New & Notable: Terry McMillan’s latest, “Who Asked You?”

Posted Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Who Asked You? by Terry McMillan Viking, $27.95 Audiobook: Penguin Audio, $39.95; read by Terry McMillan, Phylicia Rashad, Michael Boatman and Carole DeSanti.

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Terry McMillan has enjoyed a string of bestsellers with Getting to Happy, Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. She sets her sights once again on family conflict in her eighth novel, Who Asked You?, out Tuesday.

It’s set in a working-class Los Angeles neighborhood and is packed with fully developed characters of various levels of likability. In fact, it’s told from 15 viewpoints, revolving around Betty Jean Butler (BJ), the rock of an African-American family who is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. Throw in her busybody sisters, Arlene and Venetia, sons, daughters, husbands, grandchildren, friends and others and the book is bursting at its 383-page seams with a warts-and-all look at an unforgettable cast of characters.

Through the years, they deal with racial issues, gender issues, economic challenges, generational curses and, of course, family secrets. Through it all, BJ carries on through life’s challenges, embodying McMillan’s dedication at the front of the book: “For mothers, who do the best they can.”

— Celeste Williams

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