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A Day Late and a Dollar Short
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A Day Late and a Dollar Short

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  5,023 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Much-heralded and long awaited, Terry McMillan's tour-de-force novel introduces the Price family-matriarch Viola, her sometimes-husband Cecil, and their four adult kids, each of whom sees life-and one another-through thick and thin, and entirely on their own terms. With her hallmark exuberance and cast of characters so sassy, resilient, and full of life that they breathe, ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 6th 2004 by NAL (first published December 29th 2000)
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Donna Bennett
The book is funny in parts and Viola is a great character. All of the characters are well-written and their individual stories are very familiar in today's world. The mother begins telling the story. She then describes her (family) husband, children, and grandchildren in a way that only a mother, wife, and grandmother can. It was downright hilarious. To my surprise,however, the husband and children tell their opinions on the family and themselves. When you see how the family sees a person as opp ...more
Marlene Banks
I really liked the style of storytelling Terry McMillan used in this novel. Getting each character's POV of the other characters was a unique strategy. Good show, Terry. The story was gritty and real in demonstrating how family life often goes. I appreciated that aspect. There was a bit too much foul language in it for my taste although I know people do talk like that. I just felt too many of these characters were spouting curse words unnecessarily but that's my personal objection. Viola spoke o ...more
Nardsbaby Reader
DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY soooooooooooo real life

None of us are flawless and no one wants to read how honky dory life is for someone else. In A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT, you find a family boggled down with secrets, infidelity, rape/molestation, drug abuse, teen sex, sexuality and envy. This is everyone's family! Where did this woman emerge from? McMillan has captivated me with every single book! Not one complaint and I am hoping that she continues to write and continues to create characters that p
Raychelle Muhammad
Admittedly, I am late to the party. I recently finished Terry McMillan's A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Penguin, 2002) and enjoyed it from cover to cover. There is no question that Ms. McMillan is a gifted storyteller and this work certainly does not disappoint. I am partial to stories which examine family dynamics, confront their inherent dysfunction, and lead the characters along the road to redemption. A Day Late more than delivered on my expectations.

Each chapter is narrated by one of the ma
First let me start off by saying that when I opened up this book to find an extended family tree on the first two pages, I immediately became a little nervous. No one wants to interrupt their reading experience by constantly referring to the legend at the front of the book.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to.

In A Day Late and A Dollar Short, Terry McMillan paints the picture of a dysfunctional family just trying to make it day by day. There’s Viola, the matriarch, who starts the book off by sufferi
I'm sorry - I can't finish this book. The characters are all basically unlikeable folks who "explain themselves" - which means giving excuses why their lives and their children are so screwed up. Essentially, they make one bad decision after another.

While this type of book might resonate with another audience, I just find it tedious & depressing.
OK -- I'll admit I didn't like the vast majority of the book. However, once I got to the end, I was much happier :) Every chapter is written in the first person by the Mom, the Dad, or one of their 4 children. Obviously this makes it a little difficult to figure out who is talking, especially at the beginning when you're trying to sort them all out. It's an interesting study on families, and how they get along or don't get along, but all love each other. I love how the mother is truly the tradit ...more
A Day Late and A Dollar Short is the type of book that makes you feel so many different things: proud, because you're happy that Terry McMillan is so adept at 'telling it like it is', telling 'our' stories, and making our story everyone else's too; sad, because when you're reading about the problems of these characters, you realize they are so much like your own; and warm, because a book like this helps steer our busy lives back to what's most important in life, such as family.
While reading this
Leander Grogan
A provocative look at family relationships....
With this book, I had trouble with the style of writing. Here are 3 sentences:


- How come don't nobody ever believe me when I tell the truth? I can't hardly ball up my fist, my knuckles is so swollen.

- It ain't no reason why we gotta settle for being middle-class when we can move into a whole 'nother income bracket if we just pick up the pace.

- "Damn" is all I can say, but what's really on my mind is how I'ma get out to their house to put my foo
Jeannie Turicik
This is one of those books you just simply do not want to end--the characters in this family were so alive--sometimes you just wanted to jump in an help them. Mama was a colorful personality, not warm and fuzzy, but very loving nonetheless. It was a family which had grown apart with the pressures of every day life--but never stopped loving each other--and even though they didn't realize it until the end--their need for each other only increased. Highly recommend reading this book!
Holy crapoli this could pretty much be any family in America! A Day Late and a Dollar Short is an insightful read that explores instead of exploiting family drama. I love how McMillan used a different narrator in every chapter. In this way she was able to show every perspective. The contrast and contradiction created by this kind of narration really sparked me to think more about underlying issues that ultimately explain why people do what they do. I guess lets just say a few parts hit really cl ...more
Good to listen to because of the dialects. Well defined characters, but I didn't enjoy them all, so I found myself getting tense when certain characters were speaking. Somewhat predictable, but enjoyable to listen to.
Rose Forbes
One of the best books i have ever read in my life. I love how the stories intertwined each other. the characters are so real... so vivid... i love that book and considering reading it again.
Stanjay Daniels
I was truly truly impressed by this book! This was the first book that I've read from Terry McMillan and I'm very glad that I got the opportunity to read it. This book was truly a gift in that it showed me several things: Tell people that you love them, tomorrow is not promised to everyone, you don't have to be superwoman or superman trying to save everything and everyone and everyone makes mistake; dust yourself off and try again. Terry's writing style was excellent, it kept me engaged from cov ...more
I loved! this book. It shows how a family can fall apart simply because of their unwillingness to communicate ... all it takes is a few words to bring them back together.
"A Day Late and A Dollar Short" is hands down the best novel I have had the pleasure of reading so far in my LIFE! To date, the novel is the only one to cause me to shed tears.

