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“E. Lynn Harris…tucks in enough plot twists to keep his readers turning pages late at night.”–The Washington Post Book World
“Harris scores again…. His patented knack for a wry, uproarious resolution is in full flower in this sexual War of the Roses.”–Publishers Weekly
“A love story full of suspense and anticipation.”–Detroit Free Press
“Enough punch to score a KO.”–People
“E. Lynn Harris–the chart-topping author of romance novels about black men–has got it going on…. The secret? Harris’ addictive, Soul Food meets Melrose Place plots, revolving around affluent buppies wrestling with sexual identity, monogamy, and top-flight careers.”–Entertainment Weekly
1. Why does Harris reveal the climax of the romance between Basil and Yancey in the very first chapter? How do his descriptions of Basil's and Yancey's behavior set the stage for the story that follows?
2. Is Basil's explanation of why he loves Yancey [p. 8] a convincing expression of what constitutes real love? Does his need to conceal parts of his past undermine the sincerity of his feelings for Yancey? How do his secrets compare to the secrets many lovers choose to keep from one another?
3. "Yancey loved Basil in her own way" [p. 16], Harris writes. How does Yancey's approach to love differ from Basil's? Is the compromise she makes ("It's okay to love, but never too hard, or too much" [pg. 16]) an inevitable outcome of her own upbringing? In what ways are the other things Yancey does "in her own way"--for example, sending autographed pictures rather than attending her high school reunion and refusing to work ordinary jobs to earn money [p. 13]--also a legacy of her childhood?
4. Why does Harris include "Basil's Rules to Keep the Knuckleheads Away from the Family Jewels" [pp. 21-22]? Does Basil take these rules seriously, or is he indulging in a bit of self-parody?
5. Windsor's personality and the life she leads contrast sharply with Yancey's. Are Yancey's reasons for giving Windsor a room only financial, or does Windsor offer other things Yancey wants, either consciously or subconsciously? What incidents show that Yancey needs Windsor more than she admits?
6. Basil describes the evenings he spends with his sister, Campbell, and her family as "a time when I could let my guarddown" [p. 62]. Why is he more comfortable in his role as loving brother and uncle than he is as Yancey's lover or as a partner in the agency? Does his behavior with Campbell and Cade represent the man he really is?
7. What are the implications of Yancey's demand for a part on Sex and the City [p. 67]? Is the media guilty of perpetuating outdated ideas about race? Yancey believes that lighter-skinned African American women have an advantage in society in general and in the theater in particular. Does the way she looks and defines herself [p. 12] play into a prejudice she herself finds offensive?
8. The debate within XJI about hiring an openly gay partner also focuses on a current controversy. Is the upcoming magazine article the only reason Zurich finds it necessary to reveal his sexual orientation? What does Basil hope to accomplish by seeing Zurich alone after the meeting at XJI?
9. Confused about their sexuality, both Milo and Zurich sought help from their ministers, and in both cases, they were advised to get married [pp. 129-30]. Given the teachings of most churches about homosexuality, could their ministers have behaved differently?
10. Beyond the initial shock, how would you characterize Yancey's reaction to Derrick's revelation about their child? After his refusal to marry her, does Derrick's decision about their child represent a further betrayal of Yancey, or was he simply "doing the right thing"? What were his motives in keeping Madison's existence a secret from Yancey for so many years? What are his motives in asking her to become involved now if he doesn't love her?
11. At the beginning of the book, Basil says, "For me, Raymond stood on that thin line between love and hate" [p. 7], yet he asks Raymond to participate in his wedding. What light does his conversation with Raymond [p. 176] shed on Basil's state of mind on the eve of his marriage?
12. Ava's negative influence on Yancey is one of the major threads in the book. Does Ava have any real maternal affection for her daughter? Has she helped Yancey develop any admirable characteristics?
13. Basil and Yancey eventually discover each other's secrets through methods most people would consider highly unethical. Is the end result justified by the method of discovery? Both of them express anger, a sense of hurt and betrayal, and a desire for revenge in response to the information they uncover. Whose reaction do you find more sympathetic and why?
14. Basil's side of the story is told in his own voice, while Yancey's is presented through a third person narrative. How does this affect your impressions of each of them? Does it, perhaps unfairly, make you more sympathetic to Basil? Do you think Yancey's point of view is adequately captured? How might her own narrative differ from the third person account? From Basil's account?
15. If you have read Abide with Me, discuss the ways in which Basil differs from the person he was in that book. Both Basil and Yancey are complicated figures, sometimes arousing the reader's anger and outrage, sometimes eliciting strong feelings of sympathy. To what extent do they create trouble for themselves, and to what extent are they victims of other people, their backgrounds, or society in general? At the end of the book, have your feelings about Basil and Yancey changed from your first impressions? What purpose does the epilogue serve?
