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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  7,232 ratings  ·  251 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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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,232 ratings  ·  251 reviews

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Diane Wallace
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great read! relatable and relevant topics concerning the black families (struggles etc)...well written and recommend to all (paperback!)
Rebecca McNutt
Oct 10, 2016 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 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 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
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a book that's almost 500 pages, I'm excited to have read it in two days!

From start to finish this book was excellent, gave the perfect "fly on the wall" eye view of the entire Price family. I found myself cheering for each character it was impossible to choose one favorite.

I see this (like most McMillan novels) has been adapted into a movie, I can not wait to watch!
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
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
Marlene Banks
Oct 22, 2014 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
Leander Grogan
Aug 26, 2013 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
Jul 19, 2010 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 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.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great read!
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
Danita Brown
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was 2 long.
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This isn't a book I would have picked up on my own, but it was the book club selection for February. I was told that it was a fabulous book, and to be honest, at first I just wasn't feeling it. It wasn't a bad book by any means, but I guess I just wasn't really in the right frame of mind to read it or something. I didn't understand what the point even was. By the end though, I totally got it, and completely understand why this is such a fabulous book. If you've been putting it off, read it. If y ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The story of Viola Price and her family will stay with me for a long time. It's a brilliantly written novel and there were several passages that brought tears to my eyes. I feel that I truly got to know each and every one of the characters. Terry McMillan is one of those authors whose work always leaves me satisfied.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
More like 4 1/2 stars. I would have given 5 stars, but it took me over 100 pages to really get into the book. The characters were so well developed and I will be thinking about this one for awhile!
Jan 04, 2009 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 15, 2014 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
Nov 13, 2012 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 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 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.
Aug 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 17, 2011 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.
Rose Forbes
Oct 12, 2010 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.
Elena Johansen
I couldn't make myself keep going. DNF @ page 50.

The three characters I got POV chapters from are all unlikable in their own unique ways, but unified in how they present their narratives as though nothing is ever their fault. And that's most of what's on the page--whining about how none of them have gotten a fair shake, how someone else is responsible for their misery, how they'd be better "if only" this, that or the other thing.

It's natural for most people to do some blame-shifting in their liv
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A Day Late and A Dollar Short” is a book that resonated with me quite well. I did not expect to like the book as much as I did the movie. I saw the movie first, so I had my opinions already formed on the characters. The book gave more of an insight into why the characters react a certain way and come with their reservations. Each one of the siblings feels their own sort of resentment towards their mother and each other. I believe that is something that most of us can relate to, whether through ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aaf
It wouldnt be fair for me to say I didnt like this book because I initially didnt think I would like it anyway since its not the type of book I typically read and I couldnt relate to any of the characters. I think it was a good story and Im looking forward to watching the movie. I just did NOT like the writing. Instead of saying "the doorbell rang", the author writes "was that the doorbell?" I understand it was written in first person but jeez I didn't need to know every single thought of the ch ...more
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Okay I wanted to give this book 4 stars but I am settling for 3. Although the book was good it did tick me off at the same time. The book is about Viola and her 4 children. Viola is a character and I really did like her and she does get in the last word. Her children are what you would expect grown children with children of their own to be in the mid 90s. To me the author tells a good story but she characterizes too much to my liking. It could of been the book but there were digs in it that I re ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
McMillan takes you through an entire family with the perspective shifting each chapter from Mother/grandmother to used to be husband and four children. It faces into teen pregnacy, child abuse, alcoholism, poverty, etc. but all in a way where you are seeing from both outside and inside. And it is really funny.
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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
“don't sabotage your own greatness by succumbing to failure!” 31 likes
“happiness aint got no Ph.D. or no certain amount of zeroes behind it!” 23 likes
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