How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Terry McMillan, Author, McMillan, Author Viking $23.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-86990-9
Her readers may be surprised that, after the gritty, tell-it-as-it-is Mama and Waiting to Exhale, McMillan has now written a fairy tale. Her ""forty-fucking-two-year-old'' heroine, divorcee Stella Payne, possesses a luxurious house and pool in northern California, a lucrative job as a security analyst, a BMW and a truck, a personal trainer and an adorable 11-year- old son-but no steady guy. On a whim, Stella decides to vacation in Jamaica, and she narrates the ensuing events in a revved-up voice, naked of punctuation, that alternates between high-voltage energy and erotic languor. Romance comes to Stella under tropical skies-but there's a problem. Gorgeous, seductive Winston, the chef-trainee with whom she enjoys passionate sex (explicitly detailed), is shockingly young: he's not quite 21. Naturally, Stella wonders if he really loves her; endless soul-searching and a few tepid complications occupy the remainder of the narrative. When Stella loses her job, it's no sweat; she has enough savings to maintain her lifestyle. When fate throws two other gorgeous men her way, she immediately decides they are boring and isn't tempted for a minute. Meanwhile, her intense preoccupation with feminine deodorant sprays and the smell of women's public bathrooms is rather strange, to say the least. McMillan's expletive-strewn narrative accommodates such musings, however, and readers who have been yearning for a Judith Krantz of the black bourgeoisie-albeit one with a dirty mouth and a more ebullient spirit-will be pleased with this fantasy of sexual fulfillment. 100,000 first printing; major ad/ promo; first serial rights to People and Essence; BOMC main selection; film rights to 20th Century Fox; author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 05/01/1996
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