Happy with Getting to Happy
When I saw that Terry McMillan's book Getting to Happy was out, I admit that I jumped at the chance to read it. I read Waiting to Exhale years and years ago -- too many years & years ago, actually and liked it. This sequel made me want to go reread it but I missed when Getting to Happy came out last year, and I was delighted to see that she'd returned to Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria and Robin.
And I loved it.
As much as I remember enjoying Waiting to Exhale, the story didn't really hit home the way the sequel just did for me. In Getting to Happy, the ladies are older and wiser, they're middle-aged instead of at the end of their young-womanhood, and oh man, did some of their situations hit close to home!
A few of them have gone through/are going through divorces, their kids are (mostly) grown and they're beginning to feel their own mortality, coming to the realization that now is the time to find a way to live the life they want. For some of them it's driven home by tragedy or another loss, and for some of them, it's more that they realize they're worth more than they have been giving themselves credit for. Oddly, I did not feel especially connected to any single character -- I think because I was identifying so much with each of them in turn. Certain aspects of each woman's story rang so true to me as I read, that I found myself nodding along -- yes, life feels just like that, sometimes.
I don't know that I even have much to say about the book that isn't a bit gushy. If I had to find something I didn't like, I'd say that a couple of times, when the POV character changed at the beginning of a new chapter, it took me a few sentences longer than I wanted it to, to figure out who was talking now. But that's a pretty minor technical gripe, given how much I enjoyed the book.
And I did enjoy it all the way through. I got drawn back into everyone's story quicker than I feared, given how long it's been since I read Waiting to Exhale. In fact, I kept putting off housekeeping chores that I really wanted to get finished in order to keep reading, I stayed up late (something I almost never do) to read it, and I even carried it from room to room (another thing I try hard not to do). I was completely hooked.
I remembered why I loved these characters so much. They're flawed -- oh, are a couple of them ever flawed! -- but so human, and so intrinsically good that I'm rooting for them all the way. And the way they help each other get through the bad times and celebrate the good has me jealous of people who have that sort of a super-supportive group of friends around.
I guess the best praise I can offer is that I sincerely hope we don't have to wait another fifteen years to hear more of their stories, because rereading Waiting to Exhale is only going to take me into next week...