Within two chapters of starting Terry McMillan’s new release I Almost Forgot About You, I sent a text to my mom featuring the cover of the book with the simple words “Officially recommending this book for your book club.”
I just couldn’t wait a second longer to recommend this book!
And I’m not even the target audience. At just-under-30, I’m a far cry from the novel’s protagonist, a 54 year old woman living in San Francisco, dealing with grown children, two ex-husbands, and pondering a late-in-life career change.
It’s so rare for a novel to feature a protagonist “of a certain age.” Back in the 90s, McMillan was writing about 20-somethings (How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting to Exhale), but now she’s writing from the perspective of one of the most underrepresented characters in fiction: women over 50. I love that McMillan is writing from her own perspective, and it shows in the genuine dialogue and evolution of her characters. Especially with today’s focus on the (amazing) growth of young adult fiction, I think we see more and more young protagonists. It was refreshing to hear a grown woman speaking about things that grown women care about.
Yet, even thought I’m not just like Georgia, I totally got it.
I just felt for Georgia in her pursuit of happiness, which speaks to the universality of the issues Georgia was dealing with. None of us likes to be stuck in a career we just sort of fell into. None of us likes being lonely, even when we aren’t alone. None of us likes feeling overwhelmed by friends and family. And EVERYONE wants to be in love.
I think what caught me most about I Almost Forgot About You was how purely and simply relatable it is. Something in the way McMillan writes dialogue just makes it seems like you’re sitting around a glass of wine with a handful of friends, sharing their lives and their energy and their stories. I felt like I knew these characters, like I knew exactly what they were dealing with and going through.
When Georgia decides to face her fears, explore new career opportunities, and really push herself to do things that are outside of her comfort zone, I could just sense her restlessness. I knew why she wanted to shake things up, and I wanted to cheer her on.
Just be ready for some romantic comedy style magic.
If there was one fault in this book, it was that I can imagine it being made into a movie a little too easily. Knowing McMillan’s past success with How Stella Got Her Groove Back (which I had apparently confused with There’s Something About Mary in my head), I just know that there will be a movie deal down the line. So when the plot nicely wrapped itself up in the last few chapters, I kind of saw it coming. And I knew that I was in for a bit of a fairy tale romantic ending.
Even with that one criticism, I think I Almost Forgot About You will end up being in the top five books I’ve read this year.
Blogging for Books has provided Imaginary Book Club with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.