Book Review: A Day Late and a Dollar Short
Book Reviewed by Paige Turner
The publishing world and the legions of Terry McMillan fans can now officially exhale. McMillan’s long awaited "serious" novel, A Day Late and A Dollar Short, has been released, and it is a solid achievement, and worth the wait since her last novel. The book validates the promise and mastery that McMillan displayed in Mama and in Disappearing Acts. Even DLDS’s no-frills cover design heralds her return as a dedicated, no-nonsense writer.
In recent years readers, critics and cognoscenti have tried to be disparaging by using the phrase, "A Terry McMillan Book", to imply something as unsubstantial as an Archie comic. But let’s give props where they are due: McMillan’s phenomenal bestsellers paved the way for other writers (many of lesser talent) to bop on down the road of commercial success. While it is true that her initial success was based on black women’s’ hunger for a reflection of themselves, and craziness of their relationships, readers need only look to Mama, McMillan’s first novel, to know that she has always been more than just a writer of "girlfriend", sistah-to-sistah type novels.
DLDS restores McMillan’s stature as a thoughtful and an insightful commentator on families and relationships, and not just a male bashing schlockmeister. DLDS’ characters so real you wanna shake ’em, kiss ’em, slap ’em, and hug ’em. Many people—male and female—have felt the same frustration as Charlotte when she reflects on her mother, Viola: "Why do I always have to cry when I think about Mama? Probably ’cause I know that, no matter what I do, it ain’t never good enough. Sometimes, when I really think about my family, it feel like we ain’t got nothing in common except blood."