Friday, March 18, 2011
Getting To Happy: A Terry McMillan Novel
I am a bad constant reader. Somehow I managed to miss the release of the new Terry McMillan novel. Not only that but the missed novel was a sequel to my favorite book Waiting to Exhale.
A lot of readers complained about this book, they describe it like a literary snuff film, depressing being the main words. Yes, there are dark moments but there are also light ones as well. McMillan has always had the gift of maintaining a balance between the two.
The books picks up fifteen years after Waiting and things have definitely changed for four main characters. Bernadette is a bitter divorce', Gloria is a recent widow, Savannah is trapped in a boring marriage, and Robin is still searching for Mr. Right in the Internet age.
A lot of reviewers complained about the changes in this novel. They didn't want to see their favorite characters die or end up with a less than happy ending. But, that's the point of a sequel, if you don't want the story to change, then don't read it.
Getting to Happy provides a wonderful blend of new and old characters, a realistic evolution to the previous installment and avoids the tacked on happy ending that plague so many novels.
What really impressed me about the novels was the author's approach to the character of John, Bernie's unfaithful hubby. John evolves from the "bad guy" to a likable, if flawed character without whitewashing (no pun intended) his past behavior. Robin's "lying sneaking whorish Pisces" boyfriend Russell receives a similar treatment, also without ignoring the past. Robin's storyline is my particular favorite as she finally gets the happily ever after that she so truly deserved.
The only storyline that didn't ring true was Gloria's daughter-in-law, Nickida. I understand that the book needed an antagonist but all her scrapes and troubles came off as Soap Operish and one dimensional. It could have trimmed down considerably.
Overall, if you enjoyed Waiting to Exhale or McMillan's work in general, then you'll enjoy this one. As long as you're an adventurous reader unafraid of change, that is.