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And This Too Shall Pass

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A stellar quarterback, an ambitious sportscaster. What happens when rising stars collide?In And This Too Shall Pass, Harris takes us into the locker rooms and newsrooms of Chicago, where four lives are about to intersect in romance and scandal. At the heart of the novel is the celibate Zurich, a rookiequarterback for the Chicago Cougars whose trajectory for superstardom is interrupted by a sexual assault charge by Mia, a sportscaster with her own sights on fame. With his career in jeopardy, Zurich hires Tamela, a...

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A stellar quarterback, an ambitious sportscaster. What happens when rising stars collide?In And This Too Shall Pass, Harris takes us into the locker rooms and newsrooms of Chicago, where four lives are about to intersect in romance and scandal. At the heart of the novel is the celibate Zurich, a rookiequarterback for the Chicago Cougars whose trajectory for superstardom is interrupted by a sexual assault charge by Mia, a sportscaster with her own sights on fame. With his career in jeopardy, Zurich hires Tamela, a high-powered attorney, to defend him, while Sean, a gay sportswriter, covers the story and uncovers his heart.All of these characters face the challenge of keeping the faith—in themselves and in God—while Harris's heartfelt storytelling reveals how the love of family can help one to face the terrible legacy of long-held secrets. Throughout these characters' search for self-knowledge, Harris weaves the stories of MamaCee, Zurich's grandmother, whose lessons of faith teach one and all that "this too shall pass."Breaking new ground in contemporary fiction, And This Too Shall Pass entertains and affirms with its stirring message about the healing power of family and faith.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Harris offers a moving story filled with warmth and believable, real-life situations."
—USA Today

"So much humor is sprinkled through E. Lynn Harris's warm and timely new novel, And This Too Shall Pass, that we almost miss the pain lying underneath or the significance of its theme: Harris, who has written poignant love stories about African American life before, turns eloquently again to the question of how people—black people in this case—learn to love in a tough and toughening society."
—Pat Holt, San Francisco Chronicle

"A breakout bestseller that features a sizzling mix of fast-paced storytelling, topical subject matter and lyrical sexuality."
—Paula L. Woods, Dallas Morning News

"It is rare to read a novel with African American characters as refreshing as these...Harris keeps the dialogue lively and the action zipping along while fully developing story and characters."

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Harris's entertaining new work, the issues of sexual orientation that dominated his first two novels (Invisible Life and its sequel, Just How I Am) take a back seat to universal questions of justice, love and career. The melodrama here centers around three African Americans. Zurich Robinson, the starting quarterback for Chicago's new NFL team, shields his personal dilemmas behind an aloof manner that puzzles those who know him. Elsewhere in Chicago, Tamela Coleman, a frustrated corporate attorney considering opening her own office, has sworn off relationships with men-until she meets police officer Caliph Taylor. And in Manhattan, loneliness drives freelance journalist Sean Elliott to a series of unfulfilling sexual liaisons with other men. When Sean, a fan of Zurich's, is assigned to profile the quarterback, the two become friends. While accepting Sean's companionship, however, Zurich rejects another admirer, alcoholic TV sports anchor Mia Miller. But after Mia is raped and beaten, she points a finger at Zurich, who then hires Tamela to clear his name. Sean, meanwhile, aware of his growing attraction to Zurich, considers sharing his feelings, even as Tamela must decide about her future with Caliph. Harris's characters face problems including domestic abuse, alcoholism and sexual confusion, but the redemptive powers of family, faith and love-embodied in Zurich's grandmother MamaCee-help guide them to understanding. Despite some stilted dialogue, this novel should broaden the author's readership and reinforce his growing reputation as an accessible, younger voice in African American literature. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Zurich Robinson appears to be the perfect man. Young, handsome, serious, intelligent, and religious, this starting quarterback for the Chicago Cougers has everything going for him. However, Zurich's dreams turn to nightmares when he is accused of raping Mia, a local sportscaster. Meanwhile Sean, a young, gay sportscaster, begins to learn more about Zurich and uncovers secrets that could bring disaster. It is up to Tamela, a high-powered attorney, to defend Zurich and save his career. These ingredients suggest a foundation for a fascinating story. Unfortunately, this abridgment comes off flat, predictable, and boring. Reader Courtney B. Vance does an adequate job, although all his female characters sound alike. Since Harris (Just As I Am, Doubleday, 1994) is a popular author, this recording will be in demand. Still, librarians may want to wait for an unabridged edition or stick with the print version.Danna C. Bell-Russel, District of Columbia P.L.
Kirkus Reviews
Harris (Just As I Am, 1994, etc.) adds another to his oeuvre of dramatically aimless and static soap operas.

