three-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
19-Nov-Dec-2005
user_rating: 
0

A-InterruptionEverythingMarilyn Grimes has shown all the sign of a midlife crisis: an underwhelming sex life with her husband, a senile mother and pesky mother-in-law, unfulfilled professional desires, an empty nest, and a nagging boredom. Faced with countless choices over whether to finally put her needs above all others—say, if she should finish a graduate degree or continue working in a crafts store—Marilyn does what she’s done her entire life: she turns to her friends and their "Private Pity Parties." But the unexpected always interrupts the groove, leading Marilyn to reevaluate, well, everything.
Viking. 365 pages. $25.95. ISBN: 0670031445

Orlando Sentinel 4 of 5 Stars
"[S]he is back with another definite hit. . . . Marilyn could be anyone’s mother, sister or friend—and that is the beauty and uncanny simplicity of The Interruption of Everything." Phyllis Rhodes

People Weekly 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Marilyn’s believable, sarcastic voice makes her struggle with mostly familiar midlife woes feel fresh. Breathe easy, fans: It’s been four years since her last book, but McMillan’s still got her groove." Natalie Danford

Black Issues Book Review 3 of 5 Stars
"Some readers might find this novel predictably formulaic, but the formula still works for readers who like the details of everyday life and a feisty main character who, no matter how put-upon, triumphs in the end." Vanessa Bush

Dallas Morning News 3 of 5 Stars
"Marilyn herself feels like a slightly older Bernadine from Exhale combined with a little of Stella from How Stella Got Her Groove Back. . . . If only McMillan could resist the temptation to include soapbox asides on current events such as the Kobe Byrant rape trial and the Janet Jackson Super Bowl fiasco." Tracy L. Brown

Los Angeles Times 3 of 5 Stars
"McMillan’s widespread appeal, high sales, and readability come with a price tag. What’s sacrificed is depth." Susan Salter Reynolds

Entertainment Weekly 2 of 5 Stars
"[A] haphazard jumble sale of a novel. . . . McMillan puts a buy-in-bulk price on just about every issue a modern woman might face in a year’s subscription to Redbook." Lisa Schwarzbaum

NY Times Book Review 2 of 5 Stars
"You know the story: A woman is shocked to find that her life is not as she had imagined it would be. . . . The narrative itself relies heavily on dialogue (which should save considerable time for some lucky Hollywood screenwriter), but it doesn’t lend itself to characterization." Chelsea Cain

Critical Summary

McMillan’s sixth novel resembles Waiting to Exhale in its warm portrayal of African-American women’s friendships, sexual challenges, and familial problems—not unlike everyone else’s, it turns out. Once again, McMillan limns endearing characters, enviable friendships, and memorable scenes that chart the less-than-pleasant, if strangely rewarding, aging process. Critics agree that McMillan’s strength lies in capturing the everyday dramas of how people really think, live, and examine (or choose not to examine) their lives. Yet this appeal has its cost. A few reviewers pointed out that while the characters here attain more self-knowledge than in McMillan’s previous novels, they’re still superficial and lack profound connection to our own lives.