I've said it before, and I will say it again. Terry McMillan, like all other authors, does not write for everyone. In order to understand where she comes from, keep an open mind if you are clueless. And for the readers that know how life is, just read and relate.

A Day Late and A Dollar Short does not disappoint at all.

In a nutshell, I liked it. It wasn't the best read ever, but certainly not the worst. This is the first book I've read by McMillan. I usually don't read books like this; by this, I mean these more contemporary type black novels. By not being the best, I mean that it wasn't some deep story with a dynamic plot filled with twists and turns. It doesn't contain any surprising outcomes that I didn't expect. However, it was just a plain ol' good story about a very relatable, ordinary, black family expe ...more
I listened to it on CD. It took me a little while to get the characters into my head and heart, but then it happened. I think listening to the book being read made them real to me. They are all flawed, have made mistakes and regret them, but they are family.

I enjoyed this book with its its twists and turns as the family tries again and again to piece itself back together. Each crisis exposes strengths and weaknesses. Each resolution moves the family closer in some way.

Good book. Universal less
Viola narrates the first part of the book, and the reader of this audiobook did a fine job with Viola's story. I could really relate to Viola (a character only two years older than I am currently) discussing her distress with her grown children; worrying about events in their lives and wanting them to be happy.

As soon as the story switched to Cecil (and a new, male reader), I stopped enjoying it. I don't know whether it was the writing or the narrator, but I had to stop listening. Perhaps this b
Carolyn Hammond
Very well written, honest characters, loved everything about it. I enjoyed this book because I thought the characters seemed real. Maybe over the top at times, but that's life. I liked each chapter written by a different character so I got to know each one deeply. Each had their own complex personality. I especially liked Mama because she tried to deal with each of her children as an individual. In spite of their flaws each character has redeeming characteristics. I read the book and then watche ...more
Asthmatic family matriarch Viola Price recounts her life, including her estranged husband Cecil and their four children, as she is being treated in intensive care. One of my favorite quotes from Viola: `Some people got stuff that can top ours....look at the Kennedys.`

Each character's viewpoint is told in a first person narrative in succesive chapters. With great, fully developed characters, this is McMillan's best book yet. Highly recommended. I listened to the audio version of the book and it
I really got into this book in the beginning. I loved all the characters, and I appreciated the alternating narrators. The technique gave the reader a much more rounded perspective on the characters and their life situations. In general, this is a well written, engaging novel with a great deal of interesting things to say about the ties that bind families together. It's definitely worth reading. The some of the characters are terrific. I thought Vy was a riot, and I loved her relationship with h ...more
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I adore Terry McMillan and am proud of the niche she is carving for up and coming Black writers. She has a fresh, breezy and flowing writing style that sucks you in and carries you along through the trials and tribulations of her wonderfully real characters. 'A Day Late and A Dollar Short', following on the disappointing heels of 'How Stella Got Her Groove Back', is one of those magnificent reads.
I won't go into the plotlines of the different characters as other reviewers have done so already. E
This story is about the Price family. We get to meet them, warts and all, chapter by chapter. The first chapter introduces us to Viola, the matriarch of the family. Viola, in the hospital suffering from a massive asthma attack, is wearied and worried by her spouse and her offspring. In her first-person narrative voice that instantly evokes reminiscences of listening to my own grandmother's southern-black-English argot, we get to hear from Viola's perspective the strengths and weaknesses of her f ...more
Had me bawling. The family dynamic is so familiar. The characters are so much like those in my family, it was hard not to think of them as my family. There came a point in the book where I had to stop reading after the climax and the next day I actually caught myself praying for fictional characters! Lol! That's how real they are and how real the plot is. Excellent book!
This was an inexpensive beach read for me. I purchased the book for 50 cents at a discard sale, which is what I like to do with books to bring to the beach. I didn't have high expectations for it, and it exceeded those expectations, although I did get tired of the book's characters, and I found it, and them, to be fairly predictable.
I normally dont like Terry McMillan's work because she curses too much and she's the only author I know that write books where the movie is better. But, She did the darn thing with this one. I loved this book. I've read it five times. Two times back to back and I very rarely read the same book twice. There is someone in this family that mirrors a person in your own family for each of her characters. This family saga is a must read. You will find yourself not wanting to put it down and work, slee ...more
Ronda Green
this is a awesome book it made me laugh and it made me cry this is the kind of book I could read everyday all day good book MS McMillian also I've read some of your other books they are awesome all you are just a great writer keep doing what you are doing you will always have my vote......
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Terry McMillan is an African-American author. Her interest in books comes from working at a library when she was sixteen. She received her BA in journalism in 1986 from the University of California at Berkeley. Her work is characterized by strong female protagonists.

Her first book, Mama, was self-promoted. She achieved national attention in 1992 with her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, which remai
More about Terry McMillan...
Disappearing Acts Waiting to Exhale Mama How Stella Got Her Groove Back Getting to Happy

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“don't sabotage your own greatness by succumbing to failure!” 26 likes
“happiness aint got no Ph.D. or no certain amount of zeroes behind it!” 16 likes
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