Zurich Robinson is a handsome, earnest, mysteriously celibate young quarterback for the Chicago Cougars, an NFL expansion team; when he resists the advances of gorgeous, wine-guzzling sportscaster Mia Miller, Zurich finds himself accused of rape. The reader knows Zurich is innocent, so this central plot line has little suspense as Harris provides his hero with a suitably cardboard entourage: handsome, earnest sportswriter Sean Elliott; beautiful, earnest attorney Tamela Coleman; striking, earnest publicist Gina DeMarco. Investigating Zurich's life, Sean discovers that Zurich had a gay twin brother who died of AIDS; Zurich, in turn, opens up to Sean about this brother, but he remains confused—or is it coy?—about his own sexuality. Naturally, Sean falls for Zurich. Meanwhile: Tamela falls for Caliph, an earnest, handsome policeman; Tamela and her friends, to fill time as the plot meanders along, get together for bouts of stilted dishing; the quality of Zurich's quarterbacking wobbles as stunning, not-so-earnest wide receiver Basil Henderson tries unsuccessfully to get into his pants; and MamaCee, Zurich's grandmother, arrives unexpectedly from Mississippi to dispense grits and down-home wisdom to everyone in Chicago. At last, with the support of handsome Derrick, an ex who's come back to save her from her indistinct demons, Mia withdraws her rape charge. By the long-delayed end itself, Sean has found God, Zurich has found Sean, and several implausible characters are beaming about how wonderful love is (even the peripheral figure of Sean's sister learns to stop worrying and start dating women).

In another's hands, this all-black roadshow saga might make for trashy fun, but Harris's characterizations and dialogue are too flimsily crafted to keep the reader from eying the title wistfully long before the novel chugs to an end in its welter of platitudes.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385480314
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 806,158
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 7.89 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

E. Lynn Harris
E. Lynn Harris
How to categorize E. Lynn Harris? An African-American novelist? A gay novelist? A literary romance writer? Nothing quite fits, but to Harris’s fans, his bestselling novels belong in a genre of their own: one in which the characters are as difficult and complex as their problems, and the solutions as bittersweet and resonant as they often are in life.


Jackie Collins has kept the literary romance world well stocked with claws-out, upper-crust melodramas. But until E. Lynn Harris came along, the genre lacked a little ... diversity. Harris brought diversity and then some, with his now-trademark "buppie" characters, questions about sexuality, and hopelessly (but deliciously) complicated relationships.

Written from both male and female points of view and featuring recurring characters, Harris's books can be read as a veritable soap opera. The cycle begins with Invisible Life, the story of Raymond Winston Tyler Jr. -- a character Harris has acknowledged bears many similarities to himself. Raymond grapples with his sexuality, developing a relationship with a man he meets in law school and jeopardizing one with his girlfriend. His coming-of-age continues over the next two novels in the trilogy, Just As I Am and Abide with Me, as he struggles with losses of friends to AIDS, the ending of a relationship with an actress, and the beginning of a new one with a man.

Another recurring Harris character, Basil Henderson, is the man readers love to hate. An arrogant, badass football player-turned-sports agent, Basil beds both women and men until he meets up with his female (and later, male) counterparts. His story is mainly told in Not a Day Goes By and Any Way the Wind Blows.

It's true that in the Basil Henderson books, Harris is taking a saucy cue or two from his female romance novel predecessors; but the author claims to be more heavily influenced by writers such as Maya Angelou and Terry McMillan, and it would be misleading to pigeonhole his books as purely guilty pleasures. Particularly in his earlier books, Harris brought to a mainstream readership the issues that many gay and bisexual men face, and added a new voice to the portrayal of black, upwardly mobile characters. And in books such as If This World Were Mine and the young adult novel Diaries of a Light-Skinned Colored Boy, he has addressed issues of race and self-realization.

Given his themes, it may seem surprising that the majority of Harris's readers are straight women; but it's also a testament to his ability to write about love and self-discovery with humor, not to mention a little steaminess.

Good To Know

Harris worked as a salesman for IBM, and earned a following by self-publishing Invisible Life before getting a book deal.

He was tapped to write the screenplay for an update of the 1976 movie Sparkle, to be produced by Whitney Houston's production company. But with the death of Aaliyah, who was attached to star, the project's future is uncertain.

He lived most of his adult life in Chicago, Illinois.

