by your side.


Allie Reczek headshotThis is the last Flip or Flick by Allie Reczek ’22 CLAS. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from Villanova University. Congratulations, Allie! Falvey Library wishes you all the best in your future endeavors. Rebecca Wells’ novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was published 26 years ago on May 22, 1996.


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Flip or Flick: Girl, Interrupted

By Allie Reczek

Image is the book cover for the autobiography Girl, Interrupted.

Photo courtesy of Goodreads.


***Content Warning: Please be advised that this post discusses aspects of Girl, Interrupted, a book and feature film that contain strong elements of suicide, self-harm, and other mental health concerns/disorders.***

Girl, Interrupted, a 1993 memoir written by Susanna Kaysen, depicts her life in the sixties as she is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and sent to a psychiatric hospital. For the next two years, Kaysen illustrates her time in this Massachusetts hospital, from the other patients she meets, to the treatment she receives, to the minute by minute surveillance by the staff, unable to even shave her legs without supervision. Kaysen describes this period of her life in intense detail, where readers cannot help but feel extreme sympathy and pain for her and the other patients. Lisa Rowe, Daisy Randone, Georgina Tuskin, and Polly Clark, who are admitted to McLean Hospital for all sorts of mental illnesses and personality disorders, play a large role in both Susanna’s suffering and growth over time. Girl, Interrupted, while should be read with caution due to the discussion of suicide, eating disorders, and self-harm acts, provides a glimpse into the reality of mental health treatment during the 1960s. Additionally, readers can understand the importance of getting help when you need it and pushing past the impossible to gain back your freedom. 

The movie adaptation, directed by James Mangold and released in 1999, follows a similar story to the one Kaysen depicts in her memoir. However, there are several relevant plot lines in the novel that are left out of this film. Winona Ryder, who plays Susanna, executes her role quite well, portraying a young girl left to be institutionalized by a society who believes that anyone with a mental illness should be locked away. Through this movie, viewers can understand the pain and suffering that these patients experience and share their frustration for how the hospital treats them. It should be noted that this film is rated R and includes scenes of suicide and violence that may be unsuitable for some audiences.

So… Flip or Flick?

Flip. Because this is a memoir, recounting real life experiences of Susanna Kaysen, I feel that the movie adaptation does not closely follow what Kaysen depicts in her novel. The ending of the book provides much more satisfaction and closure to the story, sharing details from years later after Kaysen is released from McLean. Additionally, I feel that some of the scenes in the movie are included merely for suspense and entertainment purposes, disregarding the true intent of what Kaysen experienced. If you are looking for a more autobiographical narrative written honestly and poetically, I would recommend giving the book a read. However, if you are more interested in a dramatic, provocative retelling, this movie remains an excellent option.  


Allie Reczek headshotAllie Reczek ’22 CLAS is a current senior at Villanova, majoring in Psychology with minors in Communications and Sociology. She works in Falvey Library as a Marketing and Communications Assistant.

 

 


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Falvey Flick or Flip?

Welcome to Falvey’s Flick or Flip? My name is Allie Reczek, and I am a sophomore undergrad. For this blog, I will pick a book that has been turned into a movie, and argue which I thought was better.

I am discussing We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson for this first post. Written in 1962, this drama/thriller novel tells the tale of two sisters, Mary Katherine (Merricat) and Constance Blackwood who have a mysterious and tragic past, resulting in isolation from the rest of their village. Told in Merricat’s point of view, readers soon learn that she poisoned and killed her entire family years earlier, explaining why the townsfolk despise and fear the Blackwoods. With the arrival of their cousin, Charles, Merricatwho is prone to have a vivid imagination—is convinced that he is an evil spirit and devises plans to force him out of the sister’s lives. I thought that this book was very well written and engaging, allowing the reader to piece together the history of the Blackwoods and get inside the head of Merricat. 

The movie of the same title, released in 2018 (and available on Netflix), follows a similar plot line as the novel, and certainly keeps viewers interested. However, despite its close relation to the novel, I found that the book was far superior. The ending of this movie is dissimilar to the novel (you’ll have to watch it to find out!), but I found the novel ending to be more satisfying. Additionally, the language and dialogue of the book, created much more suspense and intrigue for me, whereas I was not as invested in the movie.

To any thriller lovers, this book is definitely up your alley and a relatively quick, enjoyable read. You can find it right here in Falvey Memorial Library!

SO…FLICK OR FLIP?

FLIP!


Hi! My name is Allie Reczek, and I am a sophomore Psychology Major. I work as a Marketing and Communication Assistant in Falvey. Hope you enjoy this blog! Have any flips or flicks I should debate in the future? Message @villanovalibrary on Instagram or tweet us @FalveyLibrary!

 


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Last Modified: December 16, 2019