Skip Navigation
Falvey Memorial Library
Advanced
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

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.


Like

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.

 

 


Like
1 People Like This Post

New Guide to Finding Film Reviews

By Susan Turkel

Image of movie theater by Nathan Engel via pexels.com

 

Are you taking a film studies class… or just looking for a good movie to watch on Friday night? Depending on your interest, come to (virtual) Falvey for help finding a film review or some film criticism!

The library has put together a guide to finding both reviews of movies (typically found in newspapers, magazines, and on websites), and works of film criticism, which are scholarly works on films and filmmakers that are usually found in scholarly books and journals.

Film reviews are usually published soon after a film or DVD is released. They describe the film and provide some sort of evaluation, to help potential viewers decide whether to watch the movie. Film criticism or film critique is more analytical, and may include references to film theory and other kinds of literary or cultural theory.

The Finding Film Reviews guide offers links to free websites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, which collate film reviews and provide “what to watch” lists. The guide also provides links and search tips for using library-subscribed academic resources that delve into film studies scholarship.

This guide and many others are linked from the Library’s How-to Guides list, which is linked under Research Services at the top of every page. You’ll find tips there on finding information in various formats, getting your scholarship published, annotating PDFs, using e-books, and more.

As a reminder: Falvey offers access to thousands of streaming films for your edification and viewing pleasure! Please visit the Streaming Video at Falvey guide for more information.

If you need more help finding film reviews, film critiques, or any other type of information, please contact your friendly librarian. We are always happy to help!

 


Susan Turkel is a Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library. 

 

 

 


 


Like

 


Last Modified: June 30, 2020