Review

The Interruption of Everything

by Terry McMillan



Marilyn Grimes is a middle-aged black woman who loves working at
CREATIVE CREATIONS part time, buying craft items and creating
artful things out of knick knacks she finds. But she's realizing
that her life is going nowhere. Instead of pursuing a career, she
gave up her life to cater to her husband, her mother and
mother-in-law, her three children (now on their own), plus she has
spent an endless amount of time worrying about her adopted sister
who is in and out of trouble with drugs and booze. And with her
sister not being a totally responsible adult, Marilyn also worries
about her sister's children.

The charm of this book is the characters who populate it. Leon is
Marilyn's workaholic husband who also is trying to "find himself,"
whatever that means! He seems to be going through a mid-life
crisis, wearing outfits that are way too young. Her mother-in-law,
Arthurine, lives with them and can sometimes drive Marilyn up the
wall. It doesn't help that Arthurine has an old dog as her
companion, Snuffy, that also drives Marilyn crazy. Arthurine has a
new beau, Prezzle, and they make such a cute couple. Leon is
nervous about this new development in his mother's life, thinking
that this type of behavior is inappropriate at her age.

Marilyn's mother is starting to lose her memory, and they think
it's Alzheimer's. Lovey currently lives with Joy, Marilyn's adopted
sister, but unfortunately Joy is not reliable, which worries
Marilyn constantly. With Lovey and Joy living in Fresno, a good
two-hour drive from the San Francisco Bay area, it's not like
Marilyn can travel back and forth between her house and theirs at
the drop of a hat. And with traffic, it definitely is more than a
two-hour commute. Then there are Joy's children, one of whom seems
wiser than her young age of seven. These children are the victims
of their mother's irresponsible habits and often are left alone in
the house with their ailing grandmother.

Last but not least, you have the best friends, Bunny and Paulette,
both of whom are standout characters in themselves. As in all Terry
McMillan novels, these friends are close --- they laugh together
and cry together. It's what friendships are all about. But keeping
up with Bunny and Paulette wears out Marilyn too.

Basically, Marilyn has a lot going on, including a little
"surprise" she isn't sure she really wants right now. With a
husband who is never home and so many people she needs to look
after, it's a wonder that she already hasn't had a nervous
breakdown.

While I enjoyed this book, it doesn't quite hold up to McMillan's
best works (in particular HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK). But as a
fan, THE INTERRUPTION OF EVERYTHING is worth the read. It is very
light-hearted, while at the same time there are heavier themes
underneath it all: aging parents, life after 40, working on a
marriage that seems to be headed toward divorce. As in most
McMillan books, her female characters are strong and capable;
although they don't always get to where they want to go, they are
survivors. Marilyn is tired of putting her life on hold and finally
feels that it's her time to fly.

THE INTERRUPTION OF EVERYTHING, if nothing else, is a story of one
woman's need to break out and live the life she has waited
for.

Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton (Ratmammy@lofton.org) on January 22, 2011

The Interruption of Everything
by Terry McMillan

  • Publication Date: July 19, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0670031445
  • ISBN-13: 9780670031443