How Stella Got Her Groove Back, a stream-of-consciousness first-person narrative of divorcée Stella Payne, examines Stella’s transformation from an uptight, materialistic business cog to a relaxed, self-confident, creative artist who trusts her instincts. Born in a Chicago ghetto, Stella grew up poor, but, pushed by first husband Walter Payne to exploit her University of Chicago M.B.A. degree, she has become a security analyst earning over $250,000 a year. She drives a BMW and a sporty truck, and she designs furniture for her home, a suburban mansion in a very wealthy neighborhood. Materialistic cravings drive Stella to go on endless shopping sprees: She defines herself by the products she uses and the styles and accessories she chooses. Her first impulse is to throw money and goods at those she loves. Stella, long divorced, has lost her “groove,” the fundamental sense of self that gives life rhythm and pleasure. She does not understand her own motives and needs, despite her economic success.
While her son Quincy takes a mountain trip with Walter, Stella, on a whim encouraged by her sister, vacations at a Jamaican adult resort, seeking sexual adventure as a change from monotonous routine. At the resort, she suffers midlife insecurities amid younger vacationers, whose activities include participating in risqué pajama parties, visiting nude beaches, and playing sexual games. When Winston Shakespeare, an engaging twenty-year-old Jamaican,...
(The entire section is 531 words.)