- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (September 17, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670785695
- ISBN-13: 978-0670785698
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,249 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #695,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Who Asked You? Hardcover – September 17, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Three generations take a long hard look at each other—and, finding lots not to like, try to outrun, ignore, or beat the demons pulling them together in this well-crafted story of acceptance, forgiveness, and hope. McMillan (Waiting to Exhale) deftly weaves her tale of a black Los Angeles family's disharmony around the narratives of bickering sisters Betty Jean, Arlene, and Venetia as they watch their kids stumble into adulthood. BJ's drug-addled daughter, Trinetta—who lost custody of her baby girl—dumps two sons on her; meanwhile BJ's youngest son, Dexter, does prison time for a crime he won't admit to, and her eldest, Quentin, searches for himself. Arlene, a single mom who has a master's in psychology and harbors a painful secret, struggles with over-protecting her long-closeted gay son, Omar. And wealthy, God-fearing Venetia can't see what's plain to her spoiled kids and husband: that she's been ignoring her own needs and her crumbling marriage. Trinetta's strong-hearted kids lead the family back to each other—but McMillan's story belongs to the middle-aged steel magnolias who value loyalty above all. I have prayed for all of us to come to our senses even though I know it's an ongoing process, Venetia says. We're not getting any younger and family is family. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency. (Sept. 17)
Transplanted from New Orleans in her youth, Betty Jean (BJ) is now a middle-aged, well-established Angeleno, living in a racially diverse working-class neighborhood with her share of heartaches and hardships. She works for room service at a hotel and cares for her husband, a former UPS driver, as he succumbs to Alzheimer’s. Her oldest son, a doctor, maintains his distance from “the hood,” which has taken its toll on another son (incarcerated) and a daughter (drug-addicted). BJ is now stuck raising her daughter’s two sons amid worries about crumbling schools and neighborhood drug-dealing and gangbanging. BJ’s two sisters, Arlene and Venetia, are much better off economically but have their own marital and childrearing challenges. Tammy, BJ’s best friend and longtime neighbor (the last remaining white person on the block), hangs in there for her friend, although she has plenty of problems of her own. Told from the perspectives of several of the characters, the novel offers an array of personalities and everyday life challenges within a story of close friends, family, and neighbors as they grow and change over many years. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The eighth novel from the best-selling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back will be supported by a major marketing campaign and a 15-city author tour. --Vanessa Bush
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Top customer reviews
I'm back...a lil late but here. Wow! An incredibly true and uplifting story. The twists, turns, family interruptions of all sorts, had me thinking how can this woman make it through another page...? This book is one we need to pass on to a family member or friend. It never loses it momentum and that credit goes to the author. In the end, I was happy for every character because they all deserved some sort of happy! Thank you Ms.Terry!👍🏾
So... of course many may wonder who asked me my opinion on this book. I answer that it's what I do. It's what many people do. We offer unsolicited advice on subjects we may or may not know anything about. Betty Jean has a lot of people handing out advice all the while hiding their own issues or refusing the unsolicited advice that is being given back to them. You know that whole no give-sies back-sies? That is this family.
Who Asked You? opens with the voice of Betty Jean who is the primary character in McMillan's latest. She's the quinessential matriarch who's balancing a life of chaos while placing her own needs in the background. She's the mother of a chiropractor (Quinten) who's just too good for his "ghetto" family, a gorgeous drug-addicted daughter (Trinetta) who abandoned her two sons, and an incarcerated angry black man (Dexter) who's "innocent". To place the icing on the cake, Betty Jean's husband is suffering from Alzheimer's.
Betty Jean is the first voice to narrate Who Asked You but she isn't the only one. McMillan introduces other voices such as Tammy (the neighbor), Arlene (bitchy sister), Venetia (Bible toter), and others who are essential to Betty Jean's world. Don't get confused by all the characters because McMillan does a superb job at keeping their voices diffrent and honest. Sure it doesn't hurt that the chapters are named for them. The two grandsons Luther and Ricky are by far the most adorable voices in the novel as well as the source of my laughter and tears.
Who Asked You? is an exploration of family and the issues that bind them together. There are actually a lot of themes that are relatable in this novel to any family regardless of their background. The idea of having second chances, marital strifes, loss, feelings of guilt, social issues, and ultimately redemption. The ending is so inspiring and makes the journey with these characters worth every minute. And what well developed characters they are.
It's often difficult reading a novel with many characters and connecting with them all. Even the ones who leave an initial bad taste in your mouth somehow find a way to break through. There is flaw after flaw in each person introduced but the chapters in they narrate add as a justification for their actions. One chapter will leave a character seeing a situation a diffrent way than the other. This transition is awesome and adds something fresh to this authors' creativity. McMillan allows her characters room for growth and we readers get to see that. I love that.
Terry McMillan manages to pack emotion after emotion into a novel that is hard to put down. I was on an emotional rollercoaster with this novel. There are also moments of classic witt that will have readers chuckling to themselves. Sayings such as what color does stupid come in. And nuggets of inspiration such as regret being a wasted emotion. I wish I could quote from this but since it is an ARC, I'll keep my highlighted passages to myself.
Who Asked You? is worth a read. I've given it 5-stars because I couldn't put it down. There's feellings of happiness, sadness, anger, and eventually calm to experience with this title. I recommend this title to anyone who's looking for a diffrent sort of novel about family that is well-written and relevant on so many topics. McMillan's fans will love this latest addition to her list of works.
Due to the "initial" repetition of the same "scene" being told from different vantage points, AND an unnecessary sexual encounter in the beginning; if this book had not been assigned, I'm afraid that I would have put it down somewhere around 20%, never to be picked up again.
Thankfully, I was "forced" to continue reading and the book began to mold, take shape, and capture my attention with its colorful prose and character development somewhere around 45%
This is a book (with numerous characters) about family and friendships - you will laugh sympathize, and empathize with the characters; but mainly this book will make you stop and think about relationships between women, particularly sisters. You may even relate one or more of the characters to members of your own family.
Ms. McMillian is known for having a strong female heroine, and this offering is no different.
I enjoyed the flow and the "real life" events interweaved in the timelines; Ms. McMillian knew when to slow and speed up the tempo as if the prose were part of a musical composition.
When reading this book, be patient and not easily offended (after all...it's literature)- it will grow on you, and you will appreciate and enjoy the ending.
Most recent customer reviews
Some chapters I skimmed through but overall the book kept my attention, sometimes hard to stop...Read more