Waiting to Exhale by Terri McMillain is a story about four very different women trying to come to peace in their very complicated lives. Savannah, Bernadine, Robin, and Gloria are searching for the perfect life to live. They have to come face to face with many obstacles in their live before they can truly be happy. They struggle to find true love and success in their careers. Each has a personality that is waiting to exhale and achieve ultimate inner peace. Their friendship has blossomed into a sisterhood. They rely on each other to help them through their tough times and give advice on what to do. They learn from each others past mistakes.
Gloria is a middle aged divorced mother of a teenage boy, who works as a hairdresser. Gloria is a very simple women who unlike her friends doesn’t have to have a men in her life. Her main concern in life is her son’s happiness. The sun shines again for her. A nice looking man moves across the street from her, and Gloria being the friendly neighbor welcomes him into the neighborhood. To her delight he is single. They stat to spend more time together and she is happy. Just as in any relationship their relationship hit a bump in the road and Gloria has to come to a decision on want she really wants.
Bernadine thought she had it all, a loving family, two wonderful kids, and a house on the hill. One day she found her life in pieces, her husband left her and she had no job. Bernadine had sacrificed her dream and needs to fulfill the dreams of her husband. Bernadine couldn’t believe what was happening to her, what was she going to do now. Feeling betrayed and hurt she decides to get even with her husband. Bernadine decides it is time to be paid for all her years of loyalty. She decides it is time for a new Bernadine to come out. She has become fancy free, looking out only for her children and herself. Bernadine now has the power to achieve her dreams and not be tied down to someone’s else dream.
Robin and Savannah are both in the same boat: they have very successful careers, but their love lives leave a lot to be desired. Robin is man crazy willing to be with any man hoping he will be the man to fill the void in her life. She knows this is not the live style she wants to lead, but she feels it is the only way to find her true love. Savannah on the other hand has two problems she has just started a new job and she has no man. Both continue their search to find their Mr. Right, but to their dismay they are not having any luck. Robin and Savannah must come to realize a man is not the answer to their happiness.
Waiting to Exhale
explores the coming of age of four women who have to overcome modern day oppression and slavery before they can free. They are oppressed by a society that tells them to they are to play the roles others have set for them. They are enslaved by men who are not willing to allow them to make their own choices and who always’ put them in the background. They are expected to serve their men by raising the children, and being a companion when it is convenient for the men. When these women escape they mold to the stereotype of black women being strong willed.
The women in
Waiting to Exhale
face similar problems black women face today. Feeling as if they have to take back seat to black men, being enslaved by men who have a destructive agenda. Just as the women in
Waiting to Exhale
black women of today are also breaking free and focusing on themselves.
Lesson for Waiting to Exhale
1. To have students rewrite one of the plots in the books
Materials: paper, pencils, copy of book
Method: Students will read story and then choose the one character the liked the best. They will summarize the character plot. The students will rewrite the plot of the character they have chosen. They will rewrite the plot to change the way the character has decided to life their life. They will have to explore other options the character could take and decide which path would be the best.