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Waiting to Exhale

(Waiting To Exhale #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  15,590 ratings  ·  583 reviews
The story of friendship between four African American women who lean on each other while "waiting to exhale": waiting for that man who will take their breath away. ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by NAL (first published May 28th 1992)
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Tiera Denise The book would be COMPLETELY different if told from the pov of their men. Self love and friendship are some pretty big themes throughout the book and …moreThe book would be COMPLETELY different if told from the pov of their men. Self love and friendship are some pretty big themes throughout the book and I feel as if having the pov of the men wouldn't contribute to this at all. (less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  15,590 ratings  ·  583 reviews

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Adam Brigue
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love this book so much. Bernadine made me laugh like crazy!!! Definitely read this book it will make your year!!!
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this in the early/mid-nineties before the movie came out (which I also really liked and cemented my devoted fangirling of Angela Bassett).
Aug 08, 2007 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. ...more
Nardsbaby Reader
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
BAM Endlessly Booked
Audio # 147

Fantastic novel about empowering women who aren’t perfect but can learn from their mistakes. I loved being given a peek into their minds and listening to them make their decisions. I’d probably make the same ones.
Jan 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Renée | Book Girl Magic
I’ve always been a huge fan of the movie. In fact, it’s probably one of my top 10 favorite movies of all time! I came into this book a little skeptical. Not because I thought the book would be bad....but I prefer having my books spoiler free, meaning not having watched the movie first.

I absolutely LOVED this book! It got more into depth with the characters I loved so much and really painted a brighter picture for me. I loved how raw these ladies were. Cursing, wild sexcapades and just being the
Dec 30, 2009 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;
Dec 30, 2014 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
Cyndy Aleo
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Traci Thomas
I liked a lot and found a lot to be fine. I think in 1992 this book would’ve felt ground shaking. Some fun pop culture stuff. Some fun friendships. A lot of stereotypes.
Danita Brown
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books by her.
Sian Lile-Pastore
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love how nineties this is! I WANT to hear about people dancing to Caribbean Queen, Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul!! McMillan draws such great characters too - and has such a lovely, real storytelling style - I was surprised about how salty the language was! And I loved it! It made me laugh.

it is light - think sex and the city before sex and the city even existed - and its mainly about getting a guy (which got a little tiresome after a while) but under the lightness there's grit and steel! of co
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great quick read!
Jennifer Holik
Four black women living in Phoenix in the 90s.

Savannah decides to leave Denver for Phoenix. The pretense is a new job, but it's one that forces her to take a paycut. Which is a bit crazy considering she's also supporting her mother financially. Based on what comes out about her past, I believe she is just bouncing from one city to the next hungrily searching for something to make her feel complete. I think she believes this is a man, that love will finally make her happy and feel whole. Really,
Jan 22, 2016 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
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was my second time reading the book. I first read it in high school, because I'd always heard the book and movie were really good. When I read it in high school, I lowkey hated the characters. I thought they were birds, and didn't understand all the wrong choices they made in men. But I was like 15, 16 years old so I thought I'd think better of it if I read it now since I'm older. Well I'm 24, almost 25 now, and I still think they're birds and I don't understand all of the bad choices they ...more
Black Carrie
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
the movie & the book were great ! I read this book in High School =)(= & i SEEN THE MOVIE BEFORE THAT. THE MOVIE DID THE BOOK & movie are sightly different but the movie still does the book JUSTICE & THEN SOME.

I CAN SEE MYSELF AS A ROBIN ( minus the naive parts ) hopeful for love then as Bernadine if it all crashes down :).

I think all the women deserved what they needed & learned what they were suppose to learn ; especially your girl Bernie she's the real winner with a good heart through and th
Ahraé Ogunbamiyo
Phenomenal book! I read this book thinking that it would be something that I wouldn’t understand because of adult women problems. I finished thinking about how I’m going to face things like this in the very near future! Terry McMillan does not disappoint! 10 Stars!!! Reading Getting To Happy next!
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked it, but the situation with the father was wrapped up and brushed off too quickly.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the book and the movie! I saw the movie first and I had to read the book. Great book and definitely one of my all time favorites.
Sieara DeLone
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a bit difficult to keep up with all the different storylines, but I got it after a while. This book is a roller coaster, but it's very real to a lot of Black women. I have seen this happen to friends of my mother and my mother even. It's a story that needed to be told from this perspective. Ms.McMillan did a good job. ...more
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
I think it’s a sign of growth when you can revisit a book nearly 25 years later and it’s like reading a new book. Admission #1-pretty certain I saw the movie before I read the book. Then again I was 15. This is a book that I took at face value without really thinking about the message. Savannah, Bernadine, Gloria, and Robin are friends living in Phoenix. They are in the 35-38 age range, all are relatively successful in their chosen professions. The drama is centered around the men in their lives ...more
Oct 03, 2010 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
Nov 24, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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
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Play Book Tag: Listopia Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan - 4 Stars 3 12 Sep 09, 2018 11:52AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Waiting To Exhale (2 books)
  • Getting to Happy (Waiting To Exhale #2)

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