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Book Review: ‘Who Asked You?’ by Terry McMillan

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Who Asked You? Terry McMillan, Book Review, Author, African American LiteratureI must admit, I finally read my first Terry McMillan book a few years ago. I’d recently been wronged by a boy and decided to pick up Waiting to Exhale, and, man, did that book set me free. I really hadn’t even seen the movie all the way through, not sure what I was waiting for but I assume it had something to do with my not being ready for the literature she puts out. I fell so deeply in love with McMillian while reading Waiting to Exhale that I followed her on all her social media channels and (more recently) jumped at the chance to review hew newest release and eighth novel, Who Asked You?

Who Asked You? revolves around Betty Jean (or BJ), the matriarch of her family and grandmother who inherits and raises her grandchildren from her troubled daughter. Her husband is ill; her sons aren’t involved in her life (with one incarcerated and another too good for the ‘hood); and her life is exhausting. It seems like BJ just can’t get a break, and her two sisters don’t make her life any easier with their consistent negativity and un-welcomed input or their own heartbreaking troubles.

I believe the mark of a good book is that it makes me emote outwardly, and twists me up inside with nerves for the characters. I found my stomach in knots as I learned slowly the future of her daughter (who abandoned her two sons in BJ’s arms). I was uncomfortable at learning about Nurse Kim’s intimate relationship with BJ’s dying husband and worried it would turn into something even scarier with BJ’s grandsons. I squirmed with each interaction between BJ and her sisters. And I yearned for BJ to find some sort of solace in her life, be it new love, or a vacation, or just a moment to catch her breath.

Told from the viewpoint of almost every character in the novel, Who Asked You? says a lot about perspective. Additionally, it’s relatable because no one’s families are perfect, but what makes them strong is overcoming the craziness and chaos of every day life.

Released this September, 2013, Who Asked You? is wonderful winter read to enjoy by the fire.

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About maiah

Maiah Johnson is a writer who pens the love & lifestyle blog, maiah,unedited. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Language from Connecticut College before leaving her hometown of Weston, MA for New York City. When she’s not running around NYC (in flats, not heels), she is hard at work on her first novel. She loves love, food, shopping, beautiful words, and Instagram.