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 20, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Flint, Michigan
    1. Date of Death:
      July 23, 2009
    2. Place of Death:
      Los Angeles, California

Read an Excerpt

Zurich ended the day of his NFL debut alone and in the dark where he felt safe and protected.  The only light in Zurich's apartment came from the other buildings and the thin illumination of the moon hovering over the city.  He sat on the blond floorboards, which slanted in different directions.  The apartment's high ceilings made the room feel airy, but intimate.  The air in his living room was warm and still.

After the game and the countless interviews, he turned down invitations to go out and party with his teammates and a dinner invitation from Mia Miller. Instead he came home and called his father and MamaCee.  His father had watched the game on television and was quite proud.  He talked about their upcoming game with Atlanta and how he had already made hotel reservations and how he was going to bring Rhona and her son.  MamaCee was overjoyed to hear from Zurich. It was Sunday and she had missed one of her three church services to watch him on television.

"Your team won," MamaCee asked.

"Yeah, MamaCee, we surprised a lot of people," Zurich said.

"MamaCee wasn't surprised.  I told Mr. Thomsen, you know the white man I used to do day work for, that y'all were going to win.  Yes, sir, I said, ain't no way my grandbaby goin' to be on a losing team.  You member Mr.  Thomsen, don't you, baby?"

"Yeah, MamaCee, I remember him," Zurich said.  He knew if he said no, he would get Mr. Thomsen's entire history.

"You know last Christmas, he bought me a little twelve-inch color television with a remote control thing.  I put it on top of my old black and white one, which is bigger than the color one, and I watched my baby run and throw that ball.  I was so happy for once that Mr. Thomsen gave me that TV," MamaCee said as she paused for a second and took a deep breath.

Realizing this might be his only opening for a while, Zurich piped in, "I'm happy, too, MamaCee.  I didn't know you still had that old black-and-white one."

"What am I going to do with it? Ain't nobody want to buy a black-and-white television.  I started to give it to this old man down the road that's always collectin' junk and selling it to somebody.  I don't know who," MamaCee said.

"I'm getting my television and furniture tomorrow.  Gina, the lady who's been helping me, went and picked out all my stuff," Zurich said.

"Oh, that's good, baby.  Who is this Gina lady?  Is she pretty?"

"Gina's my publicist, and she's been helping me get organized.  And yes, MamaCee, she's very attractive and very married," Zurich said.

"What 'bout them girls with the short-shorts?  Pants so tight they look like they ought to hurt 'em," MamaCee said.

"Those are cheerleaders," Zurich laughed.

"What size kitchen do you have?" MamaCee asked.

"It's medium size," Zurich replied.  He wondered where she was going with these questions but knew better than to ask.

"You got any big pots?"


"What 'bout a big black cast-iron skillet?  You know the kind I fry my chicken, chops, and gizzards in," MamaCee said.

"No, I haven't had the chance to go shopping," Zurich informed her.

"That's too bad," she said.

"I'll be fine.  With practice and all, I'll be eating out a lot," Zurich said.

"Well, you don't need to be eating all that junk food.  Tell that Gina lady that your grandmama said to get you some pots and git somebody to come in and cook you some real food.  Them folks don't think you got so big eating that junk food, do they?"

"Don't worry I'll be fine."  Please no chitterlings in the mail, he thought.

"What if I cook you up some chitlins and collard greens and send them through that express mail thing?" MamaCee asked.

Zurich laughed at the thought of chitlins and collard greens going through the mail.  "Naw, thanks a lot, MamaCee.  Just save them for when I come for a visit."

"Okay, baby.  I need to git off this phone.  I got some mo scriptures I need to read with me missin' one of my services," MamaCee said.  "And talkin to you done gave me a taste for some chitlins, you know what I mean," MamaCee laughed.

"Yeah, MamaCee, I know.  Take care."

"You too, baby.  You talk to your brothers?  Call them and keep praying, baby," MamaCee said.

"I will.  Love you, MamaCee," Zurich said as he hung up his phone and smiled. Moments later, his phone rang.  It was Trey, his younger brother, calling to congratulate his big brother.

He had watched the game with his suite mates at Morehouse College.  Trey told him he was really looking forward to the game against the Falcons and asked his brother for a couple of extra tickets and a check, since his Pell grant money was late.  When Zurich asked why it was late, Trey admitted that he was a little late getting the form in.  He said he was going to ask their father, but MamaCee had told him not to be worrying their father about money.  Zurich said he would think about it, knowing full well that he would be putting a check in the mail the next day.

