Book Review: Getting to Happy

terry mcmillanIn Getting To Happy, we revisit the four women from Terry McMillan’s classic novel Waiting To Exhale. Its been 15 years and the ladies have all experienced their share of growth, gains, losses and grieving.

Robin is still single and has a sassy teenaged daughter named Sparrow who frequently fills in as Robin’s BFF, instead of as her child. After hoping for love for so long, Savannah has married her Mr. Right, but finds out the hard way that her husband may not be who she thinks he is. Gloria is married to Marvin, but must adjust everything she’s known for the last 15 years when a tragedy strikes.
After her kids leave for college, Bernadine finds herself alone, fighting new and old demons from her past, leaving her bitter.

Let me start off by saying that Terry McMillan is one of my favorite authors, so I was excited to read this book. Once I checked out the copy that was reserved at the library for me, I  hopped on Facebook and posted on my wall that I was so happy to have the book and then hurried home to crack it open!

Unfortunately that’s where the excitement ended for me. 
After the first few chapters I was on the phone calling my mother complaining about how McMillan chose to make one of the main characters deal with a traumatic, life shattering event before we even got to witness the good times in her life.

This was a frustrating read for me for a few different reasons. The story was all over the place with no central focus on the issues each character was dealing with. In the parts about Bernadine’s struggle, the author goes from the relationship she has with her adult daughter,  to the entire process of her making a pot of gumbo and what each person thinks about the meal. The transitions were not smooth.

Robin experiments with internet dating and the author adds fictional responses from the guys who view her profile to show the type of undesireable men online. These details were simply not needed and had me wondering if they were used as page fillers in the novel.

The dialogue between the ladies was as real and hilarious as they were in the first novel, but it too seemed to run on and on with no purpose. I never thought I would find myself bored reading a Terry McMillan book, but I must admit that I lost focus while reading a few different times.

Maybe the problem was that the author waited too long to re-introduce the characters to us. Fifteen years is a long time and I found myself wanting to know what was up with the ladies a few years back. I would’ve loved to check in on Robin right after she had Sparrow, or witness the bliss Gloria and Marvin shared early on in their relationship, not 15 years after their nuptials.

Nothing is ever all bad, so I will say that that there were a few parts of the book that I enjoyed, and if you follow Terry McMillan on Twitter, you will see the same traces of humor that she shares daily in her tweets, throughout the book.

Overall it was nice to catch up with the ladies, but I would have loved for the reunion with them to be a few years sooner and with more character development. Perhaps there should have been a a book titled Glad To Be Content in between Waiting To Exhale and Getting To Happy.
– Malca W.

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One response to “Book Review: Getting to Happy

  1. Yeah, when I read a few of the excerpts for this book, I decided against it. This isn’t really a surprise since I’ve given up on Terry since How Stella Got Her Groove Back. I just started to feel like I must not be her target audience. I liked the WTE movie, but the book…blah…and I know I’m one of the few on this.

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