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Waiting to Exhale (Waiting To Exhale)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  11,645 Ratings  ·  383 Reviews
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 th ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 27th 2001 by Pocket Books (first published May 28th 1992)
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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
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
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
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Horace Derwent
Jun 29, 2016 Horace Derwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
friendship is also love
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
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
This book has been sitting on my shelf forever, waiting for me to exhale and pick it up. I read widely from multiple genres. I never limit myself and I am glad I don’t because you can miss out on discovering great stories or great authors.

The book is set in 1991. It is so strange to think that this book is 25 years old. It feels more recent but one thing that immediately stood out was the changes in the African American experience and story, even in that 25 years. Don’t be afraid to grab some of
Sonnet Fitzgerald
Sep 24, 2016 Sonnet Fitzgerald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since it's a common theme in the comments, I feel I should mention that I have never seen the movie adaptation of this book. I do remember when it was all the rage, and I think I have that Whitney Houston song on a CD somewhere, but I never got around to seeing the film.

Terry McMillan is one of my very favorite authors. It's both a fun part of her writing and a shame that her books so vividly capture a moment in time. I like that she is brave enough to do so, and I enjoy the memory trips when I
Sep 25, 2016 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. I listened to the audio version and enjoyed the narrator. She put a lot of soul into the reading. Some parts of the book were a bit tedious but overall it was a good story.
Aug 13, 2016 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, paperback, movie
I remember seeing the movie, but I had not read the book. Terry McMillan's novel of four African-American friends attempting to navigate the trials of life, love and friendship in very vanilla Phoenix, AZ in the late 1980s and 1990s. It's a story of hopes and dreams crushed and romances and marriages imploding. The four are Bernadine Harris, Savannah Jackson (transplant from Denver), Gloria Matthews and Robin Stokes.

Bernadine is married to a successful businessman with two children. An educated
Marc Kohlman
May 12, 2013 Marc Kohlman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A absolutely hilarious, down-to-earth and passionate novel. I first read this book in High School, when I began to get interested in urban and African-American fiction. Love Forest Whitaker's 1995 adaptation of the novel starring the incredible Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Dennis Haysbert and the beautiful and dearly missed Whitney Houston. This is a story of friendship, love, relationships, revenge, the struggles that make up everyday life and who we are as people. One of my favorite parts o ...more
Lynn Demsky
This is one of the most disgusting books I’ve ever read! It did help to maybe explain cultural differences between African Women and white women but the only good part was when she blew up his car ---- I had to work extremely hard to wade my way through this book – they bred like rabbits and need to learn to grow up!
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
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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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