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Getting to Happy Hardcover – September 7, 2010

Book 2 of 2 in the Waiting to Exhale Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fifteen years after Waiting to Exhale, McMillan brings back Savannah, Gloria, Bernadine, and Robin--now in their 50s--for a disappointing and uninspired outing. As the story opens, Gloria is very happy, Savannah believes she might be happy, Bernadine is fighting addiction and losing ground, and single mother Robin is trying to resign herself to being alone while things at her job begin to unravel. Within the first few chapters, Gloria and Savannah are struck by disaster, and things go rapidly downhill from there for everyone. Most of the misery has to do with men who lie, steal, cheat, or disappear, or with adult children who face similar problems. Unfortunately, the beloved cast isn't given a story worthy of them; instead, this reunion reads like a catalogue of personal catastrophes annotated with very long, rambling discussions, with more emphasis on simple drama than character.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

For McMillan fans (and they are legion, given the immense popularity of her novels and film adaptations), the publication of Getting to Happy will be welcome news. The novel is full of the juicy romantic entanglements, family dysfunction, and high drama that readers have come to anticipate. The novel is not without its shortcomings; most critics noted the occasional clunky writing and predictable plot line. After all, McMillan's characters are the same as before--older and heavier, perhaps, but not necessarily happier or wiser. Still, the novel is entertaining, escapist fare, and "Getting to Happy is pretty much required reading for anyone who cared about Waiting to Exhale" (Miami Herald).

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Product Details

  • Series: Getting to Happy The sequel to WAITING TO EXHALE (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022045
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (325 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Terry McMillan fell in love with books as a teenager while working at the local library. She studied journalism at UC Berkeley and screenwriting at Columbia before making her fiction debut with Mama, which one both the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction Award and the American Book Award. She lives in Northern California.

Customer Reviews

Getting to Happy was a disappointment from beginning to end.
Characters, story lines, each chapter has rushed and shallow development.
Ms. Terry McMillan has done a great job on writing this book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Revisiting the ladies from Waiting to Exhale after fifteen years, McMillan explores the necessity of turning lemons into lemonade. Much has changed in the lives of the four Phoenix friends, Robin, Savannah, Gloria and Bernadine, marriages and romances run aground, careers in limbo, children grown and on their own. Although the women are as close as ever, each freely acknowledges that life has intruded, their meetings less frequent, the ups and downs of daily demands taking a toll. Now each of the friends is faced with a problem, some more devastating than others, challenged to reinvent themselves to survive the coming years. It is how these four work through their issues that so defines this particular group of friends, the energy, humor, loyalty and courage that it takes to face the world at fifty, with or without a man.

One by one, we are reintroduced to these fabulous, flawed creatures, from the still-beautiful but unattached Robin to the frustrated Savannah to a now bitter Bernadine and the ever-lovable Gloria. While near-grown children inspire both pride and awe, the demands of extended family and ex-husbands can get on anyone's last nerve. McMillan is on intimate terms with these characters, their fears, frustrations and reactions to the inevitable challenges they face. With her customary compassion for the plight of these larger-than-life women, married or single, this is a story that rings with authenticity. Life comes in all sizes and shapes, delivering joy and sorrow with equal abandon and these friends are spared none of the experiences that come with time. Once again, it is their love for one another that proves the most healing balm in any situation.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Ms PT on September 20, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was soooo looking forward to reading this book, but was soooo disappointed. I thought my 4 favorite characters were finally going to be "happy" and instead the book was about more doom and gloom for them all. Most important, the doom and gloom wasn't even drama that captured my interest. I was hoping that they all would have "grown" from the first book and it seemed to me they didn't. The one good thing about the book was that McMillan stayed true to the personalities of the characters from the first book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Obsidian Blue on September 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so excited to see that a sequel to Waiting to Exhale was out. One of my friends from book club wanted to get together and read Waiting to Exhale and now Getting to Happy to compare them and discuss if we liked the sequel. I thought to myself, what a fun idea, cannot wait!

I mean, how many of us after seeing the movie and reading the book wanted to know how it all turned out for these four women. I like to think of them as the Original Fab Four (not the Sex and the City Girls) and watching them love each other and be there for each other made me happy inside.

For me I imagined that Savannah finally found her Mister Right, that she stopped putting herself last when it came to her family and her relationships and enjoyed living in Phoenix.

Bernadine and James were going to be happy forever, because no man who met her and wooed her like he did could be bad and that she would finally open up her own business like she wanted and was finally over what her ex-husband John did to her.

Gloria and Marvin were going to be happy forever.

Robin for all her immaturity would grow up and raise her unborn daughter/son well with all of the women being there for her and helping her to get through it.

So after reading this novel my main feeling is one of disappointment. I didn't want to give this novel a one star review just because the story did not match my expectations. Sometimes an author can write a novel and take it into a new and exciting direction. However, this novel I feel that Terry McMillan still had some "personal issues she was going through" and that bled into this work.

McMillan in essence had 15 years go by and put all of these characters in the exact same place they were at during the beginning of Waiting to Exhale.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By ishism on September 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm going to keep this short and will try not to ruin the story for those who have not read this book.

I watched Waiting to Exhale in movie theaters several years before I ever read the book. By then I had read several other books by her as well. From the perspective of a writer, I loved how she constructed sentences and gradually revealed what made her characters tick. Her prose was funny, smart and sassy. Sadly, this book falls way short. Although Terry hasn't lost her touch with the dialogue, the story was often boring.

Because everyone was going through some kind of crisis, none of the problems got the treatment/resolution they deserved. It felt rushed and haphazard.

This book will no doubt be made into a movie. I might check it out on DVD.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Trilla Pando on September 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
They say that getting there is half the fun. Savannah, Bernadine, Robin, and Gloria, the joint protagonists of this book might not agree. There are some fun times, yes, but these friends are finding rough going as each pursues her own quest. These women first appeared fifteen years ago in Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale. Now still friends, each has in a piece of fictional serendipity reached a turning point in her life--a time for new beginning and new focus while bringing along all the paraphernalia of the past.
When I first met these four in Exhale, I related to them all. I felt almost as if I were a fifth, not very talkative, member of the group, Therefore, I approached this book with the same apprehension I felt before a class reunion. Would I remember them? Would I still be interested? Would I even care?
Yes, to all. McMillan does a fine job in the first four chapters of bringing the forgetful, or even the new, reader up to speed on who these women are, what lurks around in their pasts, and what is going on in their 2005 lives, when the story takes place.
Plenty is going on. Savannah and Gloria both find themselves suddenly and unwantedly single, Robin has her hands full with daughter Sparrow's escapades, while Bernadette is overcoming or not overcoming a devastating betrayal from years before. She can't let it go. As each woman struggles with her own trauma the friendships between them and the spirit of the group also undergo strains and testing.
They all survive, or, at least it looks like they will. The resolutions are not always the ones dreamed of or wished for. But that's life--in reality and fiction. Each, if not arriving at "happy" is still on the road and a little farther down it.
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