December 18, 2013

Book Review: Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan

Who Asked You?

Author: Terry McMillan
Genre: Women's Fiction/Chick Lit
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Viking
Source: Review copy from publisher


Family ties are tested and transformed in the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author of Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back

With her wise, wry, and poignant novels of families and friendships—Waiting to Exhale, Getting to Happy, and A Day Late and a Dollar Short among them—Terry McMillan has touched millions of readers. Now, in her eighth novel, McMillan gives exuberant voice to characters who reveal how we live now—at least as lived in a racially diverse Los Angeles neighborhood.

Kaleidoscopic, fast-paced, and filled with McMillan’s inimitable humor, Who Asked You? opens as Trinetta leaves her two young sons with her mother, Betty Jean, and promptly disappears. BJ, a trademark McMillan heroine, already has her hands full dealing with her other adult children, two opinionated sisters, an ill husband, and her own postponed dreams—all while holding down a job delivering room service at a hotel. Her son Dexter is about to be paroled from prison; Quentin, the family success, can’t be bothered to lend a hand; and taking care of two lively grandsons is the last thing BJ thinks she needs. The drama unfolds through the perspectives of a rotating cast of characters, pitch-perfect, each playing a part, and full of surprises.

Who Asked You? casts an intimate look at the burdens and blessings of family and speaks to trusting your own judgment even when others don’t agree. McMillan’s signature voice and unforgettable characters bring universal issues to brilliant, vivid life.

Who Asked You? is a witty, fun, and intelligent women's fiction novel that follows Betty Jean, known as BJ, as her two grandsons are dropped at her house and left there by her daughter. BJ's life is already full of other problems - family, friends, forgotten dreams, and her job - taking care of two small kids is the last thing that she needs right now. But is what BJ thinks she needs and what really matters the same thing? Just what lengths will people go to for family?

This was my first novel by this author and I have to admit that I was blown away. Her writing is superb and proves her to be the powerhouse writer that she's known for. The story focuses on Betty Jean, an older woman who's struggling with life's problems - family, kids, friends, her job - when her daughter simply drops off her grandsons one day and then disappears. Throughout the novel, we get to see how this unexpected burden and problem is turned into a family blessing that nobody would have seen coming. The characters in the book are all incredibly well rounded with distinct personalities and flaws. They were all written in a way that it felt like I knew them personally by the time the novel was over. I really loved getting to know them all along with their histories, problems, and whatever issues were plaguing them. The writing was intelligent with lots of wit and humor and insight into family and believing in yourself. The story is full of vivid descriptions and details that had me feeling like I was experiencing the events in the book right along with the characters. Highly recommended for fans of women's fiction, chick lit, and those looking for a funny and honest look into family and life.

*A huge thanks to the awesome people at Viking for sending me a copy for review!*

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