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Waiting To Exhale (Waiting To Exhale)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,411 Ratings  ·  376 Reviews
Here is the story of four attractive, vibrant black women in their thirties, each brought to vivid life through McMillan's exuberant prose, all holding their breath waiting for the love that is so hard to find for today's single women. As they lean on each other, these women paint a poignant and accurate portrait of modern female camaraderie.
Published May 1st 1993 by Pocket Books (first published May 28th 1992)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 08, 2007 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a case where I actually thought the movie was better than the book. The scene where Angela Bassett's character torches her philandering husband's vehicle with all his worldly goods inside was worth the price of admission.
Nardsbaby Reader
Dec 04, 2013 Nardsbaby Reader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That’s What Friends Are For

I originally read WAITING TO EXHALE in the 90s when I was a teenager. A group of us decided to reread the story to see if it would have the same impact on as mature women. I have never reread a book before. I was under the impression that doing so the story wouldn’t be as interesting and predictable. As key parts of the story, the line up from the movie played out, I could actually hear Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon, Loretta Devine and Angela Bassett’s voices.

Tracey L.H.
Feb 24, 2008 Tracey L.H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to feel a Black woman's pain
I read this book in high school and I was disgusted! Then in African American Lit class for my junior year, we watched the movie, and I still hated it!

But it wasn't until I went to college that the book and its' leading ladies reverberated with my soul and outlook on men, life, and love!

One of my friends, who is Hispanic, said the book was stupid! And I and every other black woman looked at her and said she was crazy as hell! And I vehemently told her she'll NEVER experience what Black women fee
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 19, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
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 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 ...more
Krystal Lane
May 07, 2016 Krystal Lane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read!

Gave me a lot to think about and the characters are so relatable. I can see myself and my friends within this group of friends.
Dec 31, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has so many early 90s moments that I was often laughing as the characters listen to Paula Abdul in their Nissans while committing various fashion and hair crimes. No suede dress or fuschia lipstick is left undescribed.

The detailed episodes of lousy sex that the main characters endure with every possible kind of loser are funny and icky. Also the constant swearing and foul-mouthedness is great. This book has a light-heartedness that is endearing. Things are bought and used for pleasure;
Jan 01, 2015 Rena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: back-in-the-day, dt
More like 4.5 stars

Waiting to Exhale is one of those books I should have read years ago. Literally every woman and her mama have become familiar with the lives of Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria, and I did also, but through the movie version (which I love). But now that I've finally read the book, I can say it lives up to the phenomenon it once was back in the early 1990s. Of course, it's much more fleshed out in the book, and I can see how Terry McMillan stirred so many black women and ho
Feb 03, 2014 Damara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not exactly sure why I read this. I suppose it was entertaining enough, but the writing was atrocious. The dialogue seemed wooden and disjointed (not to mention unnecessarily vulgar at times), but maybe since I was born in '86 I can't properly understand the plight of thirty something black women in the early '90s. Either way it was a quick read. I didn't hate it, but I also was disappointed by the lack of resolution at the end. I may have been better off just watching the movie, lol
Cyndy Aleo
Before the pap that was How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Terry McMillan wrote the brilliant Waiting to Exhale, a story of four female friends and their triumphs and failures in their relationships with men.

::: The New Musketeers :::

As the novel opens, Savannah has just quit her job to move to a new job in Phoenix, where her friend Bernadine lives, in hopes of furthering her career and moving from public relations to television producing. Bernadine herself has just found out that her husband has n
Jan 22, 2016 Ari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
IQ "I know I'm not going to hear from him. And I hate the thought that I made a fool of myself. That I spilled my guts. Made my most intimate feelings known. How could somebody who acted so since be so insincere? How could he play with my feelings like this? I would never do this kind of shit to anybody." Savannah, 372

^Speak.On.It. It's probably just the frame of mood I'm in right now but those words perfectly capture how irritated I feel right now at placing myself in a similar situation. And t
Mar 29, 2014 Crystal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up. I'm trying to read writing with more diverse experiences and points of view, and I have a vague memory of seeing the movie and enjoying it--mostly Angela Bassett's fiercess and that crazy scene where she destroys her husband's car.
So either my memory is faulty or the book is a lot different than the movie. Honestly, I didn't like this very much. And even though I didn't really like this book, I don't know if it's because the characte
May 10, 2012 Monkeyface rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to Waiting To Exhale by Terry McMillan. This book is about 4 ladys. ROBIN STOKES is a successful insurance professional recovering from a dead-end love affair. "They say love is a two-way street. But I don't believe it because the one I've been on for the last two years was a dirt road." After months of depression, shopping and dating all the wrong men, she's getting by with a little help from her friends -- and still determined to find the Real Thing ...
BERNADINE HARRIS has the kids, t
Nov 17, 2010 Nakia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my third time reading this novel, but luckily so much time passed since the last time I picked this book up, it was like reading it for the first time.

The beginning started off sketchy. All of the characters had my side eye ready to explode, but as I delved deeper into the story, I grew closer to them, and better understood their pain and plight. I saw a lot of the old me in all of these women, which at some points made me sad, and at other points made me extremely happy that I'd learne
Nov 24, 2007 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those in between relationships
Shelves: chick-lit
I started and finished this book on Thanksgiving day 2007. (My parents work Holidays so festivities were bleak) I think I'm going through a breakup? Dude completely stopped calling. Great book to read if you want to speed up the recovery. Reminds you some men are just pansies and you're lucky if you have good friends to take the edge off the stings.

Twas a therapeutic experience.

