by Terry McMillan
Publication Date: September 7, 2010
I am not a fan of sequels. I rarely like them as movies. I definitely don’t like them as books. I wasn’t always this way. Years ago, if I really enjoyed a book, I wanted it to go on forever and ever. Well written characters make you feel that you want to know everything that happens in their lives until they all die. Also, there was a time when there wasn’t nearly as much fiction by African-American authors being published, so when I got my hands on one and found characters that I knew and could relate to, I just didn’t want to let go.
Nowadays, of course, the publishing field has opened up quite a bit and there is lots of fiction out there that I am eager to get my hands on. Because of that, it has been easier to be done with a book when I’m finished with it, appreciate it for what it is and move on. I don’t need to obsess over what happened next. Waiting to Exhale was published during my “need for a sequel” phase, but because Ms. McMillan did such a great job creating well-rounded characters with rich experiences, that I never wondered what happened to Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria.
Getting to Happy, picks up 15 years later from where Exhale left off. The four women are still very close friends, but life has sometimes gotten in the way of them connecting as often as they would like. They have settled (sometimes literally) into marriages, careers, and the lives of their children, but they are still the funny, sarcastic and strong women that you know and love. I don’t want to give any specific plot points away, because I think this book should be enjoyed with no preconcieved ideas.
What I Liked: Having read Exhale at least 3 times, I felt like I re-connected with the characters almost immediately, as they still have the same voices. The issues that those of us of a certain age (40’s, 50’s) are explored really quite well and you don’t feel hit over the head with messages about getting older. There are some shocking revelations made about people you met in the first book that surprised me and I was happy about it.
What I Disliked: There was one relationship that happened a little to easy for my taste, but I also know that we aren’t teenagers anymore and the courting process is much quicker at our age! We don’t have a lot of time for chit-chat and games. At this point we know what we like and what we’ll put up with. 🙂 (Am I getting too personal, here? LOL)
Sidenote #1: While reading this book, the voices that I heard were the voices of the actresses who appeared in the movie version of Exhale. Gloria was Loretta Devine. Bernadine was Angela Bassett. Robin was Lela Rochon. Savannah was….not Whitney Houston. For some reason that voice was Terry McMillan herself. Not sure why.
Sidenote #2: Loretta Devine is a customer at my job when she is in town (usually on a Tyler Perry project) and she is as nice and delightful as you would imagine her to be. I can’t say the same for some of the other actresses that came through while they were here filming for colored girls…