Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mama” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  6,014 ratings  ·  124 reviews
The explosive novel that introduced #1 New York Times bestselling author Terry McMillan-now in a new trade edition.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 6th 2005 by NAL Trade (first published 1987)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mama, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mama

The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister SouljahPush by SapphireTrue to the Game by Teri WoodsB-More Careful by Shannon HolmesThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
Good Urban Literature
7th out of 141 books — 218 voters
The Color Purple by Alice WalkerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonThe Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm XBeloved by Toni MorrisonInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Best African American Books
140th out of 510 books — 596 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Michelle Robinson
The family portrayed here made me feel bad, made me wish for better but certainly felt very real. I think these are people we all know. They may be members of our families. I have 3 copies of this book. Accidentally, I loaned one out and it never came back to me and I kept replacing that copy, lol. This book is just too good not to own. It is a far cry from some the superficial books that I have read that have tried to cover similar subject matter, with not as much success.
this is one of my favorite books. i have read this at least five times since 1995 and now own it in hardcover. i love the characters and how the author does a great job at creating real emotions and situations for this family and their dynamics.

i think terry mcmillan's best work...
May 29, 2011 Jo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jo by: My Mum
Shelves: modern-fiction
My Mum bought this for me in '92 when she was at Hillcroft college. I remember it was an quick read in terms of pace and a slice of harsh reality in terms of ambition and attainment of creating a better life as a woman on her own. The sacrifices, the costs to the soul the choices we make. I remember being grateful of my Mum, failings included, and mindful of her struggles in getting us where we were.

I went on to read Disappearing Acts and Waiting to Exhale and whilst these novels were of the sa...more
This is the first Terry McMillan book I have read, and it will likely be the last. I get it that poverty is a vicious cycle and that it perpetuates ignorance and severely limits people's choices in life, but I couldn't stand any of these characters. I was especially bothered with the title character, Mama, who is just plain verbally abusive to her five children who didn't ask to be born. This book was somewhat well written (except for the all too elementary and obvious names--Deadman, Money, etc...more
I started reading this book in grade school, after I finding it in the school library, but never finished. It wasn't until a few years later that I picked it up again, after my brother brought it home from school. I went out, bought my own copy and then passed it around to my mom and sister. We all took something from the story and enjoyed it so much, that we took on characters from the book. I was given the character Freida (whether I wanted it or not) who I still have some things in common wit...more
Terry McMillan is one of my favorite writers. This book is honest and raw. All men should actually read this. The feelings of women can't be more honest than this.

This is the second time I have read the book but I never got bored. I still devoured every word.

The thing with McMillan is that her novels are written in such a way that makes you feel like you are having a heart to heart conversation with the characters.

She does not care about punctuation or grammar or words. She writes the words the...more
Mama; Mildred Peacock, proud black woman! She's broke. Lives in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in a broken down house. After a violent fight, she puts out her no good violently abusive husband!! And rightly so, because even though he didn't have a job, he kept a mistress!! Mama is 27 with 5 children. I loved this book as it was Terry McMillan' first novel!!! It was the hottest book back in the day being read by so many. Also, though this is a sad situation, Mama is portrayed as one who struggle...more
Michael Jenkins
Feb 08, 2014 Michael Jenkins rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Mcmillian
Mildred has had enough of her dead beat husband,Crook. It is bad enough that he is physically and emotionally abusive, but he is not unstable in all his ways. Mildred feels like she is trapped in her marriage, while she would like to move on; she struggles to maintain a good reputation in the presence of her children. Freda in particular her oldest girl is a life savior to their family. At a young age, she is already trained to take care of her siblings. Cooking for them has never been a problem...more
It's not for me to enjoy Terry McMillan. I have tried, and I have found that she is like a person who is telling you a story about people you don't care to know at all. When the story is over, you feel like you have wasted your time listening (or reading in this case) to a story about people you don't care.

