Please to note there will be some spoilers going on so skip this post if you haven’t read the book.
Now, I was thrilled when I found out Terry McMillan had a new book, Getting To Happy, coming out. The fact that it was a Waiting to Exhale made me give a half ‘squee.’ That book came out when I was a young woman knowing nothing about the things I swore I knew everything about and the movie and its soundtrack were permanent fixtures in my home. However, as I revisited Savannah, Robin, Gloria and Bernadine I found myself hoping for more and settling for this book.
It’s fifteen years later and we find our fab four disconnected (as life is wont to do) and not as close but each are involved in her own type of trouble. Savannah (whom I really don’t remember being such a bitch) discovers that she is bored of her husband and subsequently that he has an porn addiction. She decided to divorce after 11 years and now finds herself single at the age of 51. Bernadine has begun popping pills to dull the pain caused by her second husband who has been practicing bigamy (which pisses me off because Bernie was adamant about not taking pills after John left her in the first book). Robin has turned to the Internet and retail therapy as she once again searches for love and Gloria has the perfect marriage although sadly her husband is gunned down when caught if the middle of gun fire which brings the women closer together.
In Exhale, I really don’t remember Savannah being a know it all pain in the ass. Robin did have issue with money (Student Loan was always trying to track her down), Gloria ate away her feelings and Bernadine was broke but not broken by the loss of her marriage. While I didn’t expect, and am certainly glad, that TM didn’t include her own personal life as material it seems she used some of the anger at men to create the men that were Bernadine’s and Savannah’s husbands.
Perhaps I should have re-read Exhale before diving into Happy; I felt so disconnected from the characters, only slightly caring what their fate would be. As each of their stories unfolded all I found myself doing was hoping to get to the next chapter so that something could happen. They chapters moved from first person to third as she told their stories which was not distracting but seemed to go along with the disconnected feeling of the book. The men were not quite the secondary characters they were in Exhale but it was clearly all about the women.
The book will resonate with those of us creeping towards Middle Age (shiver) however Happy only left me mildly glad.