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A day late and a dollar short /

Main Author: McMillan, Terry.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Viking, 2001
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Review by Booklist Review

After several years, McMillan is back with her distinctive style of unveiling the trials and mishaps of modern-day life for black folks. This time she focuses on the Price family: mother, father, three daughters, and a son in various stages of various life crises. Age and disappointment with her life and the lives of her children have driven Viola into a strident bitterness, and she has driven away her husband of 38 years with her constant criticism and cynicism. Cecil still loves Viola but accepts his banishment and starts over with a younger woman and her three small children. The Price children--Paris, Charlotte, Lewis, and Janelle--struggle with sibling jealousies, marital infidelities, child abuse, alcohol, and drugs. They have grown apart since all but Charlotte moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and time and distance aggravate divisions among siblings and parents. Each of the children finds it hard to let long-maintained personal defenses down, even when their lives fall apart. Paris, the oldest and the "perfect one," can't reveal her loneliness since her divorce; addicted to painkillers, she maintains a punishing career schedule. Confronted with the fact that her second husband has been molesting her teenage daughter, Janelle has to choose between financial security and protecting her daughter. A strong matriarch, Viola struggles to hold the family together while she loses the softness within that had held her marriage together. McMillan has each family member tell Price history from his or her own perspective until the family reassembles after Viola's death. McMillan fans will be thrilled by her comeback. --Vanessa Bush

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

her four adult kids, all of whom have their own children, and their various circumstances, relationships and dilemmas. Not about to give Viola the last word, the other family members take turns talking in each of the remaining chapters. At first it is a bit confusing trying to keep track of who's who (the audio book doesn't come with family charts, the hardcover does), but it all eventually becomes clear as this complex and entertaining story of family dynamics or as daughter Paris calls it, "As the World F***ing Turns, again and again and again" gets fleshed out. McMillan is in her element, and readers Coleman and Willis do an excellent job of capturing the personalities of all the characters, be they surly, sassy, depressed or comic. Their talents guide the listener expertly through this captivating and ultimately optimistic tale of the ties that bind and the things that really matter. Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 11, 2000). (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

Populating her latest novel with her typically enjoyable characters, McMillan (Disappearing Acts) explores the heartaches and loving bonds of the Price family. Viola and Cecil and their four adult children face troubles and secrets that pull them apart as well as together. Viola's illness forces them to deal with one another, and this matriarch is classic McMillanÄwise, witty, and insightful. The other characters meet pain with humor as they deal with divorce, alcoholism, and incestÄas well as sibling rivalry and the need for acceptance. Desiree Coleman handles the women's chapters well, creating very distinct moods for the voices of Viola, Janelle, Paris, and Charlotte, while M.E. Willis inhabits Cecil's and Lewis's inner and outer thoughts masterfully. Highly recommended.ÄJoyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A great big family with “nothing in common except blood.” Viola Price, 55, is a barbecue entrepreneur, mother of four, and grandmother many times over, thanks to the four children she “had so fast they felt more like a litter, except each one turned out to be a different animal”: Paris is a successful caterer and cookbook author with a taste for the best in life, including men; Charlotte, a tough businesswoman, owns several Chicago Laundromats; Lewis is an amiable alcoholic with rheumatoid arthritis; and Janelle, a housewife, is forever taking courses in interior decorating. When a sudden, severe asthma attack lands Viola in the hospital, the clan gathers in Las Vegas to be near her, eager to help and of the belief that their father's unexpected desertion triggered the attack, even though their mother insists that it happened because she was, as usual, worrying about them. Which doesn't change the fact that Cecil Price says he just walked out when he couldn't take one more minute of her bossing and bad temper. Viola insists that she threw him out, but, regardless, Cecil is no more to her than a “bad habit” she's had for “thirty-eight years.” To others, he's an aging hipster, with a blossoming paunch and an outmoded Jheri curl mocked by all—not that his new flame, a “welfare huzzy” with three kids by different men, cares. Viola, though, has had it: she doesn't want Cecil back, not in this life or the next. Anyway, the children have other things to worry about: Paris is a pill-popping workaholic; Charlotte’s a control freak; Janelle seems to be oblivious to her own daughter’s emotional problems, and Lewis is just plain drowning in a river of troubles. Nonetheless, Viola isn't shy about offering advice, and she gives everyone an earful—a favor they return. The reunited Prices squabble, swap life stories and some nitty-gritty philosophy, and get to know the best and the worst about each other all over again. Then they chip in to buy their ailing mother new furniture and a fabulous cruise to nowhere, until a second, fatal asthma attack fells Viola. Her legacy: four poignant, hilarious letters, one for each of the grown children she loved so fiercely. Great storytelling with one catch: no plot. But McMillan's trademark earthiness and wonderful dialogue more than compensate. This bestselling author (How Stella Got Her Groove Back, 1996, etc.) has a rare gift for creating living, breathing people on the page. Book-of-the-Month Club/Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club main selection; author tour; TV and radio satellite tour

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.