Thursday, October 10, 2013

[Book Review] Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan

Fiction/African American

Andrea reviews WHO ASKED YOU? by Terry McMillan (Viking, 2013)

Based around Betty Jean (BJ) and Tammy, neighbors in the self-proclaimed Los Angeles ghetto, these women have seen a lot of heartbreak and hatred in their lives but their respective homes are filled with love and warmth.

Betty Jean, a hard-working room service clerk, is doing all she can to hold herself together until retirement. Her “much-older” husband, Lee David, has retired and homebound with Alzheimer’s disease. Betty Jean doesn’t like leaving him alone with a home healthcare nurse, but what choice does she really have if she wants to have any financial stability in the future? Betty Jean will also be the first to tell you she wasn’t the best of mothers to her three kids, but she wasn’t the worst, either.

Tammy, blonde with blue eyes, has always been shunned by other neighbors for marrying a black man. She stands by her decision by stating, “Love isn’t a color; it’s a verb!” Although her adult children, Max and Montana, have not always made the smartest decisions in life, Tammy is still fiercely protective of them.

There is a common thread in this newest novel by Terry McMillan, who also wrote Waiting to Exhale and How Stella got her Groove Back. The theme is redemption. Both BJ and Tammy know they didn’t make good choices as mothers or even wives, but both women are willing to sacrifice for their respective grandchildren.

No matter where the geographical location of a house is, as long as there is love, the house becomes a home.

Andrea King, Poplar White Station

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