Getting to Happy: Not the Zoo Keeper Anymore! [SPOILERS]
So remember at the end of Waiting to Exhale when we were all so happy Gloria had found sweet Marvin, Robin decided to have Russell’s baby even though he was bad news, Bernie spent that romantic, fully-clothed night at the hotel with James (after she threw all John’s stuff in his car and lit it to high heaven), and Savannah had finally stopped waiting on Kenneth to leave his wife because she didn’t need a man? Well, in Getting to Happy, the sequel to Waiting to Exhale , Terry McMillan turns all those happy endings on their heads.
Marvin dies in a drive-by, Russell goes to jail (but ends up actually being a decent father), James is a two-timing bigamist, and Savannah finds out her husband, Isaac, of fifteen years is a porn-addict who has been cheating on her. So our group of friends has a whole new set of challenges to move through together. The storyline is good. Each of the women face new setbacks and challenges in their lives, and just as with Waiting to Exhale, they come out triumphant in the end.
Some readers say the book is boring. It lacks a certain pizzazz, that thing that makes you want to keep turning the pages (all 424 of them) again and again. I found myself sliding into that mindset at first. It wasn’t so much boring as it was predictable. However, to me it was predictable because McMillan has done such a good job engraving these four characters into our minds. We can actually imagine we know them and what their lives are like. So I settled into this book just the way I think McMillan wanted me to. Slow and comfortably, like a good friendship.
And yes, while it’s true I found some of the story predictable, there is one scene that stood out so much it nearly brought me to tears. After Gloria’s husband, Marvin, has been murdered, the girls come over to check on her. They find her sitting in the living room fully-clothed with her night robe on staring blankly at the walls. All three of them escort her to the bedroom, undress her, bathe her, and put her in bed without saying a single word. It was a very touching moment where McMillan really shows us the bond between these four friends. I was moved.
The thing that made me most excited about this book is that Michael makes an appearance toward the end. Yes. Michael. As in SAY MY NAME—LOUDER—SCREAM IT, Michael. You’ll be happy to know he’s dropped some pounds, he’s rolling in the dough, and Robin seems to be ready for him now that he’s a hunk. Good for her.
This book is a great beach read. And I’m happy that when I’m on vacation this summer with my best friend from high school, I’ll be able to fill her in on what our four girlfriends from Phoenix have been doing the last fifteen years.