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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  8,369 Ratings  ·  175 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 (first published 1987)
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Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My opinion has changed a lot about this book over the years. I am very shocked that I read this at 12 years old (and was not traumatized by it), and I now completely understand why my mother side eyed me and begrudgingly allowed me to read her copy back then.

I think McMillan did a great job for this to be her first novel, though it's obvious that her writing strengthened with Disappearing Acts and Waiting to Exhale. Lot of tough and heavy themes, and spunky dialogue. Kinda perfect for a book clu
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.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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...
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a huge McMillan fan, I'm surprised to be the last (it seems) to read this awesome book!

Wonderful character and setting development. Of all of her novels, this most deserves movie adaption.I will keep my fingers crossed!
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Myia Antoinette
Jun 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: african-american
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.
Tracey Danzey
Oct 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I read many years ago and a book that I feel never received its proper celebration. It landed as an honest depiction of many single parent homes with a broken spirited mother, simply trying to hold it together. I loved this book so much!
L. Wright
Sep 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Mildred Peacock, or Mama, was one of the most memorable characters I have ever encountered. I enjoyed this book immensely.
J.J. Murray
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Still my favorite McMillan novel.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mama is reminiscent of so many mothers -- me included.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read Mama at least ten times during my early teenage years and wanted to reread it just to see how I felt about it as an adult.

It is still a beautiful read. I love this story. It reminds me of why I fell in love with McMillan's writing so long ago.

I was surprised by how young Mildred Peacock's character is at the start of the story. She is only 27 with 5 kids and an abusive husband. I'm sure I read this for the first time when I was about 14, so back then I thought 27 was old.

I was also
Black Carrie
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was wonderful, when they cried, I cried, when they laughed, I laughed!! I have enjoyed reading Terry McMillan's books from the moment I picked up "Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." I love Ms. McMillian's sassiness in her characters and her straight forward, in your face approach.
This book was another hit as far as I am concerned. It was another page turner that I could not put down. I may not have like the characters personally, such as Mama, she needed a swift k
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Family Values !

The birth out of our mothers womb is the first of many available in our lifetimes . Sometimes hardship manages to relinquish the flame from our spirits like a chilling wind does a midnight candle under the porch light . One constant that we can count on though is that the morning is coming . Time and time again our Mamas' have been the light we can count on after the darkness , along with our siblings being the oxygen we need to keep the flames blowing in the darkness . Terry McMi
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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!
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story of Mildred, her five children, and her three husbands. Mildred was a complicated woman down deep who rarely showed her emotions. Dhe just wanted what everyone wants. be happy but she takes numerous detours along the, way. Freda who is the eldest is more like her mother than she thinks. Their bond is the strongest
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My eyes are misty! I was able to predict the ending, but it was still beautiful.

Emotionally abusive mom? I don't think so! Mildred is the type of mom that so many people have. Strict, uncaring, selfish, and downright mean...yet you can't imagine what the hell you'd do without her.

I will be rereading MAMA again one day for sure.
Nijla Mumin
Dec 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book by Terry McMillan. Borrowed it from my roommate while stationed in Korea.
I couldn't put it down!
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Janina Stokes
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Joya Merriweather
One of my favorite books of all time!
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I LOVED this book!!!
Jevon Scott
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Hope McCormick
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is my favorite Terry McMillan book :)
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  • Brothers and Sisters
  • Big Girls Don't Cry
  • Just as I Am
  • The Hand I Fan With
  • Lil Mama's Rules
  • Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made
  • Sister, Sister
  • I Wish I Had a Red Dress (Idlewild #2)
  • Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do
  • God Still Don't Like Ugly (God Don't Like Ugly, #2)
  • Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime: Stories
  • Good Hair
  • Scenes from a Sistah
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
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“It goes without saying that your friends are usually the first to discuss your personal business behind your back.” 18 likes
“What it takes is real hard work. Ain't nobody gon' give you nothing in this world unless you work for it.” 1 likes
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