After talking with Trey, Zurich got up and walked to his bathroom, where he removed his jeans, underwear, and T-shirt and turned on the shower, turning the dial all the way to hot.  He glance in the vanity mirror and decided his head and face would need a shave in the morning.  While waiting for the water to get hot, he went to his bedroom and found some pajama bottoms and a jock.  Then he stepped into the Plexiglas shower, which was just steaming up, and let the hot, pounding water spray his tense body.  He enjoyed it so much that he stayed in the shower for over fifteen minutes before applying soap.  After drying himself and putting vitamin E oil all over his body he looked at the pajama bottoms he had pulled out before his shower, but decided not to put them on.  On some nights he didn't sleep in pajamas, but relished the coolness of the sheets against his naked skin.  Zurich walked into his bedroom and got his compact CD player with Natalie Cole's Take a Look disc already inside, and returned to the darkened living room.  He felt the coolness of the floor on his butt as he sat quietly against the wall for back support.

As he listened to the sweet ballads, Zurich closed his eyes and replayed the game in his mind.  It had been everything he'd imagined.  He fantasized about future games, with his family in the stands cheering him on.  He thought how blessed he was to be living his dream.  His heart raced again with excitement as he remembered throwing his first successful pass early in the game.

But after he replayed every down of the game, a bout of melancholy descended upon him.  Part of him felt lonely.  Despite his success on the gridiron, he was missing something.  Someone.  His life was in a very strange place, unexplored yet familiar, and while the music piped into his ears, a warm wave of the blues washed over him.  He thought of all the fears he carried alone, the words unspoken and the stories untold.

Mia Miller sat on a kelly green chaise longue in her bedroom and finished her third and final glass of white wine.  She was feeling a little light-headed, not drunk, but not entirely sober, either.

Already in her nightgown she crawled into bed, first arranging the pillows very carefully and then sliding between her satin sheets.  She picked up her portable phone and dialed Los Angeles.  LaDonna picked up after the first ring.

"Talk to me," LaDonna said in her casual California tone.

"Hey, girl," Mia said.

"Mia.  Whatsup?"

"Oh, just sitting here in my bedroom all alone," Mia said.

"What time is it?"

"Almost midnight," Mia said softly.

"Are you all right, Mia? You sound depressed," LaDonna said

"No, I'm fine.  But I do have a problem," Mia said.

"What type of problem?  I thought they were treating you right at the station."

"Oh, everything is great at work," Mia assured her.

"Then what?"

"Man trouble," Mia sighed.

"Man trouble.  That fool Derrick isn't messing with you, is he?"

"No, I haven't talked with him.  He did leave a message, but I didn't call him back.  Besides I'm not worried about Derrick.  This is about someone else," Mia said.

"Okay, I'm glad to hear that.  So tell me about this new man and what's the problem?" LaDonna asked.

"The problem is this guy I'm interested in doesn't seem to be taking my hints," Mia lamented.  She could not think of admitting that Zurich had not fallen under her spell.

"Who is he?  Does he have a name, and what's the matter with him?"

"I met him through work.  He's the quarterback for the Chicago Cougars," Mia said.

"Oh yes...yes.  I saw him on television earlier today.  Homeboy might be blue-black, but he is fine.  And I almost fainted when I saw those teeth," LaDonna said.

"LaDonna, that ain't the half of it.  I actually saw him naked," Mia said.

"Where?  How?  When?" LaDonna quizzed.

"Well, as a member of the sports press, I get to go in the locker room the same time as the men," Mia said.

"What's wrong?  Is he married?  More important, honey, how was the beef?" LaDonna asked.

"No.  I just think he's kinda shy.  And the beef, well, he's got that and some more," Mia said.  LaDonna let out a squeal of delight.

"Calm down, LaDonna.  I know you've seen some big beef in your day," Mia laughed.

"And you know it.  So what are you gonna do?  I think you need to go on and tap it, you know, see if he can use his equipment the way he throws that football."

"You are a fool, but you have a good point," Mia said.

Mia confessed that she was going to suggest to the station manager that Zurich would be a perfect candidate for guest commentator on their Sunday sports show, which she was going to co-host every other week.  The other anchor was using one of the Chicago Bears and Mia thought it would be fair if she used one of the Cougars.  That way, she said, she and Zurich would have to spend time together and somehow he would get the message.

"He has a degree in Communications or something and he wants to be a sports play-by-play man when he's through playing, so this would be perfect for us both," Mia said.

"Well, I wish you luck, girl.  But you might ought to do what I do," LaDonna said.

"What's that?" Mia asked.

"Invite homeboy to dinner at your place and then make him an offer he can't refuse," she suggested.

"I couldn't do that," Mia said.

"Why not?"

"What if he says no? I would be embarrassed beyond belief.  Besides, I invited him out to dinner tonight after I interviewed him, but he said he had to go home and call his folks," Mia said.  "I've got to come up with another plan."

