Getting To Happy: Don't Become Complacent

BlogHer Review

It took a little too long, but eventually Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria showed me how they were Getting to Happy in this sequel by Terry McMillan. Having heard about (but not having read) the first book could have put me at a disadvantage but McMillan did a nice job of filling in her characters’ back-stories so that I understood their history enough to catch up with them in this book.

The friendship through thick and thin among these four women is inspiring and a testament to the strength of female friendships in general, which to me is a better take-away from this book than the individual stories of the women. The way their children and significant others understood the importance of their friendship makes me want that for myself, too. Certainly I hope that my friends and I will be as enduring and loyal as these ladies have been toward one another.

Unfortunately, most of these women have made choices that result in kind of crummy lives. Gloria is the lone exception -– she has a happy marriage that none of the others have and a job she truly adores -- yet bad luck spins her life into turmoil for a while before she can right herself. Robin is apparently the only one among them who values a healthy lifestyle, but she’s willing to slave away in a job she merely tolerates and has resigned herself to a life without love. Savannah and Bernadine make choices that irritate the heck out of me because they seem content to let their lives happen to them instead of taking charge of the life they have. Maybe this is what fifty will look like when I’m in it, but as a thirty-something I sure hope it doesn’t.

In some ways, this book is a warning about what can happen when we become complacent in our lives. These women have done a lot of settling in their lives and it takes some serious wake-up calls for them to understand there’s much more living ahead of them. Lucky for them, they have each other to lean upon during the difficult times.

I was, perhaps, expecting more of a feel good book than McMillan delivered. Maybe that is just not her style and, in all honesty, I should have inferred that from the title. It’s probably my fault for mentally categorizing it as a “beach read” for my vacation. McMillan provided witty banter and some moments of great clarity for her characters, but this book failed to strike a chord in me. I will pass this book along, but more as a “something to read” instead of a “something you have to read.”

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