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Book Review: ‘It’s Not All Downhill From Here’ by Terry McMillan

Book Review: ‘It’s Not All Downhill From Here’ by Terry McMillan

It's Not All Downhill from HereIt’s Not All Downhill from Here by Terry McMillan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Given an advanced reading copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan is a true-to-life story about a black woman in her late 60s dealing with tragedy after tragedy and trying to find the good although she feels society telling her she’s too old to improve her life.

Loretha Curry is turning 68. She’s happily married to her third husband and owns a beauty store in Los Angeles. Her birthday is on New Year’s Eve while her twin sister was born the next day. On top of having different fathers, they never really got along. Loretha has a 40-something daughter who’s an alcoholic and a son she never gets to see because he lives in Japan with his family. Her granddaughter can’t keep a job and is pregnant by her live-in boyfriend. Her mother is in a nursing facility and won’t stop talking about dying soon. On the health side, Loretha can’t stop eating fast food and sweets that have led to obesity and diabetes. Though her life seems relatively charmed, she shares everything with her four lifelong girlfriends: Korynthia, Poochie, Sadie, and Lucky. But when tragedy strikes on her birthday, Loretha wonders if she can ever pick up the pieces since she feels she’s in advanced age. Looking for a transformation, Loretha makes little steps as she tries to fix the issues within her family and find her happiness again. She encourages her girlfriends to do the same though tragedy strikes them in different ways as well.

This story reminded me of my mother and her friends, who are in the same age group. They’ve seen a lot of setbacks in their lives, but now they’re seeing more tragedy as they enter old age and the growing pains that come along with it, especially as a black woman trying to keep the family and friend circle together. The book follows Terry McMillan’s style of piling so many issues on the main black female character which results in numerous situations and numerous characters, but it all worked well this time unlike in her last book I Almost Forgot About You.

Overall, it’s a good read that becomes thought-provoking of what we endure by a certain age and how we let age define what’s next for us with forgetting to live in the present.

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