"Oh, that's great.  He's close to his family.  That's a good sign, that is, if he's not too close with his mother.  You know how mothers can be.  But somebody should warn homeboy you're working on a plan," LaDonna chuckled.

"You think so?" Mia laughed.

"Hello...hello, Miss Thing, this is LaDonna and I know you.  If I were you, I would get off this phone and call him right now.  Invite him to dinner, and if you still can't cook, get a caterer or take him to some fancy restaurant. Believe me, men like it when women take control.  Then you will see how shy he is," LaDonna said.

"For one thing, I don't have to worry about his mother," Mia said.

"Why not? I thought you said he was close to his family."

"He is.  But his mother is dead and his grandmother raised him," Mia said.

"That's too bad.  But at least grandmothers aren't as bad as mothers can be," LaDonna said.

"I hope you're right.  Well, I'm going downstairs and make me some coffee or tea.  Maybe I'll put a taste of brandy in it," Mia said.

"You know that sounds great.  I'm going to do the same thing.  Night, Mia."

"Good night, LaDonna."

Mia hung up the phone and threw off the covers on her bed.  She sat up, then stopped suddenly.  A vision of Zurich standing in front of his locker nude flashed across her mind.  The thought caused a warm and welcome rush of pleasure between her legs.  She thought how she had been surrounded by all those men in the locker room, yet amid those male bodies and voices she had noticed only Zurich Robinson.

She could be falling in love with him, if love meant thinking of someone all the time.  Zurich could love and protect her.  She spent 99 percent of her time daydreaming of him taking her away, traveling around the world, maybe skiing or making love on sand-swept beaches.

She decided against the drink, and lay back down, after turning off the tiny lamp next to her bed.  She chose to follow LaDonna's advice and ask Zurich to dinner late in the day, after practice.  Mia fell asleep and began to dream. And in her dream he said "yes."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 28, 2012



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The best of the best from the best!

    This is my favorite novel by E. Lynn Harris. Its so touching and endearing and who wouldn't want someone as special as Zurich in their lives? I have to admit I miss Raymond, but this book gives its readers a since of hope of finding that peace after the storm and their other half even. It greatly appeals to the romantic and it doesn't let down on the drama either! Yet another great novel by the infamous E. Lynn Harris, R.I.H.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2001


    It was hard to keep away from this book it got better and better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2000


    This book was so wonderful. I couldn't put it down. It took me three days to read the entire book. I was sitting in class trying to read this book, that's how wonderful this book is. Mr. Harris has truly capture the essences of each character in the book. Zuri finally find passion, Mia finally came to her senses,Tamela let go of secrets and Sean learn how to love again, and of course Mama Cee, she knows all. Please read this book it is wonderful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2003

    I could not put it down!!!!!!!!! E. Lynn Harris's books are GREAT!

    This is the second book that I have read from E.Lynn Harris. The first one I read was 'If This World Were Mine'. Once you start reading his books it is hard to put them down. This book-Blewww me away. Harris captures a very realistic and true diolauge with the charecters that allow you to relate them to your life. Discrimination;lies,warmth,religion...these words can describe this book...but I feel that anyone who has not read an E.Lynn Harris book needs to pick one up today!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    Not less than...

    This is an enlightening of 'regardless of what life-style one lives it doesn't effect how well they perform...they are still who they are!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2002



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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2001

    The book spoke to me

    This book by E. Lynn Harris is the best of all of his titles! It evoked ALL of my emotions: love, hate, anger, sexuality, fear, hope, courage, faith, and so many, many more! Keep up the good work E. Lynn! Your readers are depending on you! Dallas, TX

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2000



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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2000


    E. Lynn Harris is an amazing author and this is probably his best novel. It is captivating, and teaches you a lot about love, relationships, and finding yourself. Thank you Mr. Harris for sharing your talent with the world!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2000

    True to Life Characters!

    Exhilarating performance by all the characters. The passion, innocence and strenght of Zurich helps one to see the character's inner spirit. Mia's ability to admit to her wrongdoings and selfish act proves that people can undo a wrong to a right. Tamela's own secrets was a catalyst in building her future base upon true love as well as the ability to see that opposites can attract. And who could forget Mamacee; a matriach who should be in the corner of every living persons life. I found myself engulfed in every chapter and character in this book. It inspired me to believe that whatever a person is going through, that this too shall pass............

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2000



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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2000

    A Terrific Book

    This book tells it like it is and how we have overcome so much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2000

    A real good book

    Mr. Harris I love this book. When you start it's so hard to put it down. But I think I got lost with all your books comming out. In what order do they start and end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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