I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader’s copy of Terry McMillan’s novel I Almost Forgot About You.
This novel starts off strong, with protagonist Dr. Georgia Young, a successful optometrist in the Bay Area, discovering that someone she deeply cared about has passed away. And upon learning of his demise, she realizes that she regrets that she did not tell him how she felt, and now, never has the chance to do so.
What follows is the tale of a middle-aged woman deciding to take charge of her destiny, learn to forgive, and create a life in which she is happy, rather than merely well off and living a life of habit.
There is a lot to like this novel. Most of the characters in this novel are black, and the way that McMillan writes, it is clear that she is not trying to cater to a white audience. As a result, this novel is one of the few novels to truly display a different viewpoint than avid readers generally get the chance to experience.
The characters in this novel are well drawn. Throughout the span of 368 pages, the characters have time both to become real to the reader, and to change, either in terms of the reader’s understanding or the character’s life journey (or both). They exhibit moments of unexpected grace and understanding, as well as flaws that betray an age or race or trait appropriate bias.
On the other hand, there are some aspects that are not as lovable.
One of the most glaring errors in this novel is that while it is not slated for release until June 7, 2016, it already feels dated. As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Young lives in the Bay Area. She works in the Embarcadero – in other words, in the city of San Francisco, currently the most expensive American city. Yet there are numerous references to the dream of New York, dashed with the reasoning that NY is too expensive to live in.
Another potential con for this novel annoyed me more while I was reading it thn in retrospect. The main character, while thinking over and occasionally meeting, past loves from her life, waffles. Her opinions of what the relationship consisted, and of whether or not she wants to sleep with them, are constantly changing. In retrospect, this waffling is realistic. Change is not easy, and most people are not entirely honest with themselves, and even when they are, what they want often changes. But I still found myself rolling my eyes a bit, sometimes.
I definitely recommend this novel, and it is an enjoyable read. It just doesn’t quite reach the level of transcendence that many of the other novels I have been reading lately have possessed. I am still very glad that I read this one, and hope that you will take the time to do so, as well.
On a scale of spaghetti, this novel gets 4 delicious plate-fuls out of a potential 5:
Have you read I Almost Forgot You? What did you think? Are you looking forward to it, if you haven’t read it yet? Or have you read some other McMillan works? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!