cover image Who Asked You?

Who Asked You?

Terry McMillan. Viking, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-670-78569-8

Three generations take a long hard look at each other—and, finding lots not to like, try to outrun, ignore, or beat the demons pulling them together in this well-crafted story of acceptance, forgiveness, and hope. McMillan (Waiting to Exhale) deftly weaves her tale of a black Los Angeles family’s disharmony around the narratives of bickering sisters Betty Jean, Arlene, and Venetia as they watch their kids stumble into adulthood. BJ’s drug-addled daughter, Trinetta—who lost custody of her baby girl—dumps two sons on her; meanwhile BJ’s youngest son, Dexter, does prison time for a crime he won’t admit to, and her eldest, Quentin, searches for himself. Arlene, a single mom who has a master’s in psychology and harbors a painful secret, struggles with over-protecting her long-closeted gay son, Omar. And wealthy, God-fearing Venetia can’t see what’s plain to her spoiled kids and husband: that she’s been ignoring her own needs and her crumbling marriage. Trinetta’s strong-hearted kids lead the family back to each other—but McMillan’s story belongs to the middle-aged steel magnolias who value loyalty above all. “I have prayed for all of us to come to our senses even though I know it’s an ongoing process,” Venetia says. “We’re not getting any younger and family is family.” Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Agency. (Sept. 17)