In style, structure, and content, How Stella Got Her Groove Back is very different from any of Terry McMillan’s other novels. This work is purely and simply a love story, and, as such, it is limited in scope. In fact, its primary focus is not on both lovers but on just one of them, the title character. Stella Payne is the first-person narrator, telling her story in a breathless, stream-of-consciousness narrative that does not have either the complex structure or the more calculated style of McMillan’s other books.
Stella is a forty-two-year-old woman who divorced her husband not because of any moral deficiencies on his part but because, over the years, their relationship had turned flat. In short, though she had once loved him, she now finds him boring. Without him, she still has a full life. She has a lucrative position as a security analyst, a luxurious home in Northern California, a BMW, a fat investment portfolio, a personal trainer, and the figure of a much younger woman. She also has a sensible, eleven-year-old son, Quincy, who is both her greatest joy and her best friend.
With Quincy gone to visit his father, Stella decides to spend her vacation in Jamaica. Her sister Angela cannot believe that Stella would go anywhere alone, but Angela needs a man to tell her what to do; fortunately, she has a lawyer husband who is only too happy to perform that function. Stella’s other sister, Vanessa, is all for the idea. She urges...
(The entire section is 595 words.)