A Day Late and a Dollar Short tells the story of a modern-day family and the way adult children relate to each other and to their parents. Listeners will recognize members of their own families in many of the quirky characters that make up the Price clan.
The Main Body:
Terry McMillan is a well-known author of African-American fiction(Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back), and she uses this book to explore themes common to families of all races and cultures. Viola Price, mother of four grown children and grandmother of six, narrates the opening chapter which introduces the listener to her brood, and her on-again-off-again husband Cecil.
Viola’s family members are dealing with a variety of thorny issues including drug abuse, rebellious teens, infidelity, and illness, but these weighty topics are treated with love, tolerance and good humor. The narrator changes in each chapter of the book, switching from Viola, to Cecil, to their offspring Paris, Charlotte, Janelle, or Lewis, and back again.
The listener is treated to a skillful interpretation of the differences in the way people see themselves as compared to the way others see them. All of the characters are well-developed and have a good balance of redeeming qualities to offset their faults, making them lifelike and believable. McMillan is a master at creating dialogue that is realistic and sounds like something you might hear around your own family’s holiday table.
Many parts of the book will make you laugh out loud, while others might move you to tears. Listeners who are offended by some rather coarse language at times might want to avoid this title, and some folks might wish that the audio version of A Day Late and a Dollar Short gave them access to the same family tree that is available in the front of the printed book. It can be difficult to keep track of who is narrating the story at first.
Those willing to learn about the people who make up the Price family will most likely be drawn into their saga , however,and find themselves missing the characters when the book is over as they would miss friends who move to another city.
Terry McMillan narrates the book herself, and knows exactly how to phrase her dialogue as if it were truly being spoken. She does a good job of making the listener acquainted with the different personalities in her book, and the female characters are especially well done. The men, Cecil (father) and Lewis (brother), are a little more difficult to visualize, but overall A Day Late and a Dollar Short is a long, engrossing tale that will leave you wishing for more.