Getting to Happy by Terry McMillan

You may remember the popular novel Waiting to Exhale.  Or maybe you saw the movie. Now, fifteen years after the events of that novel, McMillan’s new book Getting to Happy revisits its four major characters – Savannah, Robin, Bernadine, and Gloria – who are now well into middle age.

As the book opens, Savannah declines a trip to Las Vegas with her husband Isaac.  Despite marriage counseling, the spark has gone out of her marriage, and attending another trade show with him doesn’t sound like fun.  Then her computer screen turns black, and when she goes to Isaac’s office to use his computer, shocking images appear on the screen.

Robin’s teenage daughter is pressuring her to try online dating.

Bernadine is peacefully lying in bed watching television when she receives an amazing phone call, and life as she knows it comes to an abrupt end.

Gloria is looking forward to the evening, when she and her husband Marvin will celebrate their fourteenth anniversary.  As she waits for his return home, some policemen arrive at her home, and she knows that something is terribly wrong.

As the fast-paced plot progresses, the four friends face many challenges – divorce, death of a loved one, job problems, health and addiction issues – but in the end, they are dancing together, “saying and shimmying to this brand-new beat,” and looking to the future with confidence.

McMillan knows how to get her reader involved with her characters!  While it’s best to read the first novel before beginning this one, you’ll be able to move quickly into the characters’ lives, even if you didn’t read the earlier book.

(Helen Snow, Information Services)

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