February 10, 2010

E. Lynn Harris Dearest

Also in honor of Black History month, I'd like to pay respect to a very dear author who has paved the way for many others: E. Lynn Harris. I had the pleasure of meeting him on a few occasions during his book signings in Michigan. I wasn't always a fan and it took me a while to finally read his books. They have more substance that I foolishly assumed didn't exist. He opened my eyes, as well as other young women, to the down-low brotha culture. His writings have now become classics that someday I hope to be listed on required reading lists at Universities or local book clubs. I am grateful that he blessed us with literary works and memorable characters. Those characters are back in his last novel, Mama Dearest.

Mama Dearest is bittersweet. Yancey Harrington Braxton tries to revive her singing and acting career. Being a has-been and doing Broadway isn't enough to pay the bills in her New York townhome. Then she gets an unexpected roommate: Ava Middlebrooks, the mother she helped send to jail. Ava is released early and sets out a plan of revenge on her own daughter. Ava teams up with a mystery man to bring Yancey down and give her a dose of undeserving medicine. With the plan in motion, a whirlwind of events happens and the past becomes the future. Basil and Raymond return as the heroes we love them to be!

The editing and proofreading is not up to par. Chapters are out of sequence. Typos are freckled throughout the pages. However, it doesn't diminish from the story. ELH fans should read and purchase this novel to complete your collection, but keep in mind that he may not have completed this book himself.

The beginning and middle of the story is written in true ELH style. The characters are well developed; the plot is suspenseful, and it's a page-turner. Towards the end, the book changes as if a different writer took over. I am skeptical whether E. Lynn Harris actually wrote the ending. It seems unfinished, and not in a suspenseful way. Was S. Marcus found and charged? Did Ava rat him out? Did the Pinksney family realize the real home wrecker was Ava? And the most pressing unanswered question: who is the father of Yancey's twin boys? These are questions that readers will have to answer on our own...unless ghostwriters continue writing in ELH name. May he rest in peace.

NOTE: Please do not let the 2 heart rating discourage you from reading his other novels.

Rating: ♥♥

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