McMillian Delivers the Happily! Ever! After!!! (And Yet I Was Bored to Tears)

BlogHer Review

Getting to Happy is a very apt title for this book. And exactly why I didn't like it. At all. It's taken me a long time to write this review since finishing the book because I keep thinking it's not nice to write a negative review but I just didn't like it. It wasn't awful but the thing that I loved about Waiting to Exhale -- the fallibility and human-ness of the 4 main characters -- is completely lacking in this sequel.

Bernadine, Robin, Gloria and Savannah are back and as usual they are thrown into a whirlwind of different life traumas ranging from divorce to drug abuse to Hurricane Katrina. Given this premise it could have been a very touching book about what midlife was like during the opening of this millennium. But the opportunity is wasted as the characters (and they are just characters in this book -- so far removed being multidimensional people that they're closer to robots than 4 feisty women) spend all their time spouting moralizing speeches.

It felt like one long lecture. And while I agreed very much with most of the morals they were espousing (don't be homophobic, don't use "bitch" when referring to other women, be honest, forgive others for hurting you) I got really really sick of being lectured about it. It got so that whenever Bernadine opened her mouth my eyes would glaze over and I'd skim the next 20 pages until she finished speechifying.

What I loved about the first book was that it felt like I was in this thing with them -- they didn't have the answers, I didn't have the answers but we were going to find out together. This time around they have ALL the answers and you will sit down and listen to them young lady or no dessert for you!

Maybe this is because I'm not in the same stage of life with them this time around. I only recently read Waiting to Exhale and so they were going through what I was going through. Now though I'm 20 years out from menopause, all my friends are just getting married for the first time not divorced like everyone in the book and (knock on wood) no one has had a spouse die. My kids are tiny, my house is tiny, my wallet is tiny -- none of which they suffer from anymore.

Perhaps this would resonate with me better in 20 years. In the meantime, if you are simply curious as to what happened to all the girls then you'll love this extended college reunion. The story is wrapped up neatly and nicely as everyone gets their Happily! Ever! After! that they earned, by golly. If you are looking for a book to make you think, laugh and empathize with - keep looking.


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