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

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  6,443 Ratings  ·  221 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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Rebecca McNutt
Oct 10, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it it was amazing
Powerful, inspiring and profound, A Day Late and a Dollar Short (recently adapted into a television film), is a book that perfectly captures the day-to-day happenings of a woman and her family.
Donna Bennett
Jun 23, 2008 Donna Bennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Raychelle Muhammad
Aug 14, 2012 Raychelle Muhammad rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Marlene Banks
Oct 22, 2014 Marlene Banks rated it really liked it
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
Jul 19, 2010 Janelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
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
Jun 06, 2010 Renee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mansuriah Hassan
No family is perfect. We argue. We fight. And even at times we stopped talking to each other. But in the end, family is always family. The love will always be there :)

This is a family saga. The author, introduces the reader to Viola Price and her family and instantly you are part it. You shout, cry and laugh with them and in certain parts you want to shake sense into them and shout 'get over it and move on!' but then you realize that they need to discover things for themselves before they can do
Leander Grogan
Aug 26, 2013 Leander Grogan rated it it was ok
Shelves: family-saga
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
Jan 04, 2009 Antof9 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 13, 2012 Kimberly rated it liked it
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
Jeannie Turicik
Sep 15, 2009 Jeannie Turicik rated it it was amazing
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!
Aug 26, 2010 Laura rated it liked it
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.
Michelle Jackson
This book was amazing and the movie did not do it justice. The cast was well done but the screenplay left much to be desired. The ending left me saddened but at least the family reconciled and got to the root of their issues.
Rose Forbes
Oct 12, 2010 Rose Forbes rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 17, 2011 Shev rated it it was amazing
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 pesar de un principio crítico, con el cual mis esperanzas de continuar leyéndolo no germinaban, por suerte mía, lo reprendí tiempo después. Es de los libros que me encanta leer y a los que me engancho: puedes leer un capítulo al día pero te dan ganas de continuarlo -un rollo a lo telenovela-, letra grande que no me cansa la vista...
En resumen, podría describirlo como "una telenovela sobre una familia negra desestructurada".

Lo que más y menos me gustó a la vez fue que cada capítulo fuera desde
Mar 26, 2017 Ruth rated it it was amazing
It was a funny book...a bit slow at first but it picked up and I couldn't put it down. The characters are so real.
Nov 28, 2007 Tina rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-general
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2011 Tania rated it liked 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
May 11, 2010 Ice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ary Chest
Jul 09, 2016 Ary Chest rated it it was amazing
Oh my god, this novel was one wild ride. Terry McMillan should win a trophy for best family drama.

The premise is an unwanted family reunion when the matriarch of the Price family, Viola, is hospitalized. This comes at a time when her soon to be ex husband and kids are in the midst of major turning points in their lives.

This novel is tricky to pull off because most of it is inner monologues and flashbacks. But it works because each voice is written so distinctly and convincingly. I love authors
Nov 21, 2007 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2014 Alex rated it liked it
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
Feb 11, 2017 Yalonda rated it it was amazing
Great read! This book was definitely a page turner. This read was pretty realistic; everyone had an issue, quite dysfunctional as well, but the book was very well written. Everyone was so off balance throughout the book but it showed that no one outweighed the other in any way. Everyone in the book had a struggle just as great as the other. It was sad how it took a tragedy to bring them all together, but that's how it always is in the real world. I loved how they all came together in the end. St ...more
Sep 17, 2014 Riya rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 06, 2011 Wendolyn rated it it was ok
Recommended to Wendolyn by: Have seen the movies made from her other books
Interesting format. Told from the perspective of the mother and father, as well as the 4 adult children. Honest portrayal of an imperfect family and their ups and downs. 3 generations. Some humor. Very readable. It seems so basic that I could write this.

"...-all the places I've hidden pills from myself in the past, in hopes of finding them one day by accident, or like now, when all I need is one or two. The Smart Side of Me says, 'You're being stupid again! You're acting like these things are so
Mar 18, 2012 Geeta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was a long read for me. Too much drama by each character. The family described is so dysfunctional that a major death in the family cannot bring the siblings together, sad. But a few months of therapy or soul searching and a letter left by the dead family member brings all the siblings together. Doesn't make sense to me. Reason I kept the book aside for a bit was because of the slang languauge used. Seems like there is no other way or better words to describe a character's frustration or temp ...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...

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“don't sabotage your own greatness by succumbing to failure!” 29 likes
“happiness aint got no Ph.D. or no certain amount of zeroes behind it!” 19 likes
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