- Faith & Family
“Getting to Happy” catches us up with the lives of Bernadine, Savannah, Gloria and Robin, four friends who still live in Phoenix but are now 15 years older and presumably wiser. But as readers will soon discover in this sequel to the Terry McMillan’s #1 New York Times bestselling novel, “Waiting to Exhale,” the four gal-pals find themselves struggling achieve personal contentment, professional success and — as was the case in the author’s earlier thriller —the love of a good man.
And while literary critics have given mixed reviews of McMillan’s latest work, this writer finds it be entertaining, refreshing and a real eye opener as it relates to the things that Black women in America face each day – negotiating their way in a society where establishing a healthy balance between love and success is often a tenuous if not impossible task.
It is indeed unfortunate that Whitney Houston has left this world and will be unable to play the role of Savannah for which she won critical acclaim, but devoted fans will be pleased to hear that “Getting to Happy” has already been optioned by the same team that made “Waiting to Exhale” a hit on the big screen in 1995.
No one, particularly those in the publishing world, could have predicted the success that McMillan would achieve, taking the world by storm as Black women embraced and related to the themes presented in “Waiting to Exhale.” And while personal tragedy has struck again and again, even pushing the author into a period of deep depression, she has managed to overcome loss and sadness. Now she is inspiring a new generation of readers —young Black women in particular. McMillan was in town last Saturday for a luncheon sponsored by the Greater Miami Chapter of The Links, Inc. and spoke with The Miami Times about her newest novel and her life.
“I never intended to write a sequel for any of my books — I was divorced in 2005 or ‘06, who knows, and it took me time to get over the hump,” she said. “I wasn’t mad at him for being gay — it was never that — I was more angry at the deception . . . It was in my heart to forgive him. Then I ended up running into a lot of women who were in their 40s or 50s who had been betrayed and were unhappy — many had no husband and no children. I began to wonder where we as women could go to get to happy.”
“Young women need to cut themselves a little slack. Pick your battles and remember that a man does not complete you. The man or woman, whichever you like, should just be an addition to your joy — not your actual joy. At this point in our lives we should be chasing the waters and living our life like it’s a gift — you just have to unwrap it.”
Miami Times high school student intern Janiah Adams contributed to this piece.
By D. Kevin McNeir