Waiting to exhale

by Terry McMillan

Paper Book, 1992




New York, NY : Viking, [1992]


The critically acclaimed novel about four women who learn how to carry on while leaning on each other from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and I Almost Forgot About You. When the men in their lives prove less than reliable, Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria, and Robin find new strength through a rare and enlightening friendship as they struggle to regain stability and an identity they don't have to share with anyone. Because for the first time in a long time, their dreams are finally off hold... "Hilarious, irreverent...Reading Waiting to Exhale is like being in the company of a great friend...thought-provoking, thoroughly entertaining, and very, very comforting."--Susan Isaacs, The New York Times Book Review… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
This is the ultimate chick lit story. Four women, all in their mid to late 30s, all searching for something have a friendship in Phoenix, Arizona. It's that friendship that gets them through all circumstances they deal with. Okay, I'm being coy. The circumstances mostly involve men. They all want a
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man to call their own. That's the one thing they all have in common (besides age and race). Sex and the relentless chase. They all want to be in a relationship solid enough to breathe easy in. Savannah is independent and a little jaded by men. She definitely reminded me of someone I know. Bernadine (Bernie) has been left by her husband for a younger woman, a white woman. Speaking of the movie, she has the scene we all can't forget: torching her husband's belongings in the back seat of his expensive vehicle, then selling everything else for a dollar at a tag sale. Robin's story is told from her perspective. She is a little naive when it comes to men. She believes in the power of astrological signs and smooth lines. Gloria is my favorite. Single handedly raising her teenager son, the father of her child has just told her he is gay.
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LibraryThing member janiereader
I decided to reread this book since the sequel was due out in October 2010. I picked up a copy of the CD at the library and gave it a listen. I couldn't really remember the book but knew that I did enjoy Terry MicMillan, she's actually one of my favorite authors. I was a bit surprised at the
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content. Though I am not a prude, I felt a bit like I was listening to "lady porn" as I drove down the road. I made sure my windows were shut at stop lights not really wanting to get looks as some white girl listening to someone rail on about the problems of black men! Though all in all I did enjoy it, despite the "movie of the week" type feel I got. I will definitely listen to the sequel, Waiting for Happy.
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LibraryThing member RachelPenso
This was the perfect book to read after the last one that was so depressing. A book about friendships between women and relationships with men. I always enjoy books that feature close friendships between women. They remind me to be eternally grateful that I can experience the same thing.
LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This is the tale of four black women who are friends in early 1990s Phoenix, Arizona. I can't say I found any of the woman all that likable; they're so whiny and man-hungry. We first meet Savannah, never married and without children at thirty-six. She's affluent, doing well in her career in public
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relations, but tired of being single and of the faults of "buppie" (young black urban professional) males. She tells us, "I worry about if and when I'll ever find the right man, if I'll ever be able to exhale." Her friend from college Bernadine is being divorced by her husband who has insulted her by leaving her for a "white woman." Because, she imagines, he needs a white woman to treat him like a king. (Frankly, the racism of these characters was a major turn off for me.) Gloria, a working mother, is using food to fill up the emptiness inside, while Robin uses sex. I do like the sisterly solidarity between the four, but for me the plot is creaky, their voices too similar, this doesn't strike me as all that well-written and all the male bashing got old as the women move from one jerk to another.
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LibraryThing member thekoolaidmom
It's been a long time since I read this book, about 10-15 years ago when the movie came out. After reading it, though, I remember having to devour all McMillian's other books. This is a beautiful book of the strength a woman has and how wonderful it is to have girlfriends you can rely on to be
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there for ya, even IF there telling you something you DON'T want to hear.

I think i'll have to reread it, now.
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LibraryThing member ShavonJones
I think I read this book when I was in college. This story was an early introduction to women allowing themselves to be treated poorly by men. It was well written and entertaining. I guess it fit the market. There are precious few books that describe healthy romantic relationships within storylines
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that are interesting and realistic without being tragic. That is a void I hope to fill with my second novel, Working Girls: Love and Happiness. But McMillian's story is definately worth the read.
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LibraryThing member Marlene-NL
This book is a 3.5 and not a 3 but also definitely not a 4 stars book.
I liked the first half but during the second half I started to get bored. Not much happened and all the talk about men started to bore the hell out of me to be honest. I love books about women and their friendships so I thought
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this would be a great book for me which it was at first. I do remember I did watch the movie which i really liked and I think wad very different then this book.
Normally I hate reading a book once I've watched a movie but it was so long ago I hardly remembered the film.
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LibraryThing member AliceAnna
If I were a black woman, I would be incredibly offended to be depicted this way. Sex, men, sex, penises, sex, hair, sex, men and sex was all these women seemed to care about. On the other side of he spectrum, if I were a black man, I would blow a gasket. 99.9% of all black men are worthless
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bastards according to her. What a piece of crap.
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LibraryThing member pussreboots
The individual scenes are well written but together they add up to too much drama to be believable.
LibraryThing member deldevries
I understand why it is listed in the 100 new classics, but not to my taste.
LibraryThing member ozzie65
This book has been sitting on my shelf forever, waiting for me to exhale and pick it up. I read widely from multiple genres. I never limit myself and I am glad I don’t because you can miss out on discovering great stories or great authors.

The book is set in 1991. It is so strange to think that
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this book is 25 years old. It feels more recent but one thing that immediately stood out was the changes in the African American experience and story, even in that 25 years. Don’t be afraid to grab some of the wonderful African American authors out there. You might find you have more in common than not.

The four women in this story are all in their 30’s or a little older and all are experiencing what many people experience at that point in their lives. One is going through a divorce; one is trying to figure out why she doesn’t like the nice guys and is attracted to the bad boys; one is moving house, changing jobs and trying to find Mr. Right; and one is a single mother, business owner and activist looking ahead.

They are friends who support one another in their life changing moves and frankly, they were there talking about sex, shoes, hair, men and life way before Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and the other one from Sex and the City. It makes me wonder if this was the blueprint. Ms. McMillan, I think HBO owes you!

While there are certain things that speak directly to the African American experience, anyone who has had any of the life experiences above will be able to relate. If you grew up working class, these are the women who went to college and moved up the economic rung. You will either recognize them, or you are them. It is a great book about, by and for women but men could learn a thing or two by reading it.

I liked the book so much that I ended up staying up till 4:30 am so I could finish the book in one day. Damn your eyes, Terry McMillan!! The characters are great fun and although there are times you want to kick a characters shins ( I am looking at you Robin and Savannah!) they still keep you turning the page in hope.

I had a great time. The only thing that the author may regret in hindsight is describing one of the male characters as modeling himself on Dr. Cliff Huxtable. Who am I to judge? I loved Bill Cosby from I, Spy to The Cosby Show until he let me down. And now I want to watch the movie just to see Leon (who I adored in Oz) and Angela Bassett who I adore in everything. Now I have to go get the rest of the books written by Terry McMillan. And I would like to know how the author views life and love 25 years later. An author discussion Waiting to Exhale: 25 years later is dying to go on tour! I just know it.
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