One of the marks of a great book is that it can let you travel the world, and even through time, from the comfort of your own living room (or coffee shop – depending on where you are reading). This is exactly what Little Altars Everywhere does. From your familiar surroundings in the UK this transports you to Louisiana in the heart of the southern states of America and throws you into the lives of the Walker family. Siddalee is the eldest daughter in the family and she is the narrator who opens the story. Growing up in the 1960s life is changing around her and it is only as an adult that she can begin to deal with the turbulence of her childhood.
Each chapter is told by a different member of the family. There is Vivi, the matriarch, and Shep, a father who tries to provide for his family but is under a lot of pressure and unable to quite express his feelings. Siddalee’s voice is joined by her siblings, Little Shep, Lulu, and Baylor. This is, in many ways, a collection of short stories, each giving a glimpse into life for the Walker clan.
From the summers spent in Spring Creek, to dance classes, a pregnant dog, and a runaway daughter, the pieces gradually come together. Accompanying the family through their experiences are the Ya-Yas: four close friends, including Vivi, who are loud, colourful, and vibrant. But this is not always an easy story to read. Families can hide secrets that the outside world will never know and the consequences won’t be felt for years.