Funny because I watched the movie for the first time 2 years ago after a more substantial breakup and it was one of m
Antonina Sh
Wonderful reading - sweet and easy, but leaving a taste of solitude on the tip of your tongue. I found bits of myself here and there in every female character, as I'm sure every woman who reads it does. After all, as different as we are, most of the time it's about the same things: solitude, first moment excitement when you seem to have found The One, disappointment, passion, fireworks, bitterness.... etc.

Huge thanks to the author for leaving it without all those cheesy happily ever after ending
Alicia Duff
Jul 23, 2014 Alicia Duff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One must discover how connected humanity is. Everyone has individual longings to be loved. In this book I saw four women embody this notion. Through their companionships, conflicts, and life changes the plot grows. People who share there lives together in a truly loving relationship have a fulfilling life, opposed to others who don’t have anyone that cares about them.

Savannah is an attractive and intelligent 36 year old woman. This woman has been asking God to send her a decent man. She isn’t, p
Apr 08, 2011 Noelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Silly,silly but funny too. An African American version of Sex in the City but nowhere near as good (but what could be as good as SATC??)An interesting point of view, enjoyed the 80's and 90's references to pop culture, and a fairly happy ending too. The book was just a celebration of female friendship and to that I can relate as I have been blessed with wonderful girlfriends who are like family to me :)A quick, entertaining read filled with lots of "oh no he didn't" and "damn girl" hahahaha
Linda Burson
A story of a group of friends: The first chapter was so funny, I anticipated the rest of the book would be too; but it wasn't. There were a few ha ha's and chuckles, but in my opinion, they were all packed into the first chapter. After that, it seemed more like a commentary on being a single black woman in her thirties looking for love. Now, maybe not being a single black woman in my thirties, I missed the point.

I had a hard time believing that women, (and I mean any women, not just black women
Marina Maidou
A book that gives the fresh spirit of 90's about the hopes, the fears and the dreams of four 30 something women. Nice writting about to find Mr. Perfect but as the most of the books I've read at the end there is a sudden stop. Happy end of course but so sudden like the writer was in a island and the paper finished and she hasn't where to continue. Pity again!
Okay, yes, I know, I normally wait a day after I finish a book before I start reviewing it. But I'm going to change that now because I usually have fresher and better stuff on my mind the day I review it.

Okay. So, as a woman, especially a black American woman, Waiting to Exhale was one of those things that I was mentioned often. In most cases, it was referencing the movie. But still. Whether it was the car burning scene or the scene where Glora meets her new neighbor. This book/movie was someti
Maya Speight
Dec 16, 2015 Maya Speight rated it really liked it
I'm not sure whether this was really a 3 or a 3.5, but I decided to be nice and give it a 4 for two main reasons. One, I loved how true it was to the African American experience and how much I could relate to it. There were references to headwraps and going steady and I was like, I understood that reference! This is my life. I never realized how rarely I've read a book that was truly black and not stereotypical. Representation in the arts is important and this book is a perfect example of how be ...more
Jun 22, 2011 Joe rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading this after 15 years in anticipation of the sequel I realized this is a really bad book. It's poorly written, the characters are 2 dimensional, there's too many coincidental cliches and it's very dated.

It was good back in the '90s when it was first released but it doesn't hold up well now.
Read "Waiting it Exhale" in the 90's. Disliked the characters as a group - to whinny and desperate to get that man. Loved them as they bared themselves as individuals. Each struggled to exhale, as they persevered through the wrong men, the wrong circumstance, the wrong situation to morph into stronger women in the their quest to find the one to love and be loved. Epic scene when Bernadine torched cheating husband's possessions. Not the one for violence, but he bought the ticket and she took the ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now I want to watch the movie. Although one of the principal villains is a 27 year old white woman named Kathleen. I was a 27 year old white woman named Kathleen when this book was published. Yikes!
Oct 15, 2007 Roberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
420 pages

I enjoyed this story of four black woman that struggle and prevail over life, careers, men and love.
Wonderfully written and you will fall in love with the protagonists.
Horace Derwent
Jun 29, 2016 Horace Derwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
friendship is also love
Kristyne Elizabeth
This was another one of my $1 store buys. I finished this book very quickly because it was basically all a stream of consciousness from four different women and it made me feel like I was listening to my friends tell me about their lives. Well, mostly about their troubles with men. It made me feel like I was indulging in gossip without actually having to gossip about real people. It's a wonderful look into the intricacies of a single working woman, and is still very relevant to today's world. My ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Stella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, fiction
A bit 'soapy', but interesting all the way through. Now I can finally see the movie!
This was the first in my "books NOT written by white men" challenge. It was an easy read, well-written, and mostly depressing. It is about four African-American women dealing with romantic relationships (or the lack thereof) and lamenting the shortage of sane, eligible, dependable black men in the 1990's dating scene. If the point was to make me disgusted with the dating scene, it definitely worked! I wouldn't necessarily recommend running out and buying it right this minute, but you won't regre ...more
May 17, 2015 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have really enjoyed other books by Terry McMillan and I was quite looking forward to reading the one that started it all, "Waiting to Exhale." Unfortunately, it is a frustrating book to read with all of the main characters being weak and foolish. Perhaps it was representative of the African-American experience in 1990, but it really doesn't seem to be applicable now. The writing is average, the plot is poor, and it will not be a book that I would recommend. Contains a lot of profanity and sexu ...more
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Terry McMillan is an African-American author. Her interest in books comes from working at a library when she was fourteen. She received her BA in journalism in 1986 from the University of California at Berkeley and the MFA Film Program at Columbia University. Her work is characterized by strong female protagonists.

Her first book, Mama, was self-promoted. She achieved national attention in 1992 wit
More about Terry McMillan...

Other Books in the Series

Waiting To Exhale (2 books)
  • Getting to Happy

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