16. Harris uses a familiar phrase as his title. What words would complete the phrase to sum up Basil's and Yancey's individual views of the world?
Posted March 2, 2015
Posted January 6, 2013
Posted September 9, 2011
It has been years since I first read 'a love of my own' so I was excited to see what trouble Yancey gets herself into. This installation gave good insight into the characters without giving way too much. It seemed more of a teaser novel than a juicy loosie. I ended the book wanting more...that's a good and bad thing. Since I'm not sure of the sequence of the novels I can say that out of the two the first was better. E. Lynn was a great author who inspired me to seek better for myself. I was truly saddened when I found out of his passing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 29, 2010
Posted September 4, 2010
Oh no he didn't is what I was saying at the end of the book about Basil one of the main charecters. This is an interesting read and a page turner. I would suggest this for a book group of E. Lynn Harris fans because there is continuation and I can't wait to see what's next. This will be some good dialoge guaranteed! Basil don't know what he wants a man or woman and I like that there were some characters there to challange him on it. And Yancey is understandable in her diva ways when the book introduces her mother. I would recommend this book and it's staying on my shelf for sure. Only thing I didn't like at the end is how Basil blamed Yancey for what happened. I can't tell you the story, it's so good you'll have to read it for yourselfWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2005
This book is a must have. I bought the book and along the way lost it. I loved this book so much I couldn't wait to get my hands on others he has written. He is one of my favorites. The passion his characters have and show are real emotions like a real life story. Read it! Read it! Read it! you will love it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 15, 2004
I thought that this boo was better then all the other books that I have read this year. I just could not put the book down. I was done reading the book in a day and half. It kept me wanting more. It was really great.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 12, 2004
I love this book I could not put it down. It is the best book that I have read in years. I love Harris's words and the way that the book is put together. It's so good that my best friend and I are going to start a book club this summer of E.Lynn Harris's books. I'm currently reading Any Way the Wind blows and can't wait to pick up another one of Harris's booksWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 9, 2004
E. Lynn Harris has done it again. The story is never-ending and the characters in this particular book were well thought out and interesting. Basil has hit an all time high as the main character and Yancy has a strong, coniving character as well. Definitely will be amonst my list of recommendations.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2004
This book was by far one of the best books I have read. The author captured my attention by keeping it real. I finished the book in less than 3 hours because I just could not put it down.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 1, 2004
01/01/04,I became a loyal fan after reading 'A Love of my Own',I had to backtrack to get to know Raymond(my favorite character)and Basil.'Not A Day Goes By' was the last....I enjoyed the way Basil's confidence and Raymond's inability to overcome his attraction for him cleverly clash into one another is sooo sexy!Kyle is also one of my favorites....proving that good friends are so hard to find.Please give your adoring fans one more for the road.We hear that my hometown,Memphis,Tn will host a play at The Orpheum,based on the book,'Not A Day Goes By' We Love and support your work here in Memphis,and we look forward to the play...it will definitely be a success!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2003
Posted October 4, 2003
My boy has done it again. I was absolutely floored by some of the antics of the characters in the book. If you have never read a E. Lynn book, you have been missing out on something great. Read his past novels, so that you may be introduced to Basil and his devilish ways. Ladies, believe it or not there are some Basil's out there, so beware. Seriously, this book is great pick it up today!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 17, 2003
The characters in the book showed so much power and confidence that was very profound. What i like most about this book is how harris uses his characters to teach lifes lessons. The main thing i was able to pull from this book was, it is important to be honest with the one you love.Without honesty you can not produce a stable relationship. This was a major page turner.
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 31, 2003
I Loved this book!! I finished it in less than 2 days. I love Basil and I hope he is around forever. And Miss Yancy. She is just a female version of Basil. It was great. I think it was his best since Invisable Life. But I could be partial because I love Basil so much...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 24, 2002
E. Lynn Harris, is the best writer, in the 21st century. His books are related to the time period; and they capivate some of the worlds everyday life. This book was one of his best works of all time. He is an amazing writer. The book revealed images that made me feel like I was watching a broadway play. I could actually see Basil and the description of him made me want to him.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2002
Posted December 5, 2002
I couldn't put this book down, I have read some great fiction, but this was the best. My hat goes off to Mr. Harris for giving the gay community it's first African-American literary hero since James Baldwin.. Thank you!!! Keep the novels coming!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 7, 2002
This book has definetly open my eyes.Even though this novel is not a true story, there are people out there like Basil that really exist and Nancy Braxton. I think that what you don't know will not hurt you and what you do know about the dark will definetly come to light. This book has taught me that there are some scandelous females out there and if you have money, you can pretty much have any thing that you want.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 31, 2002