It’s Not All Downhill From Here by Terry McMillan [in Booklist]
Multi-talented Terry McMillan has been narrating her titles for 15 years already! She’s aurally involved in various incarnations – abridgements, as part of a cast, and here as a solo narrator. She shares the same age, 68, with protagonist Loretha, whose beloved husband Carl, suddenly dies on the eve of her birthday.
Perhaps because Lo’s always been so strong and independent, her extended family relies on her too much – especially for money – including her alcoholic daughter, her angry twin sister, her granddaughter (pregnant with twins), and a sweet stranger who’s apparently Carl’s only son. Lo’s four BFFs, bonded since high school, gather regularly to support one another, but they’ve got their own challenges. Without Carl, Lo will need to work harder to turn the downhill upward.
McMillan’s deep voice doesn’t exactly perform, but she commands instant attention as she reads with resonating empathy. One minor gripe: how odd to choose a moniker she mispronounces – Lo’s Japanese daughter-in-law’s name is Ai-ko, not Ah-ee-ko. At recording’s end, audiobook aficionados might be pleasantly surprised to recognize veteran narrator Adenrele Ojo’s name included – as McMillan’s director!
Review: “Media,” Booklist, June 1, 2020