Who Asked You by Terry McMillan

Who Asked YouWho Asked You is the latest novel by bestselling author McMillan.  The setting is the interracial neighborhood in California where Betty Jean, often called BJ, lives.  She is a middle-aged African-American woman who provides room service in a hotel.  Being on her feet eight hours a day is hard for her, finances are a problem, her husband has Alzheimer’s, one of her sons is in jail, her financially successful son has been through one marriage after another and rarely calls her, and her daughter is a drug user with two young sons.  Suddenly, BJ faces a new challenge.  Her daughter disappears, leaving BJ with the heavy responsibility of caring for the children.  While BJ’s two sisters offer her only criticism and unwanted advice, she does receive comfort from her neighbor and closest friend, a white woman in an interracial marriage.

As different narrators share their perspectives, readers get a complete picture of their varying points of view.  The main themes are the importance of family, even though these relationships are far from perfect, and the need for people to attempt to understand one another without being judgmental.

(Helen Snow, retired from Information Services)

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