Because I never get invested in her characters, I don't care for her books. I'm glad that I read this because I found what it was that I do not like about her writing.
This book is about Mildred, a black woman who is trying to raise her five children all on her own. The family is poor and as they continue to struggle, Mildred tries to have faith that things will get better. I thought this was a touching story of the love a mother has for her children and I admire Mildred for being strong despite her situation. After reading this book, I became a fan of Terry McMillan!
Nijla Mumin
I read this book when I was about 9 or 10 years old... It was my introduction to "adult" literature. From that point on, I was hooked. Needless to say, I don't remember specifics, just the feeling and expansive impact it had on me. I'm thankful for that.
Jevon Scott
Terry captured my heart with this one, I can't even read it again because it makes me think of my grandma GOD rest her Soul who passed this year. It truly depicts the typical black family. I love it.
Ups and downs (mostly downs) in the life of this woman and her children. She lives her life too much through her kids, which is depressing. Also always looking for the perfect man. frustrating book
Hope McCormick
I've loved everything I've read by Terry McMillan. But this may be my favorite. The characters and circumstances are realistic, and I appreciate the depth. Great writing.
First book every read by Ms. Terri, which is why I'm a fan to this day. READ THIS...READ THIS. BET should develop this into a weekly nightime drama. READ THIS NOW!
This is my favorite book by Terry McMillian! I have read it numerous times and plan to read it again and again! She should do a sequelor prequel.
L. Wright
Mildred Peacock, or Mama, was one of the most memorable characters I have ever encountered. I enjoyed this book immensely.
Janina Stokes
This was a really good book. I read it for the first time about 20 yrs ago but iv'e read it a couple of times since then also.
I don't like to read books over and over but I can read this one every single year and find something new I love about it
My favorite book by Terry McMillan. Borrowed it from my roommate while stationed in Korea.
I couldn't put it down!
J.J. Murray
Still my favorite McMillan novel.
I LOVED this book!!!
This is my first time reading a Terry McMillan book, and I'm also aware that this was her first book. Hopefully that little fact makes all the difference in the rest of her books. On to the story, Mama is a good book. I just had high hopes on the book because I'm a fan of Terry McMillan as a person. My biggest problem with the book was that it wasn't developed enough. There were so many points where I wish she would have elaborated on more. I saw that this mostly happened at the end of chapters...more
Mothers in the black community go through do much to keep their children fed. The characters portrayed in this tale are similar to the folks in my extended family. And another similarity is the role of mothers as head if the house-hold. This isn't a tale with all the fixings for a happy ending. This book is real life.
This is a gutsy, sassy, funny story about a tough mother attempting to raise her large, impoverished family. Mildred is earthy and strong and never stops trying to push her children to achieve more than she believed she ever could. In the words of an "Essence" review, "MAMA is unapologetic about exposing the pain that blacks can inflict on themselves and one another..." I was somewhat disappointed that Mildred was unable to find the strength to overcome her own weaknesses when the opportunities...more
T Neff
What an enlightening story! It was a page turner from beginning to end. I really enjoyed it. It was emotionally powerful. If you like books like this, you should also "Under the Peach Tree" by Charlay Marie.
Jasmine Hunter
I felt many emotions reading this book.It's like she told so many single mothers' story all in one.
I laughed I cried.The mother was mama until the end...I hate to say it but I expected more...
Diana Woodbury
This book is AMAZING. My favorite of all time!! One of the very few I had ever reread.
nakia clemmons
Amazing. A book I picked up in 7th grade and have read annual since.
Bianca Harrison
I absolutely loved this book! My first book by Terry!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
BEP090T1: characters 9 6 21 hours, 38 min ago  
  • Big Girls Don't Cry
  • Just As I Am
  • Brothers and Sisters
  • Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made
  • The Hand I Fan With
  • Lil Mama's Rules
  • Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do
  • Sister, Sister
  • Good Hair
  • Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime: Stories
  • Scenes from a Sistah
  • I Wish I Had a Red Dress (Idlewild #2)
  • God Still Don't Like Ugly (God Don't Like Ugly, #2)
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
More about Terry McMillan...
Disappearing Acts Waiting to Exhale How Stella Got Her Groove Back A Day Late and a Dollar Short Getting to Happy

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“It goes without saying that your friends are usually the first to discuss your personal business behind your back.” 13 likes
More quotes…