Waiting to Exhale

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Waiting to Exhale
544 pages; Penguin Publishing Group

Because it was groundbreaking—totally addictive!—entertainment.

The construct of four women pals in search of Mr. Right far predated Sex and the City. In 1992, when Terry McMillan published her witty novel about a quartet of ladies looking for love (often in all the wrong places), it was groundbreaking because Savannah, Bernadine, Robin and Gloria were career-minded thirty-something black women. Their experiences had been too rarely reflected in the pages of popular novels; McMillan made them easy for everyone to relate to. As with other "four friends" stories, even when romance succeeds, the bonds between the women are at the forefront. And although no one was using the term "chick lit" back in '92, this delicious, swap-with-your-girlfriends novel exemplifies the genre at its best.
— Dawn Raffel